Plant-based lentil and mixed vegetable soup

This simple soup is easy to make and can include any veggies you have in the fridge or garden.

Contributed by Allison Collins, MD


Plant-based lentil and mixed vegetable soup

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to have a meal that is plant-based? My oldest daughter actually suggested that we go meat-free for Earth Day (I wish I could take credit for teaching that to her), and it made me so happy to hear that kids are learning about the impact of food choices on the environment in school.

This soup is a regular in our house as my kids love it and it is very simple. The recipe is flexible because you can basically throw in whatever veggies you have in your refrigerator or in your garden — involving my daughters in gardening has gotten them more interested in eating the vegetables! The soup also freezes well if you have leftovers and I often freeze in individual portions so they are ready for packing into school and work lunches (back before shelter-in-place restrictions related to COVID-19, when we used to send our kids to school and go to work). Hope you enjoy this soup as much as my family does.

Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive or avocado oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped 
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups dry lentils 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 4 cups raw baby spinach (or kale or chard), chopped

Directions

  1. Sauté onion in oil until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until browned.
  2. Add lentils, tomato paste, and cumin. Sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Add vegetable broth, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to bring to simmer and cook 20 to 25 minutes or until lentils start getting soft.
  4. Add green beans and zucchini. Cook for another 10 minutes until they are soft. Add spinach for the last 2 to 3 minutes and cook until wilted.
  5. Take out 1/3 of the mixture and blend until smooth with an immersion blender, blender, or food processor. Return purée to rest of soup and mix. (The reason I purée 1/3 of the soup is to add creaminess without any butter or cream. You can use this tip for almost any soup.)
  6. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 221
  • Total fat: 1 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 194 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 40 g
  • Dietary fiber: 8 g
  • Sugars: 6 g
  • Added sugars: 0 g
  • Protein: 14 g

Note: Nutrition information does not include added salt.