This Vegetarian Crockpot Lentil Soup recipe is the perfect cozy slow cooker soup. This rich and tasty soup is meatless with lentils, kale, onions, garlic, and carrots to fill the pot. It's also naturally clean eating, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free!
Crockpot Lentil Soup
This Vegetarian Crockpot Lentil Soup may not be flashy, but it's bursting with flavor and textures making it a lovely and healthy plant-based meal for any day of the week. If you've been wondering what to do with that unassuming bag of lentils in your pantry... this is it!
Normally I feel like lentil soup is kind of sad and boring and BROWN but my version amps up the flavors with added vegetables that bring more flavor and color to the bowl. Instead of sausage, bacon, ham, meat, or pork, I added carrots AND kale to make this bowl of Lentil Soup surprisingly fresh and vibrant. Vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters will LOVE this simple meatless meal. There are over 15 Vegetarian Crockpot Soups on this site and this one is one of my personal favorites.
This recipe is vegan goodness in a bowl. It's vitamin-packed with kale and carrots PLUS plant protein-packed with lentils for one amazingly simple healthy recipe. This Vegetarian Slow Cooker Lentil Soup is sure to get added to your regular rotation. If you are trying to eat more plant-based food this year, lentils are a great way to get some extra protein without a lot of fuss.
Why You'll Love This Cozy Vegetarian Lentil Soup...
- On top of being warm, comforting, and nourishing my Vegetarian Crockpot Lentil Soup could not be easier! This is NOT a fussy recipe. You just dump everything in the Crockpot or slow cooker and it cooks all day. It's super easy.
- The lentils don't need to be pre-soaked.
- This recipe is made with super economical and easy-to-find ingredients. It's an inexpensive and simple vegan meal to make.
- It's full of flavor despite being meatless.
- An entire bowl is around 300 calories with 23 grams of plant protein.
- It's colorful and vitamin-packed.
- It's great as leftovers and for meal prep.
I love making a big bowl of this soup at the start of the week and enjoying it all week. It's equally delicious as a lunch or dinner. Even my twins love Vegetarian Lentil Soup!
- Lentils: Lentils are humble and inexpensive but they are packed with nutrition and the perfect base for my Crockpot Lentil Soup. They are loaded with vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, protein, AND fiber. For this recipe, I used bagged raw Brown Lentils, which are the most common ones. To prep, put them in a colander and rinse them off. Look through the lentils and take out any debris from your bag.
- Carrots: I used bright and colorful orange carrots. To prep them I scrubbed them with a vegetable brush and cut them into round pieces. You could also chop them up, but I liked the generous slices for a pretty bowl.
- Onion: You can use a yellow or sweet onion for this recipe. It gives the soup lots of flavors.
- Broth: Use your favorite broth for the soup. I like the use of a low sodium broth and then adjusting the salt. The soup gets a lot of its flavor from the broth, so pick a good one. If you aren't vegan you could also use chicken broth or whatever you have.
- Garlic: Garlic gives this Lentil Soup lots of flavor. Freshly chop your own garlic cloves or use pre-minced.
- Spices: The spices in this soup are pretty traditional for Lentil Soup. I used rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Feel free to use fresh or dried. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you want your soup to have even more depth of flavor.
- Kale: I love adding greens to my soup and this one is no different! I add curly kale at the end of the cooking. You add it after everything else is cooked and stir it just until it wilts. To prep the kale wash it and chop it. For extra tender kale give it a quick massage with your hands before cooking.
- Lemon: My secret ingredient! I love brightening up the soup with lemon. I add it at the end so the acid doesn't interfere with the cooking.
- Salt & Black Pepper: Add these to taste. I used ½ teaspoons of each but it really depends on the broth you use.
You could also add a garnish for green onion, parsley, tortilla chips, or even parmesan cheese if you aren't vegan.
- Get out your favorite larger Crockpot or Slow Cooker. I love this one!
- Prep your ingredients.
- Put the carrots, onion, lentils, broth, garlic, spices, salt, and pepper in a large Crockpot and stir together.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours or until the lentils are tender. Depending on how much broth the lentils absorb, add a touch more broth. Check the spice level and adjust if nessesary.
- Once the vegetables are tender stir in the kale and allow it to wilt and turn tender.
- Just before serving stir in the lemon.
- Serve with crusty bread and/or a salad.
How do I store leftovers?
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze Lentil Soup?
YES! This soup freezes very well. Portion it into individual containers and freeze it for up to six months.
Do you have to soak lentils before slow cooking?
No! Lentils are quick-cooking beans and do not require you to soak them before cooking them in a crockpot or slow cooker. You do need to rinse them and pick out any debris from the mix.
Which color lentil is best for soup?
I like using brown lentils for this soup. Green lentils are also a nice choice. You could substitute red or yellow but they will cook faster.
What sized crockpot do I use?
I use a standard 6-quart slow cooker.
Can I make this in an Instant Pot?
YES! Add the lentils, carrots, onion, garlic, broth, and spices to your Instant Pot. Use only 8 cups of broth. Cover and lock the instant pot. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes and then set the valve for a quick release. Let the soup rest for 10 minutes. Be sure to follow the manufactures instructions for cooking. Stir in the kale and let it wilt. Add the lemon just before serving.
I love this Crockpot Lentil Soup recipe as written, but here are some fun ways to mix it up.
- Add a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes. The red color is really pretty!
- Mix up the veggies. Celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cauliflower, or even broccoli could be added. There are so many possibilities with this soup.
- Mix up the greens. Instead of adding kale at the end, you could add a different hearty green. Spinach, collards, or even bok choy would be delicious.
- Make it spicy. Add your favorite hot sauce to the mix.
- If you aren't vegan or dairy-free stir in some parmesan at the end.
- If you want a more blended soup, use an immersion blender to blend up half of it leaving plenty of whole lentils behind.
- Mix up the spices instead of individual spices use my Italian Spice Mix or Herbs de Provence.
What to Serve with Crockpot Lentil Soup:
- Crusty Bread
- Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Herbed Goat Cheese
- Vegan Cobb Salad
- Rainbow Salad
- Kale Ceasar Salad
I made a big pot of this nutrient rich Vegetarian Crockpot Lentil Soup and enjoy it for days! I know you will love this recipe too. As always, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments.
More Vegetarian Crock Pot Soups to Try:
- 16 Vegetarian Crockpot Soups
- Vegetarian Crockpot Taco Soup
- Vegetarian Crockpot Chili
- Vegetarian Crockpot White Bean Soup
- Vegetarian Crockpot Chickpea Noodle Soup
- Vegetarian Crockpot Baked Potato Soup
Vegetarian Crockpot Lentil Soup
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cups dried lentils
- 10 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- salt & pepper to taste, I used ½ teaspoon of each
- pinch red pepper, optional
- 6 cups fresh kale, chopped
- 1 lemon
- Get out a large crockpot.
- Put the carrots, onion, lentils, broth, garlic, spices, salt, and pepper in the slow cooker and stir together.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours or until the lentils are tender. Depending on how much broth the absorbs, add a touch more broth.
- Once cooked reduce heat to warm and stir in the kale until it is wilted. Squeeze the fresh lemon on top.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve with crusty bread and/or a salad.
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