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Recipe: Easy, Vegan Red Lentil Soup

Sometimes you need something easy to cook and eat that’s great for the spring and summer… and lentils always fit the bill.

They are especially perfect for those looking to transition to a more plant-based diet.  Even those who eat meat will find Red Lentil Soup to be quite delicious and filling!  It’s a personal favorite of mine as well as an acceptable meal if you’re trying to cut back on how much sugar you eat.

This recipe actually comes from a relative in Italy who kindly shared it to my Aunt, who then gave it to my mother.  Not only is this meal simple to create & eat, but it’s a total hand-me-down from across the sea!  If you’ve not yet encountered red lentils (or lentils in general) on your plate, please give them a try.  Red lentils are inexpensive, incredibly easy to cook, deliciously nutritious and very adaptable to whatever flavoring you’d love for them to have.

Lentils are a powerfully nutritious legume with plenty of protein and fiber that can hold up in your pantry when kept in a tightly sealed jar.  Please buy them dry rather than the pre-cooked ones in the can since lentils don’t take nearly as long to cook as dried beans.  Red lentils especially cook quite fast and make A LOT!

Red Lentil Soup

1 lb yellow or orange lentils, rinse thoroughly

1 28-oz or 32-oz can of diced tomatoes

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

5 cup water

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

In a large pan, sauté onions and garlic for about 4 to 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile in a separate pot, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add lentils and reduce heat to a simmer. Any foam that rises to the top should be skimmed off with a large spoon and discarded. This is your “Fart Foam” which is filled with the waste from the lentils that can cause gas as they are digested.  Cook lentils until they become tender (about 10 – 15 minutes).

Once lentils are soft, add tomato mixture to pot and season with salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste. Loosely slice or tear up basil leaves and cook for another 20 minutes at a simmer. If soup becomes too thick for your liking, add more water.

Optional:  You can add cubes of avocado to each bowl before serving.

I generally freeze a large container of this in a plastic container for days when I need something hardy to eat, but am limited on time to cook.  Reheats easily and tastes just as good.  Sometimes I’ll even add some chickpeas as well just to give it even more bulk, especially if I need it to go the extra mile.

This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.



Jennifer Fugo is a Philadelphia-based yoga teacher, health coach, and founder of Gluten Free School, an online classroom dedicated to healthy gluten-free living. Named a “Gluten Free Guru” by Philadelphia Magazine, Jen's spent the last 4 years vibrantly living gluten-free while coaching clients to do the same. For recipes, articles, events and yoga classes with Jen, visit her at and

View more articles by Jennifer Fugo

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