Not only is this Carrot and Lentil soup cheap, easy to make and healthy, but it is protein packed and really hearty and comforting. This is one of the cheapest soups you can make, and full of flavour.
Lentils are a really good budget ingredient and you can buy them in bulk at health food stores to make them even cheaper. Like other pulses, they are a good source of protein and they are low in fat too. We add lentils to other dishes like curries or pies to bulk them out in replace of some of the meat to save even more money.
This spiced carrot and lentil soup is really hearty and comforting. It's basically a hug in a bowl. Perfect for a chilly day, scooped up with some crusty bread or a soft flatbread. It's nutrient dense comfort food!
Why should you try it?
- Healthy and hearty - This is a seriously nutrient dense soup, but still feels really comforting. The perfect combo.
- Budget friendly - With the lentils bulking out this soup, it is really cheap to make. Perfect when money is tight but you still want something filling and healthy.
- Low in fat - Lentils and carrots are both low in fat, so they keep this soup low in fat.
- High in protein - Lentils are a great source of protein, making this a protein packed soup.
- Vegan - This is naturally vegan.
- Oil - You could use vegetable oil, but we prefer the flavour of olive oil.
- Onion - This is the base of the soup. You could swap it for shallots, which would give a sweeter taste.
- Carrot - The star of this soup. We have used basic supermarket carrots to make this a really budget friendly meal.
- Lentils - Red split lentils are the best choice for this soup. They are cheap and easy to find, and they cook really quickly and make the soup nice and creamy. You could used canned, ready cooked, green lentils instead if you wanted. This would totally change the colour of the soup of course.
- Herbs/spices - We added some cumin as it goes well with carrot and then some chilli powder for a little spice. Some fresh coriander is added when serving, but you could use fresh parsley instead.
- Tomato puree - This not only adds some flavour, it helps to thicken up the carrot and lentil soup and give a more rich red colour.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make carrot and lentil soup - Step by step
One: Add the oil to a large pan and once hot, add the carrots and onion and cook for 2 minutes.
Two: Add the lentils to the pan and cook for a further 30 seconds.
Three: Add the rest of the ingredients, except the Greek yogurt, and simmer for 30 minutes. If it starts to look a little thick, add a little more water.
Four: Blend the soup until smooth and serve in bowls with Greek yogurt on top.
Health benefits of lentils
- High in protein - 1 cup of lentils contains 18g of protein, which is more than chickpeas. That's great news for vegans, as you can use lentils in replace of meat in lots of dishes, and they will still be high in protein.
- A good source of calcium - whilst a lot of people get calcium from dairy, if you aren't consuming dairy, then lentils are a good alternative to get calcium.
- A good source of iron - one portion of lentils has around a third of your daily requirement of iron. Mix some spinach in to this stew and you have yourself an iron pack meal.
- They are full of fibre - if you want to feel fuller for longer, then meals that are high in fibre are the way to go. It's also great for digestive health. Lentils are a good source of fibre and this is a deliciously filling meal.
- High in magnesium - Lentils are high in magnesium, which is great if you are feeling stressed and having trouble sleeping.
- A good source of folic acid - If you are, or have ever been, pregnant, then you will know the importance of folic acid. But it's also important for lowering the risk of heart disease and is good for healthy hair.
Carrots are a good source of beta carotene, which is a compound your body changes into vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes healthy. Beta-carotene helps protect your eyes from the sun and lowers your chances of cataracts and other eye problems.
What to serve with carrot and lentil soup
This carrot and lentil soup is pretty low in calories, so we usually have it as a starter or serve it with a sandwich. A grilled cheese sandwich is perfect with these and total comfort food. You could also serve it with a chicken or turkey sandwich for a bit of an extra protein boost.
You can also keep things classic and just serve this with a French baguette that has been warmed up in the oven, or with some croutons on top. Or both. You could even go all out and make your own bread. Why not try our Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia, Easy White Loaf or Homemade Bagels.
We went with some flatbreads this time, and they are great for scooping up the carrot and lentil soup. Try our Easy Homemade Flatbread.
This is a great base soup for you to adapt it however you like. If you like spicy food, then a little paprika for some smokiness and then chilli flakes for extra heat works really well.
If you want to make this carrot and lentil soup feel a little more indulgent, then some grated Parmesan just before serving is amazing. It melts in to the soup and it is delicious.
A little drizzle of olive oil on top at the end and a sprinkle of fresh basil really finishes off the dish too. There are lots of variations of this soup that you can make, depending on what spices and herbs you use. You could give it a Mexican twist by adding some coriander and jalapenos.
We added some olive oil, a drizzle of yogurt (but you could use cream) and some fresh coriander, as carrots and coriander go so well together.
Make sure the carrot and lentil soup is completely cooled before refrigerating or freezing.
Store: To store in the fridge, keep the soup in airtight containers and it will be good for up to 4 days
Freeze: Soup freezes really well, but liquids expand when frozen, so make sure to use heavy duty containers and always leave a gap of about 1cm (0.5 inch) before putting the top on. The flavour of soup can diminish with freezing, so only keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Defrost: You can defrost it in the fridge overnight.
Reheat: Reheat this in a pan or the microwave until piping hot.
If you want to take the flavours in this soup to another level, then roast the carrots before adding them to the pan. Chop them up, toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for about 30 minutes. Roasting them will really bring out the flavour.
Yes, this can be done on the slow cooker instead and it makes it an even easier meal. Simply put all the ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
If your soup is too thick, then you may have cooked it at too high a temperature. Simply add a little more stock until it is the desired consistency. Equally, if it is too thin that you might not have had the heat high enough. Let it simmer a little longer to thicken up.
Yes, if you use a gluten free stock and make sure there is no cross contamination, then this can be gluten free.
• You can used canned green lentils instead in this soup, but it would change the colour of it.
• The red chilli is optional, and can be left out if you don't like anything spicy.
• Instead of the cumin, you could add garam masala or even some curry powder.
• Make sure the carrots are a vibrant orange, and firm to touch.
• Cut all the carrots evenly, in to small pieces so that they will cook quickly.
• You don't have to peel the carrots. It will save time and add fibre.
• If you are making this soup for young children, then use a low salt stock.
• A little bit of grated cheddar, crumbled stilton or Parmesan shavings on top finishes this perfectly, but it would no longer be vegetarian or vegan.
More soup recipes
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Carrot and Lentil Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 250 g carrots peeled and diced
- 75 g dried lentils (any colour is fine)
- 0.5 teaspoon ground cumin
- 0.5 teaspoon red chilli diced (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 tablespoon fresh coriander chopped
- 800 ml boiling water
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 pinch sea salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoon Greek yogurt or cream (to serve)
- Add the oil to a large pan and once hot, add the carrots and onion and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the lentils to the pan and cook for a further 30 seconds.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except the Greek yogurt, and simmer for 30 minutes. If it starts to look a little thick, add a little more water.
- Blend the soup until smooth and serve in bowls with Greek yogurt on top.