This Vegan Lentil Soup recipe from The Vegan 8 Cookbook is so simple to make and uses just 8 easy-to-find ingredients. Have a comforting, healthy dinner on the table in 30 minutes with this dairy-free, gluten-free, and oil-free bowl of deliciousness!
Why You'll Love This Vegan Soup Recipe
I'm always on the lookout for healthy recipes that can be made quickly. So when I was asked to review The Vegan 8 cookbook, I was really interested in sharing this Hungarian Vegan Lentil Soup recipe with you. This recipe is:
- Wholesome & Healthy. Made with protein and fiber-packed red lentils, fresh carrots and onions, and a handful of pantry staples, this is a vegetarian whole food meal you can feel good about feeding your family.
- Allergy-Friendly. This delicious recipe for vegan lentil soup is gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, AND oil-free, meaning it's acceptable for just about every diet!
- Meal-Prep & Freezer-Friendly. As with most soups, this recipe only gets better after a day or two in the fridge. It's also super easy to pop in the freezer! Read on below for more information on storage.
- Budget-Friendly. Dried lentils give you a heck of a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. Pick up a pound for less than $2! The remaining ingredients (carrots, onions, garlic, tomato paste, & herbs) are also super cheap, making each serving cost less than $1.
Ingredients & Substitutions
You don't need much to make this easy 8-ingredient vegan lentil soup recipe. Here's everything on your shopping list:
- Onions - Any color will do here!
- Garlic - Fresh is always best, but feel free to swap in ¼ teaspoon of dried garlic powder for each clove of fresh.
- Carrots - Any color of carrots will work. If you're fresh out, try swapping in parsnips, turnips, or celery.
- Red Lentils - Red lentils are the quickest cooking of all the dal varieties, which makes them perfect for this quick weeknight soup recipe. That said, you can use either green or yellow lentils if you need. Both will take longer to cook, and the green lentils won't share the same soft texture of red.
- Tomato Paste - While you can totally get tomato paste in a can, I suggest getting it in a tube instead! It'll last much longer and makes portioning it out much easier.
- Hungarian Sweet Paprika - If you can't find Hungarian paprika, any sweet paprika variety will work. You can also opt to make this a spicy lentil soup by using hot paprika, or make it smoky using smoked paprika instead.
- Dried Mustard - You can easily swap in dijon or yellow mustard if you need.
- Canned "Lite" Coconut Milk - If you only have full-fat canned coconut milk on hand, simply use ⅓ of the can and replace the other ⅔ with water.
- Kosher Salt & Black Pepper - Don't forget your seasoning!
How To Make Vegan Lentil Soup
Step 1: Simmer Aromatics. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, and 1 cup of water to a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 8 minutes, stirring a couple of times during, or until the veggies are tender but not overly so.
Step 2: Add Lentils, Tomato, & Spices. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the lentils, 2 1⁄2 cups (600g) water, tomato paste, paprika, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir well, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Add Coconut Milk. Add the milk, and increase the heat to medium-low; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender yet still firm, and the soup thickens some. Stir often, and do not overcook, as you don’t want the lentils to become mushy. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Serve immediately.
This simple vegan lentil soup recipe is straightforward, easy, and, most importantly, super tasty. That said, there are plenty of opportunities to customize it to your liking:
- Make it spicy! While it won't be a traditional Hungarian-style recipe, feel free to add some heat by using hot paprika instead of sweet. You can also add a bit more spice by tossing in a chopped jalapeño with the aromatics.
- Make it smoky! Smoked paprika would give this lentil soup a warm, smoky flavor.
- Use a different legume. Feel free to swap in yellow lentils (moong dal) here. They'll take a bit longer to cook, but are a good dupe for the red (masoor dal). You can also use green lentils if you prefer, but note that they will both take longer to cook and will also remain more toothsome than their red counterparts.
- Red lentils cook in about 20-25 minutes, making them one of my preferred legumes for weeknight cooking. That said, be careful not to overcook them as they have a tendency to become mushy.
- Leave the root tip on the onion for easier slicing and dicing! Slice the onion in half from tip to tail, then use the root end to hold it together while you make a host of vertical slices and then horizontal dices.
- Feel free to use this as a meal prep recipe. It keeps well in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Consider lite coconut milk the skim or 2% version of coconut milk. It has considerably less fat than regular canned coconut milk, giving it a thinner viscosity.
If you only have regular canned coconut milk on hand, give it a good shake to combine it, then use ⅓ of the can, swapping in water for the other ⅔.
You sure can! It'll keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, allow to defrost, then warm in the microwave or stovetop until heated through.
The Vegan 8 Cookbook Review
This Hungarian Red Lentil Soup recipe comes from The Vegan 8, by Brandi Doming. The book is based on easy-to-make recipes featuring 8 ingredients or less (not counting salt, pepper or water or anything optional). How refreshing does that sound?
Just like her blog, Brandi focuses the recipes in her book on comforting foods and classic dishes we all love, but are made easier and without a huge list of ingredients.
This book is for anybody who wants to incorporate more veggies or meatless meals in their diet without sacrificing flavor. There are no salads, green smoothies, tofu or superfoods, only regular food that appeals to everybody.
More Vegan Lentil Recipes
If you make this recipe and LOVE IT, please give it 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!
Hungarian Red Lentil Soup
This recipe was printed with permission from Brandi Doming/The Vegan 8/Oxmoor House Press 2018.
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 3 medium sized carrots cut into ¼ inch slices
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup dry red lentils rinsed well with cold water
- 6 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- .25 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup canned "lite" coconut milk well shaken (see notes)
- Add the onion, carrots, garlic, and 1 cup water to a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 8 minutes, stirring a couple of times during, or until the veggies are tender but not overly so.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and add the lentils, 2 1⁄2 cups (600g) water, tomato paste, paprika, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir well, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the milk, and increase the heat to medium-low; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender yet still firm, and the soup thickens some. Stir often, and do not overcook, as you don’t want the lentils to become mushy. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Serve immediately.
- Make sure the paprika you are using is not hot paprika. If you can't find Hungarian paprika, any sweet paprika will work.
- For the milk, it is important to use a creamy milk like cashew or “lite” coconut milk here for best results. The “lite” coconut milk is very creamy but yields no coconut taste. Almond and rice milks don’t do well, and definitely don’t use full-fat coconut, as it is too rich and thick and will ruin the flavor.
PLEASE NOTE: Nutritional information data is computer generated and only an estimate so it should be used only as a guide.
Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist who empowers vegans to feel clear and confident about what is uniquely nourishing to them. Mary Ellen's recipes and nutrition information have been featured on Yahoo News, Parade, VegNews, LIVESTRONG, Dr. Axe, Greatist, LIVEKINDLY, Brit+Co, Well+Good, and more.