Spicy Red Lentil and Tomato Soup

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Andrea's Recipes - Spicy Red Lentil and Tomato Soup

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Lentils are one of my favorite comfort foods, and when I need a little warmth and comfort I’m very likely to walk into the kitchen and make a pot of mujaddarah, my favorite lentils and rice. Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrients, including protein, iron, fiber, folate, and thiamine, plus they are inexpensive, making them a great pantry staple. I keep bags of dried brown and red lentils on hand to take care of my cravings and I’m always on the lookout for another delicious way to enjoy them.

I spotted the original recipe for this soup (they call it chili) in Wegman’s Menu Magazine, a seasonal publication by my favorite grocery store, and I made a large batch of the soup on a cold, wintry day with a few changes to suit our palates. We used olive oil instead of butter, skipped the cornstarch, and came up with our own list of garnishes we like on top. I enjoyed the aromas and snuck a nibble here and there while cooking, then I knew we had a winner when Michael said I could make this any time. We even got a thumbs up and request for a second helping from our six-year-old son.


Adapted from Wegman’s Menu Magazine.

Andrea's Recipes - Spicy Red Lentil and Tomato Soup

Makes about 12 cups.


2 quart sauce pan with lid
6 quart stock pot with lid
immersion (stick) blender or regular blender


2 cups (340 g) red lentils, picked through to remove any stones
6 cups (1.44 liters) water, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce/411 g) can diced tomatoes
4 cups (960 ml) vegetable stock
1 tablespoon hot sauce (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

chopped cilantro
plain yogurt (or vegan substitute)
salt to taste
hot sauce


1. In the 2 quart pot, add the lentils and 4 cups of the water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Allow the lentils to sit covered for about 20 minutes to absorb water.

2. While the lentils rest, heat the olive oil in the 6 quart pot. Add the onions, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until they are soft and glisten, but not brown.

3. Add the celery and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable stock, 2 cups of the water hot sauce, turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cover and bring to a simmer.

5. Add half the lentils and liquid to the pot. With the immersion (stick) blender or regular blender, puree the remaining lentils and liquid, then pour into the pot. Cook at a simmer for another 15 minutes.

6. To serve, ladle into bowls and add garnishes.

More Recipes With Lentils

Andrea's Recipes - Moroccan-Style Chicken and Red Lentils Andrea's Recipes - Curried Lentil and Potato Stew Andrea's Recipes - Mujaddarah

More Red Lentil Recipes From Around the Blogs

A (Life) Time of Cooking – Spicy Rustic Red Lentil Soup

La Tartine Gourmand – Curried Winter Squash Soup with Red Lentils, Coconut Milk and Clams

Appetite for China – Red Lentil and Tofu Curry

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  1. says

    I recently found a jar of red lentils hiding in the back of my pantry, and have been thinking of what to make with them. This soup hits all of the flavor points I’d been toying with, though of course, as I wouldn’t be making it for kids, I’d probably up the heat a bit!

  2. says

    this looks amazing – i could jump right in! i made a lentil casserole last night as i was also in a lentil mood… you’re right, they’re perfect comfort food!

  3. says

    This sounds so delicious. I’m loving the idea of cumin and tumeric in it. I like lentils, too, but haven’t chosen the best recipes in the past. This one sounds really nice. I’ll let you know when I make it. I have red, green, and black lentils in the pantry….

  4. says

    Andrea this soup looks sooo delicious! I just posted a red lentil soup, but that is just a recipe as old as me from back home. Urs has lovely colors.

  5. says

    We are finally getting much needed rain in our part of the world, and this soup sounds perfect for being cozy in this weather. I have lots of chicken stock in my freezer that I’ll substitute for the veg stock.

  6. Sue says

    A great soup. My daughter is a salt-free vegetarian, but all I had to do was use a low-sodium hot sauce and leave out the salt, and it still had lots of great flavors. I substituted a can of salt-free fire roasted tomatoes which gave it a nice smokey taste, and the heat made up for the lack of salt. She loved it. This is definitely a keeper.

  7. Charlotte says

    I’ve been making this every so often for over a year now.

    It’s definitely a comfort food stape in our home :)


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