Lentil Tomato Soup Recipe (2024)

By Martha Rose Shulman

Lentil Tomato Soup Recipe (1)

Total Time
About 1 hour 30 minutes
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I’m a firm believer in eating foods that symbolize good luck and expanding fortune at the beginning of the year. Usually I stick with my black-eyed peas salad. But I’ve always been curious about how people in other countries usher in the New Year. Lentils and raisins are present on Italian tables because they resemble coins and swell when cooked. They’re usually accompanied by pork, a symbol of prosperity and abundance. This is an easy, robust vegetarian soup that tastes almost meaty. The rosemary in the bouquet garni contributes a savory, earthy flavor.

Featured in: New Year’s Dishes for Prosperity and Longevity

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Learn: How to Make Soup

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Yield:4 servings

    For the Lentil Tomato Soup

    • 1cup lentils, washed and picked over
    • 1tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1medium onion, chopped
    • 2garlic cloves, minced
    • 1carrot, diced
    • 1stalk of celery, diced
    • Salt to taste
    • 114-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
    • 5cups water
    • A bouquet garni made with 2 sprigs rosemary and 1 bay leaf
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste
    • Grated Parmesan or Gruyère for serving
    • 1 to 2tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

247 calories; 5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 40 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams dietary fiber; 6 grams sugars; 14 grams protein; 1177 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Lentil Tomato Soup Recipe (2)


  1. For the Lentil Tomato Soup

    1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrot and celery, and a generous pinch of salt, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes until tender. Add the tomatoes and bouquet garni, and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down somewhat and smell fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the lentils, water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently one hour. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove the bouquet garni, and stir in the parsley. Serve, garnishing each bowl with Parmesan or Gruyère.


  • Advance preparation: This soup will improve overnight, and keeps well for three or four days, though you will probably finish it sooner. It can be frozen for a couple of months.Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at martha-rose-shulman.com



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Cooking Notes


Good tip on the lemon juice. I added it at the end as a garnish, along with a little olive oil, and it helped. Also, pancetta helped.

Day of the soup wasn't as exciting as it was the day after or even two days after. I highly recommend making it ahead.


I added lemon juice (about one lemon's worth) to the recipe - it was delicious. As noted, the soup did improve overnight.

Jeffrey Hill

Another trick is to thrown in a Parmesan rind. You will not regret it.


Followed the recipe and yes, it needed something acidic for some zing. I added balsamic vinegar at the end because it's slightly sweet, too. It was perfect.


I love lentils and cook these many different ways. My Indian version uses ginger and garlic and cumin. I garnish with fresh cilantro and fresh squeezed lemon... Yummm


I recommend simmering for 30 - 40 minutes as opposed to one hour. This soup is good but somewhat bland so yes, lemon juice and/or white wine vinegar brings on a welcome zing. Also, pureeing about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the lentils and veg after cooking, creates a luscious texture.

NW Chadwick

This is my first recipe review. Ahem. Loved the recipe. I did use chicken broth instead of water, using less since I like soups more like stews. Used lots of the vegetables, dumped in a few other basic spices/herbs, lemon juice, and plan to eat the four servings for three more days. Thank you, New York Times, for dragging this Southern girl, kicking and screaming, into more exotic ways of cooking.


This soup was excellent. I added more tomatoes just because I had a larger box of chopped tomatoes in the pantry. I also added about 2 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar at the end.


This is a great "I have the lentils and canned tomatoes, what else do I have in the crisper to get rid of" sort of soup. Sometimes I mix in greek yogurt or creme fraiche at the end.


I originally used a different lentil soup but lost the recipe and this was the one that came closest. I never add salt to anything simply because the can of tomatoes I use are the mild rotel tomatoes with chilies. My version of this soup turns into more of a stick-to-your-ribs chili. I find I don't need any extra zing with my spicy soup. Though it is still true that it tastes more satisfying the next day.

Serena Dubach

Parm rind at beginning, vinegar near end! Chicken broth. Greens about halfway. Bacon good. Immersion blender part of it. For variation, use Indian spices. Maggie Sauce near end, as well as red chili flakes or chipotle powder. Resist consuming for at least about 12 hours!


This turned out quite delicious. I followed other suggestions of finishing it with balsamic and served it with parmesan. I made the whole thing in my instant pot at high pressure for 20 minutes. I'm not a huge lentil soup fan but this will be repeated for sure. The whole family loved it.


I used ripe fresh tomatoes for this one. Had a bunch and didn't want them to go bad. Soup was fantastic. Great recipe. I did follow a reader's tip on the lemon juice for a needed zing.


The lemon and letting it sit for a day really helps. If you use vegetable broth instead of water, you could probably eat it right away. But best made in advance and enjoyed a day or two later.


I lovvve this recipe. I've made it a few times so far and it's quickly becoming a staple in my home. I just add a few carrots instead of just one, up to a couple extra cups of water as it thickens (w/enough seasoning to compensate), and I only use one sprig of rosemary because find it can become a bit overpowering. But this soup seems to turn out wonderfully no matter what you do to it!

Danny V

Lemon is good. But absolutely use an immersion blender on half of it. Much needed for improved consistency.

mm. Mary James

Made this “as written”, except to add an additional carrot and celery, swapped in ham broth (defatted) and water, added 4 oz. chopped leftover ham, did not add cheese, and it was delicious! It makes 9 cups, so serves more than 4! It figures at 120 calories per cup, so good and good for you! My husband ate the whole bowl, having added some Cholula!


Fantastic soup for our first snow day of the season! Took others’ recommendations and used vegetable stock instead of water and let it sit for a day before eating. Also didn’t have black lentils, red were fine. Will definitely make again!


I added smoked paprika and some seasoned salt. Made a world of difference.


LOVE THIS! Make batches and freeze.


Really bland. Added Tabasco, cayenne pepper, and MSG in an effort to improve it. Still only okay.

Lisa Lisa

Delicious and even better the next day. We used homemade vegetable stock in place of the water, added parm rinds to the broth, and finished with red wine vinegar. This recipe is a keeper!


This soup is a WINNER. Even on day one it got raves. Here’s what worked for me: I went heavy on herbs - a sizable (about 3 or 4 sprigs of ea) bouquet garni of fresh thyme and rosemary. Two bay leaves went in right at the start with the onions and garlic. Fire roasted crushed tomatoes, instead of diced, for a bit of smokiness and more integrated flavor. I simmered for an hour. I hand blended a cup of the soup and added back in. And key: 3 tbs balsamic fresh parsley before serving. Delish!


Made it as per recipe but had to use dried rosemary. It was still incredibly delicious!

Deborah Cohen

Made the soup mostly as written--two carrots as I was out of celery; added a sweet potato because it was going bad; brown lentils; no bay leaf; and added kale because it was a suggestion in the notes and who does want an extra serving of kale? :-)Very good except that I didn't like the rosemary. Maybe it was my rosemary, but I would leave it out and compensate with other spices next time. It's easy to make and very forgiving. Will make again.


I made it exactly as directed the first time and Pantry-style with frozen mirepoix, canned lentils, dried rosemary, and feta garnish the second. The second way was utterly delicious, the first way twice as good.


Technique is everything. Follow the vegetable trail and you will have one delicious vegetarian meal. Yum!

Unkle Jessie

The other reviewers are right, it definitely is better the next day! I added Tabasco for acidity, along side lemon. On day 2 I added Italian chicken sausage…yum!

erika m

Made this soup for the first time tonight and used 4 cups of veggie stock and 1 cup of water. I like my soups a little thicker, so next time will skip the water. I added diced potatoes and spinach and it was absolutely delicious. Healthy and hearty, it’s the perfect meal for a fall/winter evening or afternoon lunch.

Tom of Poland

This was delicious! I added spinach and a nip of brandy near the end. Perfect for a wet afternoon.

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Lentil Tomato Soup Recipe (2024)
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