This delicious Vegetarian Lentil Soup with Spinach has loads of flavor from the tomatoes, cumin, and other spices. And this tasty lentil soup recipe is also vegan and gluten-free, for people who care about that!

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Vegetarian Lentil Soup with Spinach shown in bowl on orange plate.

My love of lentils is well documented on the blog, and this Vegetarian Lentil Soup with Spinach is a tasty lentil soup made from simple pantry ingredients, but it’s loaded with flavor due to the cumin seeds, ground coriander, onions, garlic, and paprika that flavor the soup.

And I added some extra flavor by using vegetable stock in place of water. The soup has a strong cumin flavor, which was one of the things I loved, and it was the perfect way to use up the last bit of one of those huge tubs of spinach from Costco. If you like lentils and spinach I hope you’ll give this healthy lentil soup recipe a try!

What ingredients do you need?

(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)

What adds extra flavor to the Vegetarian Lentil Soup?

Using whole cumin seeds (affiliate link) and sizzling them in the hot oil adds a lot of flavor to this soup. However, if you only have ground cumin, don’t let that stop you from making the soup. There’s also a lot of flavor from the onions, garlic, ground coriander, and paprika that’s cooked together before you add the lentils and vegetable broth.

Why do Lentils sometimes take longer to cook?

Lentils that are fresh will cook more quickly than those that have been sitting on the shelf in the store or in your pantry.

Can you use other colors of lentils for this vegetarian soup?

Lentils can be used quite interchangeably in recipes, although if you use red lentils for this Vegan Lentil Soup, they will soften much more quickly than the brown lentils the recipe calls for. You might enjoy using a combination of brown and red lentils if you have both types on hand!

What other greens could you use for Vegetarian Lentil Soup?

I love this soup with spinach but if you prefer a more assertive type of greens I think kale or swiss chard would also be delicious here. Other greens will take a bit longer to cook.

Is the Vegetarian Lentil Soup low in carbs?

This soup has 19 net carbs per servings, which may be too high in carbs for strict low-carb diet plans, but probably okay for someone who’s following a carb-conscious diet that permits a few more carbs.

Vegan Lentil Soup with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Cumin found on

How to Make Vegetarian Lentil Soup with Spinach:

(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)

  1. In a large pan that will hold all the ingredients, heat olive oil over medium heat and sizzle the cumin seeds until they’re fragrant and starting to pop. Be sure to stir them several times. (If you’re a cumin fan like I am, you might even use a little more cumin.)
  2. Then add onion, minced garlic, ground coriander, and black pepper and cook until the onions are softened and starting to brown. Add paprika and cook about 1 minute more.
  3. Measure 1 1/2 cups of plain brown lentils.
  4. Add the lentils and vegetable broth, bring to a slight boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 30-40 minutes or until the lentils are quite tender. Here’s how the soup looked once the lentils were done.
  5. While the lentils cook, wash the spinach if needed and finely chop.
  6. Add the can of tomatoes and chopped spinach to the soup (and a little more vegetable stock if needed) and cook about 30 more minutes, or until the spinach is done and the flavors have blended. Serve hot.

More distant view of Vegetarian Lentil Soup with Spinach shown in bowl on orange plate.

More Vegetarian Soup or Stew with Lentils:

Weekend Food Prep:

This vegetarian lentil soup recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep where you’ll find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Vegetarian Lentil Soup with Spinach shown in bowl on orange plate.
Yield: 6 servings

Vegetarian Lentil Soup with Spinach

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Vegetarian Lentil Soup with Spinach has plenty of flavor from the cumin and other spices used in this interesting soup.


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds (or slightly more if you really like cumin)
  • 1 large onion, chopped small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 T minced garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • four 14 oz. cans vegetable broth or water (see notes)
  • one 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups chopped spinach (see notes)
  • salt to taste (I didn’t use any salt since I used canned vegetable broth)


  1. Heat olive oil in large heavy dutch oven, add cumin seeds and cook over medium heat until fragrant and starting to pop, about 3 minutes. (Stir a few times so they don’t burn.)
  2. Stir in onion, minced garlic, ground coriander (affiliate link), and black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cook about 1 minute more.
  3. Add lentils and vegetable broth, bring to a low boil and then reduce heat, and simmer uncovered about 30-40 minutes, or until lentils are quite tender. (Depending on how much water has evaporated and how much the lentils have expanded you may want to add another can of broth or some water at this point. I added a whole can more vegetable broth)
  4. Add diced tomatoes and juice and chopped spinach and simmer uncovered 20-30 more minutes, until soup ingredients are well blended and lentils are starting to break apart.
  5. Season to taste with salt and serve hot.


Use about 7 cups broth, plus more as needed to thin the soup. I added another can of broth for a total of 5 cans. You need 4-5 oz spinach.

This recipe was slightly adapted from The Sugar Solution Cookbook.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 157Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 0mgSodium 1054mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 7gSugar 10gProtein 8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This tasty vegetarian lentil soup is a perfect dish for low-glycemic diets or any phase of the original South Beach Diet, but remember that dried beans and lentils are a limited food for South Beach Phase One. 

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Soup Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
Vegetarian Lentil Soup with Spinach was first posted in 2008. The recipe was updated with better photos and step-by-step instructions, March 2014, and last updated with more information in 2024.

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