Spicy Tomato Lentil Soup

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Meet my favorite tomato lentil soup! Made with red lentils, tomatoes, curry powder, and fresh cilantro. It’s spicy, healthy, economical and absolutely delicious.

Whether you’re looking to lighten up your meals or warm up with a bowl soup, this hearty, filling soup is for you.

Top view of a dark blue bowl full of tomato lentil soup garnished with fresh cilantro.

I’ve made this recipe twice last week, and it makes fantastic leftovers. We enjoyed the texture, the spicy hints, the aromatic cilantro. We really loved everything about this tomato lentil soup.

It’s also vegan, packed with protein and so easy to whip up with everyday ingredients.

The red bell pepper and the vegetable mix (carrot, onion, celery) make an excellent flavor base to start with. The red lentils are cooked in a rich tomato broth that’s full of spicy flavour. You’ll love how the lentils breakdown easily and naturally thicken the soup.

With a quick whizz with a blender stick you can get a more luscious, creamier texture and to brighten things up, finish with lots of chopped fresh cilantro and lemon juice.

And don’t forget warm crusty bread for dunking. We love these amazing panini rolls ready in 1 hour, they’re perfect!

List of the ingredients

The ingredients to make this tomato lentil soup are arranged over a white background.

How to make tomato lentil soup

(Note: this is a quick description with step by step photos, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)

  • Saute’ the diced vegetables in olive oil.
  • Add curry powder, chili flakes and minced garlic.
Top view of a white cast iron pot full of diced vegetables and spices.
  • Stir to combine and cook until fragrant.
  • Add red lentils and canned tomatoes. I used Mutti Polpa (finely crushed tomatoes). It’s definitely one of my favorite brands.
Top view of a white cast iron pot full of red lentils and canned tomatoes.
  • Pour in broth (or water), season with salt and pepper, and cook.
  • Remove from the heat and blend a portion of the soup with a stick blender.
  • Add chopped cilantro, lemon juice, stir and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Top view of a white cast iron pot full of tomato lentil soup.
  • Serve with extra cilantro leaves, and a bit more of lemon juice if you wish.
  • For spicer soup, simply add another pinch of chili flakes.
  • Enjoy with warm crusty bread!
Close-up of a piece of pita bread dunking into a creamy tomato lentil soup garnished with fresh cilantro leaves.

Recipe notes

Tomato Lentil Soup ingredients

Lentils: red lentils are best for this recipe, they break down and purée easily. They’re also a bit sweet, nutty, and bring plenty plant-based protein. But brown or green lentils work fine too, feel free to use them instead of red lentils.

Tomatoes: I used canned crushed tomatoes (Mutti Polpa), but good-quality whole or diced tomatoes will also do.

Vegetables: I started with a mix of onion, carrot, celery, red bell pepper and garlic sautéed together in olive oil until softened. It makes a solid flavor base and add veggies to the soup. But if you don’t have a red pepper or celery on hand, just skip them.

Spices: I kept things simple and I used only pantry staples such as curry powder and chili flakes (a.k.a crushed red pepper). They provide spicy flavors without being overpowering.

Lemon & cilantro: they both add freshness, and the lemon juice brings a touch of acidity that helps to brighten up the flavor.

What about the leftovers?

This is one of those soups that tastes even better a day or two later. Make a big batch because the leftover will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days.
And it freezes beautifully too!

Note: this soup will absorb all the liquid as it sits. To reheat, add some water until it’s thinned to the desired consistency, then gently warm over medium-low heat.

Top view of bowl and a spoon full of thick, creamy tomato lentil soup and chopped cilantro leaves.

Love hearty lentil soup recipes?

And for more lentil recipes…

If you make this tomato lentil soup, or if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment or rate it. I would love to hear from you! 

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A blue bowl full of tomato lentil soup and chopped coriander.
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Tomato Lentil Soup

Meet my favorite tomato lentil soup! Made with red lentils, tomatoes, curry powder, and fresh coriander. It's spicy, healthy, economical and absolutely delicious.
Recipe yields 4 servings (approx 1 ½ cup each).
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: vegan
Keyword: Tomato lentil soup
Servings: 4
Calories: 307kcal
Author: Katia


  • 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 cup (190 grams) dried red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 can (14oz/400 grams) tomatoes and their juice (whole, diced, or crushed are fine)
  • 4 cups (960 ml) low-sodium vegetable broth or water
  • ¾ tsp fine salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 1 lemon juice, to taste


  • Warm the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the mixed vegetables, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, curry powder and chili flakes. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
  • Pour in the red lentils and the canned tomatoes and cook for 1 minute, stirring often, to enhance their flavor.
  • Pour in the broth (or the water) and add salt and pepper. Raise heat and bring to the a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cover the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  • Using a stick blender, do 2 or 3 quick whizzes to thicken the soup. Alternatively, let it cool slightly, and transfer 2 cups to a blender. Securely fasten the lid, protect your hands from steam with a tea towel placed over the lid, and purée until smooth. Pour the puréed soup back into the pot.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro and the juice of half lemon. Taste and make sure you're happy with the seasoning: you migth want to add a bit more salt salt or, for spicier soup, another pinch of chili flakes.
  • Serve with fresh cilantro leaves, crusty bread and a few lemon wedges (from the half lemon left). You might want to add extra lemon juice for freshness. Enjoy!


  • STORAGE: This soup will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 
  • Nutrition facts: Please note that the nutrition values are based on an online nutrition calculator.  It’s an estimate only and it should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. The nutrition value is for one serving (about 1 ½ cup).


Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 590mg | Potassium: 966mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3808IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 6mg


  1. 5 stars
    This cost nothing and the taste is crucial!
    I make this once a week!
    With the leftovers I cook some brown rice and add it to the soup with fresh cilantro & fresh chili pepper.
    Tomorrow I receive a friend of mine who ask me to make this soup for her 🙂

    Many thanks for this recipe!
    Greetings from the Netherlands!

    1. What a lovely feedback, Edith! I’m so pleased to hear your enjoy this soup every week, and thanks for sharing.
      Greetings from London. xx

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Katia, Just wanted to let you know that my family loved this soup. It is so good..

    1. That’s awesome, Annette!
      Thanks so much for taking to time to share, I’m so pleased the whole family loved it. : )
      Have a great day. x

  3. 5 stars
    I made this soup earlier today and just wanted to tell you how much myself and my family enjoyed it. The lemon juice at the end was a brilliant touch -made it sing with flavours!! Thanks again Jo 😁

    1. I’m super happy to hear that, Jo! 🙂
      Thanks a lot for your feedback, and have a great weekend. x

  4. Hi Katia, this looks absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you! I’m pinning this.

    1. Thank you, Lea, I’m glad you like it! Let me know how it tuns out x

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