split red lentil soup with lemon and parsley overhead close up
Appetizers, Dinner Recipes, Easy Dinners, Entrees, Fall Recipes, Lunch Recipes, No Bake Recipes, Soups & Stews, Thanksgiving Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Vegan Split Red Lentil Soup Recipe

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Cozy up with a hot bowl of this delicious soup! This soup recipe only requires 5 ingredients(!!) and is both vegetarian and vegan. It can be an appetizer or stand alone meal. You can also puree this soup if you like a smoother texture.

Soup season is in full swing. But if you ask me, it never stops swinging. I don’t care if it’s hot outside, you’ll still see me enjoying a bowl of soup.

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    Unpractical? Yes.

    Delicious? Double yes!

    One of the soups I can have any time of year is this split red lentil soup (but its beautiful yellow color fits especially well with fall!) This makes a great appetizer or stand alone meal.

    split red lentil soup in spoon close up

    Split red lentil soup ingredients:

    This soup only needs FIVE ingredients! You will need:olive oil: for cooking the onions

    onion: I like to caramelize the onion a bit before adding all of the other ingredients. It helps develop the soup’s color and an out of this world flavor!
    split red lentils: The great thing about split red lentils is that they cook in the blink of an eye! The lentils make up the body of the soup and give the soup its color and main flavor.
    rice: helps thicken the soup (thank you starch!)
    water: you can also use vegetable stock in place of water for added flavor! I actually love the soup with just plain water, so that’s what I use time and time again

    split red lentil soup plain overhead

    How To Make Vegan Split Red Lentil Soup:

    To start, combine the split red lentils and short grain rice, and rinse the two very well. This step is mostly to get rid of all of the starch and debris that may be mixed in with your lentils and rice. To rinse, first cover the lentils and rice with water.

    Swirl them around a bit.

    Discard the water and repeat this process until the water runs clear, like so:

    A bit of fogginess is okay, but the water shouldn’t be brown anymore. It took me 6 rinses to get it to this stage.

    Drain the rice and lentils while you work on the onions.

    Grab either 2 small onions or 1 medium sized onion and dice finely. The onions I had on hand were quite small, so I had to use 2. You need about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of onions diced total (but a bit more or less is fine).

    Add olive oil and onions to a large pot, and cook. This step is highly customizable, and you could even skip it altogether and just add the onions raw to the lentils and rice. But I do recommend getting some color on your onions before mixing everything together. Caramelizing your onions beforehand adds a great flavor to your soup, and it doesn’t take much time.

    You can choose to either cook the onions just until translucent, until slightly browned, or until fully caramelized (my favorite!) You can also add some spices in at this point if you’d like.

    Throw everything together and add water. Add the washed and drained lentils and rice to the pot with the onions.

    Cover everything with water.

    Side note: The amount of water you choose to add is also customizable. I like a bit more of a thick soup, so I added 5 cups of water. If you want a thinner soup, add 6 to 7 cups of water.

    Bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover. After everything comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot (leaving it slightly ajar so steam can escape). Cook the soup, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until it’s at your desired consistency.

    If you start getting white foam at the top of your soup like so …

    … just skim the foam off with a spoon and discard it.

    You’ll know the soup is done when it turns a light yellow color and thickens up. If you’re not sure if it’s done or not, nothing compares to the good old taste test. Just make sure you don’t taste it too early on.

    You’re done! Serve it up and enjoy! You can serve this soup as is or puree it if you like a softer, smoother finished product.

    I personally like my soup with some fresh, chopped parsley on top and a bit of lemon juice. This also tastes great with some toasted toast, tortillas, or pita bread on the side.

    split red lentil soup with lemon and parsley overhead farther

    Vegan Split Red Lentil Soup Substitutions:

    Since this soup doesn’t have many ingredients, it’s kind of difficult to change it up too much. You can definitely use long grain rice instead of the short grain. I just like using the shorter grain because it has more starch, so it helps thicken the soup more than long grain.

    You can cook your onions in any oil you want, or even in butter. I personally love extra virgin olive oil because it’s neutral flavored enough to not overpower the soup, but flavorful enough to add a little richness to the dish.

    split red lentil soup with lemon and parsley close up

    Vegan Split Red Lentil Soup Add-Ins:

    As I mentioned already, this soup tastes great with some parsley and lemon juice added to it. It also taste great with a side of bread (whichever one you like).

    If you want some more flavor, you can also add spices to the soup. My favorite spice to add is coriander (1/4 a teaspoon).

    If you wanted to add some more starch and carbs to this soup, you could add 1 cup of raw, peeled, washed, and diced potato. Add this in with your raw lentils and rice so they boil together, then continue with the next steps.

    split red lentil soup in spoon

    Vegan Split Red Lentil Soup Recipe

    Cozy up with a hot bowl of this delicious soup! This soup recipe only requires 5 ingredients(!!) and is both vegetarian and vegan. It can be an appetizer or stand alone meal. You can also puree this soup if you like a smoother texture.
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 30 minutes
    Total Time 40 minutes
    Servings 4 to 6 people


    • 1 1/2 cups split red lentils
    • 2 tablespoons short grain rice
    • 1 medium onion, finely diced
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 6 cups water * see notes
    • chopped parsley for topping (optional topping)
    • freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional topping)


    • Combine split red lentils and short grain rice in a bowl. Wash the lentils and rice until the water becomes relatively clear. It’s okay if the water is still a bit foggy, but it shouldn’t be brown. Drain the lentils and rice.
    • Heat a large pot with some olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and cook until slightly browned (or to your liking).
    • Add drained rice and lentils. Then add water to the pot.
    • Bring everything to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cover the pot, leaving room for steam to escape. Cook the soup, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. If any white foam starts forming at the top, just skim it off with a spoon and discard. You’ll know your soup is done when it’s thickened and has a pale yellow color.
    • Plate up your soup. Serve plain, topped with parsley and/or lemon juice, or with your choice of toppings.


    * You can substitute all or some of the water for vegetable stock for added flavor! But just plain water is perfectly delicious (and more convenient!)


    I would love to hear any tips you’d like to add to this post and how your soup turned out in the comments below. Have any questions? Any ideas to improve this recipe? Feel free to comment for that as well. Happy making!

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