Italian Lentil Soup Recipe

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This Italian Lentil Soup Recipe is the soulful, savory soup that’ll get you through your rainy days, snowy days… and any other day! With a mix of creamy and firm lentils, carrots, onions, and herbs floating in a dreamy vegetable broth, my red and green lentil soup recipe is a 30 minute ticket to a totally satisfied tummy!

Titled Image: Italian Lentil Soup


Italian Lentil Soup Recipe

Low budget, low effort, quick, and healthy — this Italian lentil soup recipe has it all!

Lentils are full of vitamins, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and more. They also have a bit of protein! 

Bulky and flavorful, you can really make a huge pot of delicious soup that’s good for the body, mind, and soul in no time at all. It only takes 30 minutes to cook!

If you’re even shorter on time, you could even make a quicker version of this red lentil soup recipe in your Instant Pot.

Lentils can bulk up any vegetable soups, too, or even add body to some salad

ingredients for italian lentil soup

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Vegetable Broth – I always use low-sodium broth so that I can salt the soup to taste at the end of cooking.

    If using regular broth, leave out the extra salt I have listed in the lentil soup recipe. 
  • Tomato Paste – A small but mighty ingredient!! Just a little adds so much flavor, and it thickens the Italian lentil soup too.

    Tomato sauce or puree can be used as substitutes, but here’s the thing — you’d need to use a lot more. Go with the paste!
  • Red Lentils – Soft, tender, and nutty, you can be sure any red lentil soup recipe will be creamy and wholesome.
  • Green Lentils – These are firmer than the red ones, with a peppery taste. Great for texture and a satisfying bite!
  • Fresh Herbs – Parsley, basil, and rosemary add the perfect variety of fresh, herbal flavor.

    If you’re using dried herbs, be sure to use less — and know that the taste will be more “spicy” than fresh.
cooking onions in a pot

Green Lentil Soup Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Add a dash of patience for thick stew.

Some like their vegetable soup with lentils to be thin, while others like it thick. Me? I like it right in the middle.

To thicken it more to your liking, just let it simmer just a bit longer. Another option is to add a cornstarch slurry, made with a 1:2 ratio of cornstarch to water.

It’s a better option for thickening than flour, which might make the broth a bit bland.

  • Don’t skip sauteeing the onions and garlic!

The most important part of making soups is the base, so don’t skip laying a solid flavor foundation!

And by this I mean — take care of every ingredient, start to finish. Take a few minutes to heat the garlic in some oil or butter until translucent, and then the garlic until aromatic. 

Just these two ingredients release so much deep, rich flavor and aroma into the broth that it makes a world of difference!

  • Swap out, sub in, and use seasonal vegetables!

The veggies I use are easy to find all year, but they aren’t the only options. 

It’s very common to include leafy greens, such as kale or spinach, in a homemade Italian soup recipe — especially if you’re using fresh herbs.

Seasonal garden vegetables such as zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, and whatever else your green thumb can grow can be stewed to perfection with this red and green lentil soup recipe.

adding carrots and broth to pot

Storing and Reheating Italian Lentil Soup

Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. 

Because vegetable soup with lentils lasts so long and maintains its flavor so well, it’s perfect for preparing in bulk!

Reheat Italian lentil soup right on the stovetop in a pot, whether frozen or liquid, until warmed through.

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • 12 Quart Stockpot – There should be enough room for all of the food to move freely inside. 
  • A Sharp Knife – There’s no better way to get even, perfect veggie chunks than with a good, sharp knife.
adding tomato paste and seasonings to pot

Red Lentil Soup Recipe FAQ

Do I need to rinse lentils before making soup?

Yes you do! It’s important to remove any dirt or debris before cooking. 

Plus, rocks have been known to make their way into bags of dried lentils, so you want to be sure to sort through as you rinse!

Can I make this Italian lentil soup recipe with canned lentils?

You can. However, those canned lentils are already soft, so you don’t want to add them too soon. 

Instead, stir them in during the last 5 to 10 minutes — just long enough to warm through.

What is the tradition of lentils in Italy?

In Italy, the tasty little lentil is associated with luck, riches, and prosperity. They’re a sign of good things to come! As a result, they’re often served in soups on New Year’s Eve. 

Try this tradition in your home this year, and see what fortune awaits you!

italian lentil soup in large pot

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closeup of italian lentil soup in a bowl

Other Easy Soup And Stew Recipes

italian lentil soup in a bowl

Italian Lentil Soup Recipe

Donna Elick
My Italian Lentil Soup Recipe is full of veggies, lentils, and flavor! Stock up on vegetable soup with lentils for an easy, make ahead meal.
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Method Stovetop
Servings 6


  • 1 pound baby carrots, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 10 tablespoons tomato paste, or a 6 ounce can
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup dried green lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped


  • In a 12 quart stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and carrots, cook until garlic is aromatic (about 2 minutes). Add vegetable broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, lentils, red pepper, salt and black pepper.
  • Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Add parsley, basil, rosemary and stir to combine.
  • Serve and enjoy!


Serving: 1 | Calories: 200cal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 762mg | Sugar: 11g | Fiber: 15g | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 5mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Italian Lentil Soup Recipe - PIN

Originally published October 2012, updated and republished December 2023

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  1. Oh yes, my kinda soup, thanks.

    You are welcome to join in my monthly food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here for entry details and current theme. New theme each month. All bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  2. The highs yesterday were about 50 and it was rainy too. We've had soup for dinner two nights in a row and tonight is a good candidate for #3. I like this lentil soup.

  3. This soup was great! However, I made two modifications: 1. I cooked the soup approximately 20 minutes longer, so that the carrots soften more, but still al dente. 2. I added some Feta cheese to finish – delish!

  4. 5 stars
    This is such a filling, comforting and hearty meal. I love making this soup. I’ve even printed it and added it to my ‘cookbook’. I may just have to buy yours!

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