This protein and veggie packed Lentil Rice Soup is hearty and flavorful and sure to warm your belly and your soul. It’s made with simple ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your pantry and fridge. A family favorite!
This Lentil Rice Soup takes about an hour, but don’t let that scare you! The majority of that time is hands off! It’s the perfect amount of time to help the kids with their homework while this simmers away on the stove.
Packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, this comfort food soup will satisfy the whole family.
Ingredients you need
Ingredients notes and substitutions
Lentils ~ Use brown or green lentils for this soup so they retain texture. Red lentils turn to mush when cooked, which is great in some recipes, but not what we are looking for here.
Always be sure to pick through lentils and remove any small rocks, pebbles or debris. Then rinse them well in a mesh strainer under cold water.
Learn more about lentils here.
Rice ~ I like to use Jasmine, Basmati or quick-cooking (NOT Minute or Instant) brown rice for this soup recipe. You want to look for a rice variety that will cook in about 20 to 30 minutes.
Rinse the rice well in a fine mesh strainer under cold water before adding to the soup pot. This will eliminate a lot of the starchiness and ensure the rice doesn’t clump up when cooking or make the soup too thick.
Veggies ~ This soup is more about the lentils and rice than the veggies, but of course, we are adding some for flavor and extra nutrients. I like to keep it simple with celery, carrots and a can of diced tomatoes.
Spices ~ Again, I’m keeping it pretty simple here with thyme, salt and pepper. Feel free to add a little more or less depending on your tastes. I also like to add a splash of coconut aminos (or gluten free tamari) to deepen the flavor of the broth.
Cumin, paprika, and/or oregano would all be great additions or substitutions.
Broth ~ I like to use low sodium vegetable broth. If you don’t have or can’t find low sodium broth, you can use regular and leave out the additional salt added to the recipe (and then adjust to taste).
You could also just use water or half broth and half water. Again, taste adjust seasoning before serving.
Extras ~ A squeeze of fresh lemon really brings this soup to life. Chopped parsley add nice color and another pop of freshness.
Soup is a great place to sneak in some leafy greens. I like using sturdy greens, like kale or collards, in soups because they don’t get wilted or slimy. While I didn’t add any to the recipe ingredients, you certainly can throw some in if you like.
A dash of hot sauce or sprinkle of red pepper flakes would be nice in this recipe, as well.
Gluten free ~ This soup is gluten free!
Oil free ~ I use a bit of olive oil to sauté the veggies, but you could just as easily use water or vegetable broth to sauté instead to keep this soup oil-free!
How to make the recipe
Start by sautéing the onion over medium heat until soft and translucent (1). Add the garlic, dried thyme and black pepper and stir to combine (2). Sauté for about a minute until the spices are fragrant.
Add the diced carrots and celery (3) and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes just to let them start to soften a bit. Add the lentils and rice (4) and stir to combine (5). Add the diced tomatoes, coconut aminos, and broth (6).
Increase the heat to bring to a boil, give it a stir to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the lentils and rice are tender.
Once the lentils and rice are tender and the soup has thickened (7), add the salt, fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley (8).
This recipe makes a big pot of soup! You can halve the recipe if you prefer, but it’s just as easy to make a big pot as it is to make a smaller one and leftovers store well.
I love having leftovers to reheat for a quick lunch. It packs nicely in a thermos to take to work or send in your child’s lunchbox.
Let the soup cool completely before transferring to an air-tight container. It will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
You can also freeze this soup, but note that the rice will likely lose some texture upon thawing and reheating. In a freezer safe bag or container, this soup should keep well for 5 to 6 months.
The soup will continue to thicken up as it sits both in the fridge or freezer, so you may need to add a cup or so of broth or water when you reheat.
Pro tips for success
*Pick over the lentils and remove any small pebbles or rocks.
*Rinse the lentils well in a fine mesh strainer under cold water to remove any dust and debris.
*Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer under cold water to remove any dust and debris and also remove some of the starchiness so it doesn’t clump or get mushy when cooking.
*Choose a variety of rice that cooks in about 20 to 30 minutes. I like jasmine rice, basmati rice, or quick-cooking (NOT Minute or Instant rice) brown rice.
*Use vegetable broth or water instead of oil to sauté for an oil-free version.
*Use water or half broth and half water instead of all broth if you prefer. Adjust seasonings as necessary if you do this.
*Wait to add the salt and lemon juice until after the lentils have gotten tender. Salt and acidic ingredients can hinder the proper cooking of lentils.
*Add some chopped hearty greens, like kale, for an extra nutrient boost.
*This recipe makes a large pot of soup, about 10 cups once cooked. You can halve the recipe if you like, but leftovers keep really well and you can even freeze it.
*The soup will thicken as it sits. You may need to add additional vegetable broth or water upon reheating.
It depends on the recipes, but in this case, no. You want to add uncooked rice to the soup. That allows the rice to soak up all the delicious flavor of the broth and spices as it cooks.
Pay attention to the recipe cook time. In this instance, the recipe states to simmer the soup for 30 to 40 minutes, so you want to choose a rice that cooks in a similar amount of time. For instance, don’t use a Minute or Instant rice that cooks in just 5 minutes as it would be way overcooked by the time the lentils are cooked through.
Another tip is to rinse the uncooked rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This removes much of the starchiness from the rice so it won’t clump up and get mushy.
It depends on the recipe. In this Lentil Rice Soup, you want to simmer it with the lid on. If the lid were off, the liquids would evaporate and the soup would become much too thick.
Yes! This soup is packed with healthy plant protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants! It is also gluten free and can easily be made oil-free. Eat up!
More Vegan Rice Recipes
- Easy Vegetable Fried Rice
- Roasted Veggie Rice Bowls
- Spicy Peanut Rice Stuffed Peppers
- Creamy Leek and Wild Rice Soup
- Thai Sweet Potato Curry
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Lentil Rice Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or ¼ cup water or broth
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 3 carrots peeled and diced
- 1 cup dried green lentils picked over and rinsed well
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or gluten free tamari
- 8 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon (to taste)
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat on the stove. Sauté the diced onion for 5 to 6 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic, dried thyme and black pepper and sauté 1 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook another 5 minutes so they start to soften.
- Add the lentils, rice, tomatoes, coconut aminos and broth. Stir well. Bring to a boil, stir again, cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 to 40 minutes until the lentils and rice are tender, but not mushy.
- Add the salt, fresh lemon juice, and chopped parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.