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Vegan Lentil Soup Recipe

This vegan lentil soup recipe is sweet and spicy and is enhanced with the smoky flavor of charred peppers and tomatoes. 
5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 371kcal


  • Large pot
  • Baking sheet
  • Food processor


  • 3 small sweet red peppers such as Carmen or red bell pepper stems and seeds removed
  • 1 jalapeño stem removed
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes*
  • 1 head of garlic top cut off
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil divided
  • 2 leeks or 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots peeled and small-diced
  • 1 tablespoon silk chili flakes or use chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 16 ounces brown lentils rinsed and picked over
  • 8 cups water or broth
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For serving:

  • Microgreens or minced parsley


Char the vegetables:

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  • Arrange the peppers and tomatoes on a baking sheet. Place the garlic on a small piece of foil. Drizzle everything with 1 tablespoon neutral oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic in the foil. Transfer to the oven for 30 minutes or until the peppers are well-charred.
  • Turn off the heat. Remove from the oven and carefully unwrap the garlic. Set aside until the garlic is cool enough to handle.

Start the lentil soup:

  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for 6–7 minutes. Add the carrots and cook until 6–7 minutes until they just begin to soften.

Bloom the spices:

  • Add the chili powder, cumin, thyme, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, cayenne, and salt and pepper to the pot and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute.

Simmer the lentils:

  • Add the lentils to the pot and cook 2 minutes. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 30–45 minutes until the lentils are tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Puree the charred vegetables:

  • Transfer the peppers and tomatoes to a food processor. Carefully pop the garlic out of the paper and into the food processor. Pulse until pureed.
  • Pour the mixture into the lentils along with the maple syrup and continue simmering until the lentils are tender. Taste and season once more.

To serve:

  • Divide the lentil soup between bowls and garnish with microgreens or minced parsley. Enjoy!


If you don't have fresh tomatoes, use 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes and add it to the soup with the water. Mince the peppers and garlic according to the recipe instructions.


Calories: 371kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 41mg | Fiber: 27g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin C: 93mg
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