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 time. The last time I made it, I knew I would be home late, but had about 20 minutes to kill before leaving for work in the morning. 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 and brought it to a boil 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. Lentils and brown rice take approximately the same amount of time to cook. You bring them to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes or so. A soup is also far more forgiving than something like 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 the water using the same ratios. I like a hearty almost stew like soup. Increase the liquid based on your own 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 really can add anything. I add a can of diced tomatoes with the juice, but fresh tomatoes, green beans, corn and clelery 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.
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 hearty and 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 then waiting for a pizza to be delivered and less time then driving to and from a fast food restaurant.
Delicious, hearty, quick vegan lentil soup with rice
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 1/2 cups lentils
- 1 cup rice
- 8 cups water
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 – 3 chopped celery stalks
- 6-7 medium carrots
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup corn
- 1 lb 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
- Stir occasionally
- 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.