Easy recipe for lentil soup that’s yummy and creamy with a lot of goodness from vegetables and turmeric. This gluten-free, vegan lentil soup recipe is a delicious dinner you can easily cook for your family on a busy day.
Learn how to make lentil soup that is creamy and healthy with nutritious vegetables and antioxidant turmeric! This is a delicious dream-come-true, especially for a weekday dinner. Vegan, gluten-free, low fat and low carb, this is the best lentil soup recipe. Truly a delicious COMFORT FOOD that is ALSO HEALTHY.
A side dish is not absolutely necessary, but you can have some garlic toast for dunking if you’re not worried about gluten or dairy.
Lentils are so GOOD FOR YOU with a lot of NUTRIENTS. They are an excellent plant-based source of protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans. This vegan lentil soup recipe is a wholesome dish in itself. You can add in any of your favorite vegetables which surprisingly adapt to the flavor of the soup and the lentils. You can also make lentil soup with greens– spinach, mustard greens, beet greens or Swiss chard. That’s the beauty of lentils, they don’t overpower the dish but yet have a flavor that influences other ingredients in the dish quite in a delicate way.
Why lentil soup is good for you
Lentils are quite versatile and are a healthy alternative to refined flour when used in soups, curries and stews to add volume and nutrients or in chutneys and dips as taste enhancers. Lentils can also be used in salads and pasta to add some nutty crunch.
With about 85 calories and lot of fibre and nutrients, this lentil soup is one of the best plant-based recipes for weight loss.
There are so many varieties of lentils that it might be confusing for a person new to lentils. Yellow, red, green, brown and black lentils are some of the generic ones. The yellow lentil is of 3 types: split chickpea or chana dal that I have used here, split pigeon pea, or the split mung bean. You can use different lentils for this lentil soup recipe, you just have to tweak the cooking time.
Red lentil soup recipe
Red lentils are most suited for soups and stews. You can cook red lentils in about 10 minutes and so the red lentil soup is the easiest and quickest soup with lentils. Follow this same recipe but reduce the simmering time to 10 minutes.
What other kinds of lentils are good for soup?
The yellow mung lentil takes about the same time to cook as the red lentils, chickpea lentil takes about 30 minutes of simmering while the pigeon pea lentil (toor dal) takes 40 minutes. There is a slight difference in flavor, too. The chickpea lentil has a nuttier flavor, the mung lentil is creamier while the pigeon pea lentil is somewhere in between. Use any of these lentils for soup depending on the texture and flavor you need.
Do lentils need to be soaked?
The advantage of dried lentils over dried beans is that they don’t need to be soaked and cook faster. Although soaking them for 20 minutes and rinsing as mentioned in the recipe enhances the taste as well as helps in digesting the lentils better if you are not used to lentils. If you have a pressure cooker or instant pot, try the chickpea soup.
This lentil soup can be cooked in a pressure cooker in less than half the time required for cooking in a soup pot, but slow cooking really brings out the flavors of not only the lentils but also each of the other ingredients. That being said, if you are in a hurry, it doesn’t hurt to cook this lentil soup in a pressure cooker or instant pot.
Spices for lentil soup recipe
- coriander powder and cumin powder– the 2 flavors that go well with lentils.
- turmeric powder– for its antioxidant properties and bright yellow color.
- pepper– for a bit of heat and to enhance the health benefits of turmeric.
How to make lentil soup from scratch
Rinse and soak the lentils in cold water for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables. The soaking step can be skipped, in which case the cooking time should be increased by 10 minutes and the quantity of water increased by half a cup.
Saute the onions and garlic in the oil in a soup pot for 5 minutes on medium heat. Do not let them brown. Drain the lentils and add them along with the vegetables and the tomato puree, except spinach. Add the spices, salt and 3 cups of water. Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Add spinach and simmer for another 15 minutes or until the lentils become soft. If you want the lentils very soft and mushy, cook for another 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.
How to make lentil soup in the pressure cooker or instant pot (quick recipe)
A pressure cooker or instant pot can also be used for cooking the lentil soup in which case it takes only 20 minutes in total to cook the soup, though you might compromise a little bit on the taste. Use 2 cups of water instead of 3. Saute onion and garlic, add lentils, tomato puree and all vegetables in the cooker. Add the spices, close and cook on high heat. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Wait for the pressure to release naturally, transfer into bowls and garnish with cilantro before serving.
What happens if you don’t rinse/ soak lentils?
Lentils are high in fibre which is good for you, but difficult to digest. So if you are introducing lentils in your diet for the first time, it is better to start with lentil soup. Rinse the lentils and soak in a lot of water, preferably overnight. Rinse the soaked lentils at least thrice before using. Cook until the lentils are well mashed and creamy. Use a masher or a spoon to mash the lentils until smooth.
Following the above steps will avoid bloating and indigestion from eating lentils.
How to cook lentils the right way?
When you cook lentil soup, you can cook the lentils until they are well cooked and mashed. (follow the instructions above). Once you get used to eating lentils, then move on to other recipes like stews and curry (lentil spinach curry) and finally the lentil salad which requires the lentils to be whole and not mashed.
Should I cook lentils before adding to soup?
DO NOT cook the lentils before adding to the soup. The lentils have to be cooked WITH the vegetables and spices so that the flavors are absorbed well.
Hope I’ve answered the questions you might have regarding this lentil soup. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments section. I’ll be glad to help.
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Health benefits of turmeric in lentil soup
While turmeric is a flavorsome spice that is nutritious to consume, it has also traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammatory conditions, skin diseases, wounds, digestive ailments, and liver conditions. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, shows promise in the treatment of cancer. Research shows that people on long-term medication like diabetes can benefit by adding turmeric to their diet since its antioxidant properties are so powerful that they may stop your liver from getting damaged.
When you add this antioxidant, anti-inflammatory turmeric to the healthy lentils, what you get is a super flavorful and nutritious vegan lentil soup recipe!
Interested in more information about turmeric? Read “10 health benefits of turmeric and curcumin.”