This vegan lentil soup with rice is so easy that I often say that anyone you trust with a knife can make it. I am serious. Never confuse complexity of tastes in a recipe with a complicated recipe. This one is easy. A great one for beginners, or short-on-time cooks, who want a hearty meal for a crowd or to last the week.
Dinner Prep in Less Than 20 Minutes
I usually make this in the late afternoon and let it simmer until dinner. The last time I made it, I knew I would be home late (can you relate?), but I had about 20 minutes to kill before leaving for work in the morning. Time for a plan, so getting right to work, I threw all the ingredients (rinsed lentils and rice, chopped vegetables, herbs, and salt and pepper) into my soup pot and put it in the fridge.
When I got home from work, I put it on the stove, brought it to a boil, and then turned it down to simmer for the 40-50 minutes it needed before serving. While it was cooking, I used the time to regroup and relax before dinner. It was great, and I would definitely do it that way again. Honestly, this is a quick, simple meal that everyone can make. See for yourself and watch me make vegan lentil soup on our YouTube channel! 🙂
OK, Time For The Details
The reason this recipe works so well is simple. It’s because it takes approximately the same time to cook lentils and brown rice. So, you bring them to a boil and then simmer them for 45 minutes or so – no problem. A soup is also far more forgiving than a lentil salad, where texture (not too hard, not too mushy) really matters.
My basic formula for a vegan lentil soup is this: for every cup of lentils, use 4 cups of water; for every cup of rice, use 2 cups of water. Broth can be substituted for water using the same ratios. I like a hearty, almost stew-like soup. Increase the liquid based on your preferred soup consistency.
What Do You Have in the Fridge?
Usually, I will toss in onions, carrots, and greens because I always have some on hand, but you can add anything. I add a can of diced tomatoes with the juice, but fresh tomatoes, green beans, corn, and celery are also wonderful additions. Almost any frozen or leftover vegetable can be thrown in (toward the end if already cooked).
Also, I typically will use thyme, a little oregano, a bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. If you wanted a more exotic flavor, using Indian spices with onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, and greens would be good.
Home-made Vegan Lentil Soup is Better Than Take-out!
Life can be crazy. So, having a big pot of soup on hand is a great way to have a healthy, nutrient-dense meal available for a family on the run. With a little bit of planning, this can be fast food. The prep takes less time than waiting for a pizza to be delivered and less time than driving to and from a fast food restaurant.
Super fast and flexible, you can make this lentil soup in no time. Short prep time and 40 minutes or so of cook time and a hearty meal is ready to go!
1 1/2cups lentils
1 large onion diced
2 – 3 chopped celery stalks
6–7 medium carrots
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 1/2cups sliced mushrooms
1lb frozen spinach
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp oregano
28 oz can of diced tomatoes (with juice)
Chop the onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms (we like nice thick slices of mushrooms)
Add to a large saucepan
Add the corn, spinach and spices to the pan
Pour the diced tomatoes and juice into the pan
Add the rice and lentils and the water
Bring to a boil
Simmer for 45 minutes
Prep note: some people are compelled to sauté onions in a pot and then build the soup from there. I have done it both ways and find no difference. I prefer the easier and lower fat option of just adding the raw onions.
Serve in bowls with chopped fresh parsley as a garnish.
Georgia is an unpretentious foodie who, at 50, transitioned from a vegetarian diet to a whole foods plant based diet and is loving it. She works as a nurse, plays as a quilter, loves to run, hates to race.
She thinks dogs are actually angels (in dog suits).