Rich and Creamy Red Lentil Soup (Vegan)

By Jaymi Heimbuch
December 9, 2015, 3:57 p.m.
Red lentil soup with kidney beans and sweet potato
Red lentil soup with kidney beans and sweet potato. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

About This Dish

This is a wonderfully rich, filling soup packed with protein and healthy vitamins from the lentils and beans. The deep, smokey flavor is given some heat with red pepper flakes, and is brightened up with the acidic punch of lemon juice and red wine vinegar for a surprisingly complex yet balanced flavor. It comes together quickly and easily for a hot, healthy meal on a busy week night, and leftovers will be perfect for enjoying later in the week.

Serve this soup piping hot, garnished with a sprinkling of cilantro and, if going vegetarian rather than vegan, a swirl of sour cream on top.

Prep Time
Total Time
4-6 servings
  1. Stock pot or Dutch oven with lid
  2. Blender or immersion blender
  3. Kitchen knife
  4. Cutting board
  5. Large stirring spoon
  6. Measuring cups and spoons
  1. 1 small sweet potato
  2. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 large yellow onion, diced
  4. 3 celery stalks, diced
  5. 2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
  6. 2 tablespoons paprika
  7. 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  8. 2 teaspoons chili powder
  9. 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  10. 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  11. 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  12. 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  13. 1 can red kidney beans
  14. juice from 1 lemon
  15. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  16. 12 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Poke a couple holes in the top of the sweet potato and wrap it in foil. Place it in the center rack of the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a knife pokes easily to the center.
  2. When the sweet potato is nearly done cooking, heat the olive oil in the soup pot and add the diced onions. Cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and cook until softened, about another 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the lentils, paprika, cumin, chili powder, pepper, salt, red pepper flakes and vegetable broth. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the lentils soften. Stir the soup occasionally while it cooks, and check on the liquid level; you may need to add a little more broth or water if the lentils soak up too much broth.
  4. Chop and add the cooked sweet potato to the soup. Add the kidney beans. Using an immersion blender (or a blender) puree the soup until mostly smooth but it still has some texture left. (The just-right texture is up to you.)
  5. Add the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and half the cilantro. Stir to thoroughly combine.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the remaining cilantro, and if desired for the non-vegan eater, a swirl of sour cream.
  7. Serve and enjoy!