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Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup

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This warming, satisfying lentil and vegetable soup comes together in just 30 minutes.

Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup

Photo by Johnny Miller (Clarkson Potter, 2021)

For a vegetarian recipe made almost entirely from pantry staples (and I mean true staples, not staples from some well-stocked dream kitchen), this vegetable soup is surprisingly delicious. It’s thickened by pureeing a portion of the soup and then stirring it back into the pot. The soup takes just 30 minutes to come together, start to finish, yet tastes like you spent all day in the kitchen, and it’s good for you, too. For the cooked vegetables, feel free to use any quick-cooking, frozen, or leftover vegetables you have on hand. The recipe is extremely flexible and very hearty!

What you’ll need to make Chickpea, lentil and vegetable soup

How To Make Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil, and Vegetable Soup

Before we get started, a few words about the ingredients. It’s important to use red lentils, as opposed to another variety: they cook quickly, add wonderful flavor and thicken the soup nicely. The recipe only calls for a third of a cup; don’t be tempted to add more or your soup will turn to sludge.

As for the green vegetables, I like to use frozen peas and green beans but you can use any quick cooking, frozen or leftover vegetables you have on hand. The recipe is very flexible!

Step-by-Step Instructions

How To Make Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil, and Vegetable Soup

Begin by cooking the onions in olive oil until soft. Add the carrots, garlic, smoked paprika and cumin and cook until fragrant, a few minutes.

How To Make Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil, and Vegetable Soup

Add the broth, tomatoes, lentils, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper.

How To Make Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil, and Vegetable Soup

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and continue cooking 10 minutes more.

How To Make Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil, and Vegetable Soup

Remove a few cups of the soup and place in a blender or food processor.

How To Make Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil, and Vegetable Soup

Purée until smooth.

How To Make Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil, and Vegetable Soup

Pour the puréed soup back into the pot. Stir and taste; if you want the soup to be thicker, purée a bit more. Add the vegetables.

How To Make Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil, and Vegetable Soup
Bring the soup back to a simmer and serve.

Photo by Johnny Miller (Clarkson Potter, 2021)

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Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup

This warming, satisfying lentil and vegetable soup comes together in just 30 minutes.

Servings: 6
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • Heaping ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup red lentils
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked vegetables, such as frozen peas or chopped green beans


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, smoked paprika and cumin; cook, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn't brown, about 2 minutes more.
  2. Add the broth, diced tomatoes, red lentils, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer; cook for ten minutes. Add the chickpeas, cover the pot and cook 10 minutes more. Fish out the bay leaves, then transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth (be sure to remove the center knob on the blender and cover with a dishtowel to avoid splatters). Add the puréed soup back to the pot and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary; if you want the soup to be thicker, purée a bit more soup. Add the cooked vegetables and simmer until the soup is hot and the vegetables are warmed through. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.
  3. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. through.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Serving size: about 1 1/2 cups
  • Calories: 222
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 32g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 10g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Sodium: 622mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Liked it! Ate leftovers all week and it was enjoyable. Thanks for the recipe.

    • — Midwest Trail Runner on November 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Very nutritious and delicious on a crisp autumn night with a full moon. I added chopped celery, fennel and used a can of fire roasted tomato with chilis. I decided to use a can of pinto beans instead of chick peas for a change, and used 1/2 cup of the red lentils, and a 1 tsp of the smoked paprika. I didn’t have the frozen vegetable but I did add a couple handfuls of fresh spinach. No need to puree. Thank you for this recipe.

    • — Beth B on November 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • This a good little soup. I’ll make it again. Nice to have in the frig when you need a quick bit.

    • — Beth on November 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Perfect amount of smoky and perfect soup for a chilly New England night! I will make this all fall and winter long.

    • — Lisa C on October 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • Cozy goodness! Made this for the first time last night and we loved it. Made a few mods based on what we had on hand – used beef broth and added baby portabellas, fire roasted and fresh tomatoes, extra carrots and added a whole bunch of swiss chard towards the end. A sprinkle of fresh parm added too 🙂

    • — ChrissyP on October 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • 1/3 cup of lentils was far too little for 4 cups of broth and 15oz of tomatoes. Every other lentil soup recipe I have calls for 2 cups which is what this recipe needed. Also, the spices were out of proportion. I added about 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika as well as about twice as much cumin as the recipe called for to give it some depth of flavor. I was surprised at how bland this was as I generally love the recipes on this site.

    • — Priscilla Rae on October 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was outstanding. My husband said it was his favorite soup ever! I added some red pepper for a little heat and I used the immersion blender to thicken the entire soup. Great mouth feel. And what great flavors. Healthy, too. Jen, this was one of our favorites! Thank you.

    • — Katherine Triest on October 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Soup is a keeper. My husband had a small bowl for lunch then came for another helping and he is not a soup person. I added one stalk of celery. Thanks Jenn.

    • — Rae Pittman on October 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • It’s a cool, rainy fall Saturday here in New England and this soup is perfect comfort food. I can already tell I’ll be making this a lot a lot over the coming months!

    • — Deb on October 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • I consider myself a very good soup maker. When I first read over this recipe, I thought it looked too easy to get a great result. I was wrong. It was delicious and it will go on my rotation because of the flexibility that you have with the vegetable choices. I had some roasted butternut squash in the fridge and I added that before the puree stage and it was OH SO GOOD! Jenn, your recipes do not fail! Thank you!!

    • — Donna B. on October 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • One of the best soups I’ve ever made! Nothing else I can add. Just pure yummy perfection.

    • — Susan on October 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hello,
    This is a personal note. I read your note about your son’s gifts of Israeli cookbooks and your comments on the current situation in Israel.

    I donate to the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind. A relative lived with serious eye problems and I love dogs, so this organization appeals to me. The young pups spend the first year living with people (mainly university students) who get the puppys socialized before their more rigorous training begins. When the Hamas attack took place, reservists were called to duty and 75% of the students taking care of the pups had to report!

    New homes had to be found for all these pups. And, the reservists were now fighting for their country.


    • — F. Becker on October 19, 2023
    • Reply
    • What a meaningful place to donate to. And, I pray that the reservists stay out of harm’s way.

      • — Jenn on October 19, 2023
      • Reply
  • This soup is so delicious! I used a 5 oz. “clamshell” of fresh baby spinach for the extra vegetable, and I know I’ll be making this again and again – thank you for yet another wonderful recipe!

    • — Diane on October 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • Outstanding! Quick, hearty, and healthy. Made it for dinner on a cozy night in as tropical storm winds and rain persisted outside. I added diced zucchini, diced fresh tomatoes, and fresh baby spinach. Yum!

    • — Carol H. on September 22, 2023
    • Reply

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