My favorite homemade Smoky Lentil Quinoa Soup recipe is vegan, nutrient dense, filling, and a perfect lunch, dinner or meal prep idea! Using staple ingredients, it’s super easy to make in one pot and includes a slow cooker option too!
I happen to pick up a soup from Trader Joe’s a couple weeks ago called, ‘Lentils with Ancient Grains’. It’s a great ready-made soup when you’re on the go. The flavor was so wonderful I could’ve eaten two containers at one time!
I decided to recreate this same soup with its deep flavors in my kitchen and I’ve finally done it! This soup is full of flavor and even better because I can make from scratch in my own kitchen.
This soup calls for simple produce, a few spices and other staple items that you may already have on hand. Not a lot of chopping either, making it an easy soup to put together quickly.
And it’s great for meal prep since it tastes even better the next day! Luckily this soup makes quite a bit so you’ll have some leftovers to enjoy the flavors after they’ve had time to mingle.
Lentils rank #3 in the legume and nut family for protein content by weight, soy and hemp come in ahead. Per 1/4 cup dried, about 1/2 cup cooked, lentils you will find 12 grams of protein, 156 calories and 14 grams of fiber. Feel free to use either French, beluga, green or brown lentils. I’ve used green and French lentils in this recipe and both work well and are delicious.
The addition of quinoa is a great way to round this soup out perfectly making sure all essential proteins are covered. Like lentils, quinoa is not only a great source of protein but also has plenty of fiber containing 7 grams per 1/4 cup and is low in fat. Together they are a great source of iron, magnesium and vitamin B-6. Use your favorite quinoa. I use tri-colored, it’s my favorite for texture and color.
Smoky Lentil Quinoa Soup Ingredients
This lentil quinoa soup recipe calls for easy, everyday ingredients you may already have on hand. It’s oil-free, gluten free, well balanced and can be easily customized to suit your needs. Here’s what you’ll need along with a few tips and suggestions.
- Lentils. Brown, green, french or black lentils will work well in this recipe as they hold there shape well when simmering. I’ve used a combination of brown and french lentils.
- Quinoa. Use your favorite quinoa – red, white or tricolor. My favorite is tri-color.
- Onion. Any onion will do – red, white or yellow – so use what you have on hand.
- Carrots. Feel free to dice or slice your carrots, depending on the size. Add an extra carrot if you like!
- Celery. If your celery stalk has leaves, feel free to chop a few and add them to the soup.
- Garlic. If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, use 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
- Tomato. For ease and convenience I use canned diced tomatoes, fire roasted, but fresh tomatoes are great too!
- Spices & Herbs. We’ll be using a mix of smoked paprika, cumin, thyme, basil and nutmeg. Plus, a couple bay leaves. It’s a delicious combination, but if you don’t 1 or 2 of the spices or herbs you can still pull of a great soup, it just won’t be as complex.
- Veggie Broth. I love using Better Than Bouillon Veg Concentrate (affiliate link) with water. It tastes great, you only need a little (1 tsp.) and the jar lasts a long time.
- Balsamic Vinegar. This will round out the soup giving it a wonderful depth of flavor. If you don’t have balsamic on hand, use the juice of a small lemon or two, or omit it all together.
How To Make Vegan Lentil Quinoa Soup
Rinse the lentils and quinoa. First rinse your lentils well and pick through removing any oddly shaped or colored lentils. Rinse quinoa using a fine mesh strainer to remove any powdery residue.
Here’s a quick run-down on the stovetop and slow-cooker methods. See the recipe card for full instructions.
- Stovetop: In a large pot/dutch oven, saute the onions, celery, carrots and garlic, saute for 5 minutes. Add the smoked paprika, cumin, thyme, basil and nutmeg, cook until fragrant, about 1 – 2 minutes. Add in tomatoes, broth, lentils, quinoa, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add balsamic vinegar and stir.
- Slow Cooker: Add all the ingredients, except the balsamic, and cook on LOW for 6 – 8 hours or HIGH for 3 – 4 hours.
What To Serve With Lentil Quinoa Soup
I love to topping my soup with fresh chopped parsley for a dose of freshness and pop of color. This soup is nice and hearty all by itself, but does pair well with homemade Artisan Bread, Vegan Naan or this Vegan Cornbread!
How Long Will Leftovers Keep?
Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container. Simply re-warm on the stovetop or the microwave. It makes a great meal prep for the week with homemade Artisan Bread or Naan on the side for soaking up the juices.
Can You Freeze Lentil & Quinoa Soup?
Yes, it’s freezer friendly and stores beautifully in the freezer for up to 2 – 3 months! One of my favorite ways to freeze soup is in individual serving size, freezer safe containers (affiliate link). You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags or containers. Let thaw before reheating on the stovetop or microwave.
For More Hearty Soup Inspiration
- Vegetable Quinoa Soup
- Kale Quinoa & White Bean Soup
- Creamy Broccoli + Red Lentil Soup
- Lemony Kale, Leek & White Bean Soup
- A Very Good Split Pea Soup
If you try this lentil quinoa soup recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.Print
SMOKY LENTIL & QUINOA SOUP
Nutrient dense and filling, this delicious smoky lentil & quinoa soup is always a winner! Includes stovetop and slow cooker methods.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 40 min
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4 - 6 1x
- Category: Entree, Soup
- Method: Stovetop, Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: Vegan
- 1/4 cup water or 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large carrots, sliced or diced
- 2 ribs of celery, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup dried lentils (french, beluga or green/brown)
- 1/2 cup dried quinoa
- 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted) or 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
- 2 – 3 bay leafs
- 6 – 7 cups vegetable broth or water (or use a combo)
- mineral salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 – 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- chopped parsley for garnish, optional
Rinse: Rinse your lentils well and pick through removing any oddly shaped or colored lentils. Rinse quinoa using a fine mesh strainer to remove any powdery residue.
Saute: In a large pot/dutch oven, heat water/oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic, saute for 5 minutes, until onions are tender. Add smoked paprika, cumin, basil, thyme and nutmeg, cook until fragrant, about 1 – 2 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients: Add in lentils, quinoa, tomatoes, bay leaves, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 35 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and tasting for flavor as you go.
Add balsamic: Once done, remove from heat, add balsamic vinegar and stir. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Serve: Spoon soup into serving dishes and top with optional chopped parsley.
Soup serves 4 – 6
Slow Cooker: Add all the ingredients, except the balsamic, and cook on LOW for 6 – 8 hours or HIGH for 3 – 4 hours (or check you manual for ideal cooking times of similar soups). Once soup is done, add the balsamic, taste for flavor, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Feel free to add 1 cup of quinoa instead of 1/2 cup. Just be sure to add the full 7 cups of liquids when cooking, adding more at the end if needed. You can also try using 1 1/2 cup lentils and 1/2 cup quinoa if you like.
For me, using a good vegetable broth in this soup was key to flavor. Lately I’ve been loving using vegetable broth concentrate, like Better Than Bouillon (affiliate link). I only used 1 teaspoon with 6 cups of water and it’s very flavorful. All you need is a little and the jar goes a long way.
Use 2 teaspoons of thyme if you don’t have any dried basil on hand.
If you’re a tomato lover, try using 1 can (28 oz) of diced tomatoes or 3-4 fresh tomatoes.
Updated: Lentil Quinoa Soup recipe originally published January 2014. Updated October 2019 with new photos and helpful tips. No changes to the recipe – it’s still delicious as is!