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Image taken from overhead shows wide bowls of a deep red soup with little flecks of chopped parsley. A bowl of the chopped parsley is nearby.
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My Favourite Vegan French Lentil Soup

My favourite smoky vegan French lentil soup with tomatoes, smoked paprika, tarragon, and garlic. A simple recipe that's high in protein with only 10 core ingredients.
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Soup, Stew
Cuisine Dairy-free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Plant-Based, Special Diets, Sugar-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword 10 ingredients, all seasons, canned tomatoes, carrots, celery, chili garlic sauce, easy, fall, French lentils, lentils, quick, smoked paprika, tarragon, thyme, tomatoes, vegetable stock, winter
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 -10

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, small dice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, small dice
  • 1 stick celery, small dice
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 ⅓ cups french lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 6 cups vegetable stock , plus extra if needed
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for at least 10 minutes, stirring them around frequently. They shouldn't sizzle too loudly! This is a slow-cooking kind of process, so turn the heat down if you think they’re cooking too fast.
  • When the onions are quite soft, add the thyme, tarragon, and paprika and saute for another 5 minutes, stirring here and there. Add the garlic and stir until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 8-10 minutes, until all vegetables are soft.
  • Add the can of tomatoes and stir to coat vegetables. Cook out and simmer the tomatoes for about 5 minutes. Add the drained lentils and stir to coat in the vegetables, oil and tomatoes. Add a splash of the stock and scrape any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  • Add remaining vegetable stock to the pot. Give the whole mix a good stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, return pot to a simmer, cover with a lid and allow to cook for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Check in on the pot once in a while and give it a stir. Season the finished soup liberally with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley, if using.
  • Serve the soup hot.

Notes

  • I know a 1/4 cup sounds like a lot of oil, but I think it’s warranted for the resulting texture. The volume of oil helps to stew the onions, garlic and herbs so that they “melt” into the soup, meshing all of the flavours seamlessly. Alternatively, you can use less oil and add spoonfuls of stock gradually to prevent sticking/over-browning.
  • I love to serve this soup with a drizzle of olive oil, maybe a a sprinkle of chili flakes, and some good bread.
  • You could use crushed tomatoes instead of diced for a thicker, more stew-like vibe!