Spiced Lentil Soup

A robustly spiced lentil soup. The recipe makes a fair amount, so cut it in half if you have a small household. (Or plan for leftovers for lunch the next day.) Adapted from a recipe I clipped from the Toronto Star in 1994, which was itself based on a recipe from the Toronto Vegetarian Association.SpoonSpoon

Spiced Lentil Soup

Featuring warm spices like cinnamon and ginger, this soup will heat you up on the coldest of days.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Lentils, Sides, Soup
Servings: 8 cups


Spice Mix

  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each of ground ginger, ground cardamom, and turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp each of ground coriander and ground cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne, or more, to taste Optional


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, or 2 tsp (10 mL) jarred minced garlic
  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils, rinsed and picked over to check for stones
  • 2 tbsp  tamari or regular soy sauce, preferably low sodium
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or more, to taste
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups vegetable stock, preferably low sodium


  • Combine all the spice mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat if the garlic starts to brown.
  • Stir in about a half-cup (118 mL) of water and the spice mix. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in salt, tamari, remaining water, and lentils. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Lentils should be soft but not mushy. Cook longer if needed.  
  • Add tomato paste and enough stock to get to the consistency you like. Taste and add a pinch more salt, if necessary.
  • Serve alongside crusty bread and a salad of bitter greens or a basic garden salad, if you prefer.

Image of cinnamon by Mariia Sultanova | Dreamstime

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