I'm sure you've seen 34 million lentil soups all over Instagram and the web, but I still think mine is worth a try. I love it because it is rich with so many good vegetables which also makes it perfect for hen you have tons of leftover vegetable scraps that you are worried about spoiling. All ages also love the tiny little noodles which makes this soup universal. It comes together in no time, has plenty of easy substitutions, and freezes beautifully.
Here is what you'll need:
When it comes to this lentil soup recipe, I really think you should stick to split red/orange lentils. Green or brown lentils are a bit too grainy for the smooth consistency we are looking for. The red/orange lentils boil in no time and give this soup a gorgeous color. Make sure you wash them thoroughly - at least 2 to 3 times before boiling them in fresh water.
Veggie Base Trifecta
Onions, celery, and carrots. You absolutely need these three but there are so many options to choose from! I've tried both red and yellow onions - both work great. You can even do a blend of both if you are trying to use up ingredients. I've also tried plain orange carrots as well as the tricolor carrots (yellow, white, and purple) - both work perfect but I find that the tricolor ones are a bit more fun and my mom claims that the white ones give this soup an even more special taste (no official taste tastes have been done to confirm this though).
Yellow Squash / Zucchini
I love adding half a squash to this soup to give it that beautiful creamy texture. You wont even need potatoes or cream - trust me! I usually opt for yellow zucchini, but green zucchini will work just fine! I've even done a mix of both which was absolutely delicious. I do not recommend substituting the zucchini with butternut squash because it'll change the soup's flavor profile entirely.
This soup's acidity comes from both fresh tomatoes and tomato paste. Any type of fresh tomatoes work - the juicier the better. This is also great for when you have tomatoes that are starting to go soft. You can skip the tomato paste if you really wanted to, but I highly recommend including it for the deep tomato flavor it provides.
This is my secret weapon. I grew up watching my mom adding a packet of Lipton chicken noodle soup packets to almost every vegetable soup she ever made. I still love it as an adult and recommend it to everyone who loves an easy soup hack. The seasoning in these noodle packets allows you to skip buying chicken broth or making your own. You just cook it with water and you have the most incredible chicken noodle flavor. The noodles come in many different shapes, so you can go with a classic thin noodle, fun circle noodle, or even themes noodles for kids (like alphabets and animals). This is not sponsored, but this has been a multigenerational favorite in our family.
I always end this recipe with some parsley and lemon juice. I've used fresh parsley and frozen parsley - both work perfectly and give this soup the touch of freshness you need. You can add your lemon juice directly into the soup before serving or just serve with fresh lemon wedges for each person to add on their own.
This recipe makes about 10 portions, so split everything in half if you want to make a smaller batch.
1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
2 cups diced onion (yellow or red)
2 cups diced carrot (orange or tricolor)
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced yellow squash
2 tablespoons crushed fresh garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2.5 -3 cups dry split red lentils
2 packets of Lipton chicken noodle soup
1/2 cup frozen chopped parsley or 1 cup fresh chopped parsley
Juice from half a lemon
Extra water as needed
Salt to taste
Wash lentils thoroughly - about 3 times then drain. Transfer to a pot and cover with water - about 4 - 5 inches above the lentils. Bring to a boil and cook until lentils are very tender. Set aside without draining out the water.
In a separate large pot, heat oil slightly then add chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté on high heat until the veggies soften.
Add chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic, grated ginger, chopped yellow squash, and tomato paste. Continue sautéing on high until garlic and ginger are fragrant and the tomatoes have cooked down.
Add the cooked lentils along with all the water to the cooked veggie base. Mix until everything comes to a boil. Bring the heat down to low and use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the soup base. We are looking for a pureed texture, but not super smooth - you want to be able to feel the lentils but not have chunks of veggies. Add water if the soup is too think after blending it.
Dump in the Lipton chicken noodle soup packets and continue to simmer until noodles are tender.
Add chopped parsley and lemon juice then taste and adjust salt if needed.
Simmer for 3 - 5 more minutes then serve.