This creamy lentil soup with carrots, lemon, and kale is simply the best lentil soup recipe you will ever eat! Perfectly cooked green lentils in a savory broth made creamy with vegan sour cream and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
I was never a huge fan of lentil soups that are cooked down a lot until you could no longer distinguish the lentil from the rest of the broth. It reminds me too much of split pea soup, and I can't get over the texture of that type of lentil soup. It's not the case with this soup recipe!
- ❤️ Why make this recipe
- ❔ Why this is the best lentil soup
- 🧾 Ingredients and substitutions
- 🔪 Helpful tools
- 🥄 How to make vegan lentil soup
- 🥘 What to serve with lentil soup
- 👩🏻🍳 Pro Tips
- 🥬 Why massage kale?
- ❓ Can I use spinach instead of kale?
- 🥡 Storage and reheating
- 🌟 More vegan soup recipes
- 📋 Lentil soup recipe
❤️ Why make this recipe
- Healthy, light, and refreshing
- Creamy and lemony
- Vegan, gluten-free
- Bursting with flavor
Lentils are a great source of inexpensive vegan protein. They are great in soups, sprinkled on salads, or in a lentil loaf or meat-free bolognese.
❔ Why this is the best lentil soup
It's not mushy!
To avoid that mushy texture that you can sometimes get with other lentil soup recipes, I cook my lentils separately and drain and rinse them well. This allows you to control their texture and washes off the bitter flavors which will leave you with a perfect-tasting lentil.
This vegan lentil soup has a light and creamy broth with the perfect kick of acid and tang from the lemon juice and sour cream. Slightly sweet, savory, and sour, these complex flavors will get you hooked. This is anything but a boring lentil soup!
🧾 Ingredients and substitutions
- Green Lentils - green or brown lentils hold up best in this recipe. Smaller red or yellow lentils will get too soft in this soup.
- Olive Oil - you can swap this out for any other oil of choice or saute onions and garlic in a little extra broth for an oil-free lentil soup.
- Onion - a white onion, sweet onion, or yellow onion will work.
- Garlic Cloves - for flavor. You can use a teaspoon of garlic powder if you don't have fresh garlic.
- Carrots - this adds sweetness, texture, and color to the soup. Don't leave these out.
- Broth - I like the flavor of Not Chick'n Broth (vegan chicken flavored broth) or use any vegetable broth that you want.
- Salt and Black Pepper - for flavor. Feel free to reduce or omit the salt for a low-sodium soup.
- Kale - Kale holds up best in this soup especially if you are going to use it for meal prep and reheat it, but you can also use spinach or other greens instead.
- Fresh Lemon Juice - serve the soup with lemon wedges.
- Sour Cream - I like to add vegan sour cream directly to the pot of soup since everyone in my house likes it creamy, but you can
🔪 Helpful tools
- A large soup pot - This recipe is great because it doesn't require a blender, food processor, or special kitchen equipment.
🥄 How to make vegan lentil soup
Step 1 - Start by boiling a large pot of water. After it boils, add lentils and cook for 15 minutes before draining and rinsing them well.
Step 2 - While the lentils are cooking, sauté onion and minced garlic in olive oil over low heat until the onions are translucent.
Step 3 - Add diced carrots, water, and vegan broth and let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the carrots are tender.
Step 4 - Add the cooked, drained, and rinsed lentils to the soup pot and simmer for about 5 more minutes.
Step 5 - While the soup is simmering, get the kale ready to add to the soup. To do this, pour 1 tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt over clean kale. Using your hands, rub it and break it into small pieces until it turns dark and shiny.
Step 6 - Add the massaged kale to the pot of soup and simmer for about 5 more minutes.
Step 7 - Turn off the heat and add 1 1/2 cups sour cream to the pot of soup and stir well or serve the soup with sour cream and lemon wedges on the side.
🥘 What to serve with lentil soup
Serve your lentil soup with some crusty bread, vegan cornbread, gluten-free socca, garlic knots, drop biscuits, or focaccia bread.
👩🏻🍳 Pro Tips
- Be sure to cook the lentils separately for 15 minutes and then drain and rinse them well before adding them to the soup. This will wash off the bitter flavor and keep your broth bright and fresh.
- Add the sour cream at the end of the cooking. You don't want the sour cream to boil.
🥬 Why massage kale?
Massaging kale helps the taste and texture of the kale. If you've tried kale before and thought it was too tough or slightly bitter, try massaging it next time and you will be surprised how delicious it is with a little extra work.
❓ Can I use spinach instead of kale?
If you prefer spinach, it also works well in this soup. Simply omit the step of massaging it and be sure to add it at the very end of cooking instead of 5 minutes before the end of the cooking process. If you plan on using this soup for meal prep, kale will hold up better to freezing and reheating than spinach.
🥡 Storage and reheating
Refrigerate: This lentil soup will keep well in the fridge for 3 - 5 days in an airtight container. It’s perfect for meal prep or lunches for the rest of the week!
Freeze: This creamy lentil soup freezes well and can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
If this makes too much for your family, simply freeze the rest and you will have a delicious soup ready for lunches or those nights you don’t feel like cooking.
Reheating: Reheat a serving of lentil soup in the microwave for about 3 minutes or reheat it in a saucepan on the stovetop.
🌟 More vegan soup recipes
- Vegan White Chili
- Red Lentil Soup with Pumpkin
- Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
- Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup
- Vegan Cream of Celery
- Vegan Cream of Chicken
📌 Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for new vegan recipes!
📋 Lentil soup recipe
Creamy Lentil Soup with Kale
- 2 cups green lentils
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- 1 large onion peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 10 cups water (or vegetable broth)
- 2 cubes Not Chick'n Broth (vegan chicken flavored broth) or use veggie broth instead of water
- 2 teaspoons salt (omit if using all vegetable broth)
- 4 cups kale
- 1 lemon cut in wedges
- 1 1/2 cups vegan sour cream (one 16oz container)
- Start by boiling a large pot of water. After it boils, add lentils and cook for 15 minutes before draining and rinsing them well.
- While the lentils are cooking, sauté onion and minced garlic in olive oil over low heat until the onions are translucent.
- Add diced carrots, water, and vegan broth and let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the carrots are tender.
- Add the cooked, drained, and rinsed lentils to the soup pot and simmer for about 5 more minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, get the kale ready to add to the soup. To do this, pour 1 tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt over clean kale. Using your hands, rub it and break it into small pieces until it turns dark and shiny.
- Add the massaged kale to the pot of soup and simmer for about 5 more minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add 1 1/2 cups sour cream to the pot of soup and stir well or serve the soup with sour cream and lemon wedges on the side.
- You can sub spinach instead of kale. Just omit massaging the spinach and add it at the end of cooking instead of 5 minutes before the end.
- Kale holds up better in freezing and reheating than spinach does.
- If not using the Not Chick'n broth, you can use vegetable broth instead of water and omit the extra salt.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Click the stars above or leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you!
Kristin Hoenig says
Can I sub regular brown lentils?
Yes, you can. Enjoy! 🙂
Can I use Greek yogurt instead of sourcream
Sure, enjoy! 🙂
We use a number of lentil soup recipes, but this is right there at the top--and the fresh lemon wedges squeezed on when serving turn great into amazing! Definitely adding this recipe to the regular rotation!!!
I'm so happy that you liked it, Robert. It's one of my family's favorites for sure! 🙂