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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.

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 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!

How to make lentil and vegetable soup

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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  • This was delicious and so simple! Thank you!

    • — Mw on February 16, 2021
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  • Another tasty recipe – easy to follow instructions and healthy. Perfect for a cold winter’s day in London.

    • — Aly on February 14, 2021
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  • Made this last night and LOVED IT! Stuck to the recipe with one minor adjustment – used the 1 TB of garam masala and added 1 tsp of curry. It was so tasty!!! We have some leftovers and know it will be a bit thicker – so plan to serve them on basmati rice (as opposed to adding broth to lighten) / can’t wait!

    • — Barb on February 13, 2021
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  • When you have a Superbowl spread laid out for the day including the Ham and Swiss sliders (found on this site too!) and a bunch of other dips and treats, I wanted a soup I could leave simmering on the stove all day, that was a healthy option- a plan B for anyone that was done with all the rich, heavy food!! The snow already began (and I didn’t feel like running to the store) so I had to pick something that could make with items I had on hand. Just the mere title of this soup made me want to make it. I just sampled it and think this may be gone before some of my football apps- and well before the game began!! Love that I “found” this recipe and will add it to my staples for SURE:)

    • — Susi on February 7, 2021
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  • Yummy! Would love to win the Dutch oven to make this even better!

    • — Linda Berger on February 3, 2021
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  • This is one of my favorite recipes on this site. It has a nice rich flavor, easy to throw together and I almost always have everything on hand to make it.

    • — Heather A on February 3, 2021
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  • I made this for the first time this week when we had snow in the Northeast – perfect way to enjoy your snow day AND it is healthy as well! I used an immersion blender directly in the pot and tossed in mixed frozen vegetables that includes carrots, corn, peas and green beans and it was great! Just make sure you start slow with the immersion blender not to splatter everywhere!

    • — Claire on February 2, 2021
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  • Cancer has a way of refocusing what one eats. This wonderful recipe has two pulses, Lentils and Chickpeas (both are gut friendly). The instructions were easy to follow and the result flavorful & tasty. It is a great way to use those last few vegetables in the fridge. Pulses have become part of our diet and I buy bags of lentils and chickpeas and prepare them myself. It is easy and cheaper.

    • — Tom in CP on February 1, 2021
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    • Thank you for posting this. I making this for a friend with cancer because I read that these ingredients are helpful. Best wishes to you!

      • — Allison on February 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • This a delicious, full tilt soup! It is a wonderful addition to any meal or a meal all by itself with a crusty bread and glass of wine. What a warm and delightful treat to come home to after a day of snow shoveling or travel. The chickpeas provide a wonderful protein hit to a vegetarian soup with the smoky paprika and tomato rounding out the taste sensation. I added peas to the soup at the end of cooking
    and that little sweetness was a wonderful contrast to the other flavors. JUST LOVE THIS SOUP!! It has quickly become a new family favorite!

    • — Carol Hirsh Blechman on February 1, 2021
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  • Delicious Soup! It was perfect for a cold snowy evening and so easy to make. Went together in less then 20 minutes and I had all the ingredients on hand. This recipe will become a regular for my family .

    • — Jane Cappa on February 1, 2021
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  • Very yummy and satisfying on these cold winter days! I took the advice someone else added and tossed in a pinch of crushed red pepper as well. I also doubled the recipe so I could freeze some for a future quick meal. Perfecto! Thanks Jenn!

    • — Jules on February 1, 2021
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  • Making this for the millionth time on a cold snowy day.
    Another option, add cooked haddock filets broken up and stir: delicious Fast “fish chowder“ dinner.Whole Foods has packages Of 6 individual filets, frozen. They thaw fast, cook fast.

    • — Diana on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Easy to forget that this recipe is vegetarian because it is so tasty. This is a great hot, delicious nutrient-rich meal on a cold winter day or if you are doing a soup cleanse with a broth-based soup.

    • — Rose on January 30, 2021
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  • Delicious! Easy! Versatile! An immediate staple in my life!
    For a soup to make me happy, it just has to have flavour and substance, and I find many soups fall short of that. A lot of them are just weak and broth-y, and clearly just used to clean out the crisper.
    This soup is NOT that at all!!!!
    The spices are perfect and although you can bop this soup together quickly, if you have the time to layer the flavours and the spices, I say give it a go.
    I do increase the vegetables to increase my intake, but that’s my personal choice, and certainly nothing the recipe needs. So I sauté more carrots and cauliflower and celery etc with the smoked paprika, garlic and cumin.
    I also prefer a chunkier, heartier feeling soup so I usually don’t purée the entire pot, but just stick my liquid blender thing (not sure what it’s called but i love it!) in and smash it all around a wee bit.
    When I’ve had more time I’ve roasted shrimp with garlic & smoked paprika & butter and then added prior to serving, and also with chicken. Yummy.
    As a side note, I’ve taken this lunch to work and had so many comments about the gorgeous aroma that I’ve emailed the recipe to everyone, with huge thanks from everyone.
    Try this for sure!!!!
    Thanks again!

    • — Penelope Cardas on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • We made this recipe last week and it was fabulous. It is actually a versatile soup in that you could easily add chicken if you were looking for the meat component. We added an extra cup of broth as we like our soups a little more brothy. But the flavor profile was spot on. We have added this to our winter soup rotation.

    • — Suzanne on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a delicious and easy recipe. I have made it numerous times for company or just my family. It is always a hit. My husband asked me the last time I made it to add it to our weekly menu.

    • — Jean Clements on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Very good. If you want it more kick, I add a little cayenne pepper

    • — Angie Rogers on January 28, 2021
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  • So simple and delicious!

    • — Arielle Lynch on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Threw this recipe together on a chilly winter afternoon. It was great with a crusty bread and side salad. took the leftovers for lunch and it was delicious the next day. great flavors. thank you for your great recipes.

    • — tammy on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this, minus the green beans. Good flavor and enjoyed making the recipe. My father lived on lentil soup and was 105 when he died. It’s the secret to longevity, or at least we think so in our family.

    • — Polly Yearty on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This soup is awesome! I usually am not a chick pea fan, but this soup was so good, I didn’t even notice the chick peas. Thanks for this great recipe!

    • — Mary on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Just made this tasty soup! Was looking for a new take on my everyday vegetable & bean soup recipe, and this one is definitely going into my rotation. I loved the combination of spices. Cumin and smoked paprika provide a flavorful warmth to each spoonful. Next time, I am going to add more fresh veggies and maybe even some more beans since I like my soups just a bit chunkier. Overall, an excellent and quick addition to any cook’s repetoire.

    • — Maria Shaw on January 28, 2021
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  • This soup rocks!! I make soup every weekend 9 months of the year and this is one of the best soups ever. I shared it with my petsitter and she loved it too and asked for the recipe. Then she passed the recipe along to her Priest and he raved about it too. Do find the red lentils. You might get a little sticker shock but once you make this soup you’ll make it over and over. They don’t go bad so even if you make it only once or twice a year that box will be gone. I found them in The Fresh Market and I’m sure others like Whole Foods and maybe even Trader Joes carry them. Brown and green and other (less expensive) varieties just won’t work. Red lentils disintegrate into the soup and thicken it. Other lentils retain their shape.
    Besides providing plant based protein once you know that red lentils can be used as a thickener you’ll find other uses for them. If you only make one new soup this year make this one!!!!

    • — Joanne Reg on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! I used chicken broth, added two small yukon gold potatoes that I had in the fridge, and 1 c. frozen peas. I skipped the blending step at the end, but still delicious. Love the smoky flavor. Great leftover. Would be easy to make vegetarian using vegetable broth. Thanks for another wonderful soup!

    • — Stephanie Nagel on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Definitely a winner recipe and brings a little heat to a typical . It is a little smoked paprika forward that can be overwhelming so really taste testing along the cooking process can help make sure your flavors are melding as they should. I just used an immersion blender which made the process that much easier.

    • — Rachel on January 28, 2021
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  • This is hands down the best soup ever. I make vegetarian soups and stews all the time and every time I make something else I think “why didn’t I just make this one again!”. Its that good. I always make it with kale as the vegetable though since I feel like its healthier and I’m not a big fan of peas, or of greenbeans in soups. Its amazing. I can’t say enough how much I love this soup. I always make a double batch with the intention of freezing some for later, but then just end up eating it all. lol.

    • — Shana on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup:
    We cook mostly soups from Fall to Spring, due to the cool-to-cold weather. At first, I passed this one by, because Jenn has made me a huge fan of French lentils. But, every recipe of hers that I have ever made turned out great, so I decided to give this one a try. And I am so glad I did!! This one’s a winner! I used fire-roasted diced tomatoes, a bit more Cumin & Thyme, and an additional bay leaf. I blended it with a stick blender, and it turned out just fabulous! We have added it to our regular soup rotation. Paired with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc & Jenn’s Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls or Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins, it makes for a great cold-weather dinner, that is good tomorrow too! Thanks Jenn!

    • — Louis Polsinelli on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I was looking for recipes for a Daniel Fast and tried this recipe. It is so good! A very comforting and satisfying soup. The only change I made was adding a handful of fresh spinach. I will be adding this to my regular rotation! So good!

    • — Cindy G on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delish. I sub veg broth so this soup works for GF & vegetarians, & use fire roasted tomatoes. I double the recipe & hold back the 2nd can of beans & veggies (often frozen, which works fantastic) to add after using the immersion blender on a portion. In heavy rotation this winter – yummo!

    • — Kelly in Bend on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This soup has become a staple in our house! My youngest has been devouring it since she was 1yr. It really was the perfect starter soup. Great flavor and lots of nutrition from her growing body and mind. We love it and have enjoyed many of Jens recipes 😊

    • — Elise on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I really enjoy this recipe on a cold night. The smoked paprika adds an earthiness to the soup. The chickpeas and lentils make it very hearty and filling. It comes together quickly using common ingredients found in your pantry or local grocery store.

    • — Stephanie on January 28, 2021
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  • Absolutely loved it!
    Added peas , green peas and some spinach.
    Will definitely make it again!

    • — Ellen Snyder on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • A favorite winter staple which I have prepared for family and an ill friend as well. As a prior reviewer suggested, I substituted zatar for thyme due to personal preference and increased smoked paprika to 1/2 tsp. Nice to add some frozen chopped kale or spinach for great nutritional value

    • — Kathy on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This soup is so good that I’ve made it twice in the last 2 weeks. I had to substitute for a couple of ingredients I didn’t have on hand (celery for carrots and green lentils for red) and it was as good as the second time I made with all the right ingredients. I find it’s easier to use a stick blender to puree a portion of the soup directly in the pot instead of removing 2 cups and blending it separately.

    • — Mary on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Lentil soups can be heavy and often meaty, but this is not at all. With chickpeas and lentils it is a full vegetarian meal that I do not feel guilty about eating two bowls. Highly recommend!!

    • — Haviva on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Another favorite soup recipe that I have even used to make in advance for a crowd of 25! Instead of adding all of the water, I only used enough to cook the recipe, making it a concentrated soup base. After it cooled, I put it in a gallon freezer bag with a label of how much water to add when reheating. It saves a lot of freezer space and then you can make all of Jenn’s freezable soup recipes to have on hand for a quick dinner or for company! Everyone that was served this recipe just loved it!

    • — Vickie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve made a variation of this soup many times, but the specific instructions and guidance of not putting in too many lentils is what made me love this one! As well, blending just some of it was key for a creamy delicious soup!

    • — Lucienne on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This soup is delicious. My only issue was that I used a stick blender to puree the soup, and the chickpeas became sandy, which I didn’t like. I’ll make this again (and again and again) but I think I’ll add the chickpeas after I puree. Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes!

    • — Marsha on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Was searching for some new recipes to add to rotation and this one is a definite keeper! Found it quick to come together with great flavors. Appreciate the use of lentils and legumes as we are trying to move toward more meatless options. Thank you Jenn for another delicious recipe!!

    • — Cindy Brush on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I served this soup as a starter when it was my turn to host our Dinner Club. It turned out perfectly, had rave reviews from my guests and requests for the recipe! I must say Jen, there hasn’t been a single recipe of yours that I have made – and I’ve made a lot – that I wouldn’t rate as 5*. I am a particular cook and am always confident that your ingredients and their measurements will give the perfect balance of flavors. Thank you!!!

    • — Andrea on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I make this soup regularly, the flavors are just so spot on and satisfying. I usually add a ton more veggies, but follow the recipe to a T otherwise. Bonus that the recipe uses red lentils that usually sit in my pantry feeling left out!

    • — Brooke on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This has become a family favorite! Quick and delicious! Perfect for a fall/winter day.

    • — Paula on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This soup is perfect for chilly winter evenings! I like things extra smoky so I doubled the cumin and paprika. I also mindlessly opened a can of cannellini beans first so ended up with those and chickpeas and the soup was still great. Used an immersion blender right in the pot to thicken it up a bit–seemed easier and like less cleanup than the blender method. Will definitely make again!

    • — Anna on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Oh my goodness 🤤 That was one of the most delicious soups I’ve had. It was so good my husband and I finished it all then made a second batch the next day and doubled it. You’re recipes have never failed me. They’re always so delicious! A bit time consuming but worth it. All in all great job!!

    • — Halie on January 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this and it was amazing! It’s staple I already have in my pantry and takes no time to make a delicious dinner with your artisan bread. I added spinach and kidney beans as well. Planning to make a tripe batch which would be a rotation in our household. Another great delicious recipe. Thanks so much Jenn.

    • — Jan on January 21, 2021
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  • Jenn, this soup was a home run!! My husband wants it weekly. I followed recipe exactly except added a pinch of red pepper flakes for an extra kick. Love everything I have made from your recipes. Ordered your cookbook after this soup. Many thanks Jenn!! You’re the best!

    • — Nikki on January 18, 2021
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on January 19, 2021
      • Reply
  • We love lentils & cumin in this house. I made this as is and it was such a big hit! will be part of my rotation for sure. One little change I would make, I will add a little more stock, and puree the whole thing instead of the 2 cups only, to hide the chickpeas, as my daughter is not a fan. Otherwise, fabulous soup!

    • — Paola Rabbath on January 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi! The only red lentils I could find are “split” rather than whole. Does that change the recipe/ directions at all?

    • — Chris M. on January 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Chris, I’ve never used split lentils before; I suspect they should work but will need less cooking time. I’d add them along with the chickpeas. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on January 18, 2021
      • Reply
    • I found them at Walmart.

      • — Kathy on January 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • I have to admit. I make this soup once or twice a week. It is so delicious. The soup is great without adjusting the recipe. However, I make it so often that I change it up by adding whatever veggies I have in my frig: Frozen corn, broccoli, cauliflower, whatever. Instead of taking some of the soup out to blend, I just use an immersion blender on half of the pot of soup. Sometimes I’ll add a teaspoon of turmeric or use a can of diced fire roasted tomatoes instead of plain diced tomatoes.

    • — Leilani on January 16, 2021
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  • This soup is absolutely delicious (and healthy!). It also froze really well. I used chicken broth (but I am sure veggie broth would be just as good), French lentils, 1c frozen peas, 1/2c frozen peaches and cream corn. The corn adds a wonderful sweetness and textural contrast.

    • — Alicia M on January 15, 2021
    • Reply

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