Versatile Heart-Healthy Lentil Soup Recipe

By Leah Lesser

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), a heart-healthy diet includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, protein-rich foods, and oils and foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. There are a variety of ways to incorporate protein-rich foods in your eating, including choosing legumes such as kidney beans and lentils.

As soon as the cold weather sets in, my family knows it is lentil soup season. Versatile and nourishing, comforting and delicious, healthy and satisfying, lentil soup is a staple in our house throughout the winter months and often well into spring. Easy to make and even easier to modify based on taste preferences and what is in your fridge and pantry, lentil soup served with warm bread, cheese, and a salad can make a tasty meal.

Here is a recipe for lentil soup, adapted from Bob’s Red Mill, and with suggestions for variations:


Lentil Soup — 8 servings
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
½ cup diced carrots
1 tsp salt
2 cups lentils (add more or less depending on how hearty you want the soup)
8 ounces canned diced tomatoes (more or less depending on taste)
48 ounces chicken broth
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp turmeric
1 bay leaf (or two leaves depending on taste)

Easy Directions

  1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add diced onion, carrots and spices.
  2. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Rinse and drain lentils, then add lentils to the pot along with the diced tomatoes and chicken broth.
  4. Cover and bring to a boil — watch closely so it doesn’t boil over!
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are tender, about 25-30 minutes.
  6. Taste, add spices as you wish.
  7. Serve warm and enjoy!
  8. The soup keeps well in the fridge, covered, for approximately 5 days.


Here are some variations for the soup — be creative and follow your taste buds!

  • The recipe is made with yellow lentils, but you can use any type of lentils, including red or green lentils.
  • Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Cut up broccoli or cauliflower into bite size pieces and add it with the other vegetables to sauté.
  • Add frozen peas and/or corn after you sauté the fresh vegetables.
  • Cut up ½ of a fresh lemon and squeeze the juices into the pot while the soup is simmering — or you can add lemon juice.
  • Like it spicy? Add a few shakes of hot sauce or jalapeno peppers to the pot.
  • You can add ¼ cup of orzo or other small pasta like ditalini to the pot when you add the broth.
  • For optional spices, consider using ½ teaspoon paprika, smoked paprika, basil, fresh garlic (or minced garlic), or other spices you might have on hand. It is best to keep the number of spices used to 2-4 different kinds per batch. Get creative — switch up the different spices used each time you make the soup!
  • Serve with fresh parsley.

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