This vegan lentil and tomato soup is hearty, filling, easy and healthy (and cheap)! I usually make double and put some in the freezer so I'm stocked up for future lunches. The recipe owes a lot to my Mother's legendary soup, which she used to make for us on bleak, cold winter nights in Sydney. They do happen!! To me it's a hug in a bowl.
My Mum's recipe came from an early 80's edition of the Diet for a Small Planet Cookbook, and was called Lentils Monastery Style. The book put into words what I was thinking, even as a teen in the early 90's... that there is another way to eat, that we didn't have to be cruel to eat deliciously & well, and that what we eat can positively or negatively affect everyone's future.
But that's not why I loved Mum's soup so much, I loved the bite and slight meatiness of the lentils, the fragrant herbs and the richness of the tomato & how all the flavours came together and perfectly balanced to create a delicious, warming soup. Simply served with a hunk of bread it's a whole meal in itself. I especially like to make Vegan Garlic Bread in the Air Fryer or whip up a batch of Chickpea Flour Flatbreads to mop up the soupy goodness.
If you want to try other hearty soups that will warm your cockles, why not try
this Soothing Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup or my other favourite, Vegan Yellow Split Pea & 'Ham' Soup
- Green or Puy Lentils: You could also use those little brown lentils. I love the pepperyness of the Puy lentils the best though!
- Tomato Passata: Simple and easy to find in bottles or tetra packs. You can also use crushed tinned/canned tomatoes which work just as well.
- Tomato Paste: This adds an extra depth of rich tomatoey flavour to the soup.
- Vegetable Boullion/Stock: A good stock makes a soup sing. If you don't have any that you have made yourself, use a good quality powdered one (I like the Marigold best) or a quality stock cube.
- Carrots & Onions: Both these add sweetness and depth of flavour, besides being cupboard staples and cheap to boot.
- Herbs: Oregano, thyme and bay - either use all three, or just use what you have to hand. This recipe is pretty adaptable.
- Chilli- a little fresh or dried chilli adds heat if you want a spicey soup.
- Red Wine- The original Lentil's Monastery Style uses dry sherry. I never have that to hand so add in red wine instead.
- Garlic- optional, but garlic to me makes everything taste better.
Here's how to make this super simple vegan lentil and tomato soup.
- chop up and cook the onion and carrot.
- add the passata, lentils, wine, stock and herbs.
- simmer until the lentils are tender.
- serve up!
1.Peel and dice the onion and carrot into small pieces. Chop the garlic now if using.
2. Cook in a little oil until the onion is softened.
3. Stir in the tomato paste, and lentils, cook for a minute. Then add the stock, wine if using and all the herbs.
4. Cook until the lentils are softened and the soup looks rich. About 25 minutes. Add extra water if needed so the soup does not burn. Serve with fresh parsley.
🌶Substitutions and Variations
The basic ingredients of this soup are simple, so you can customise it to your own taste preferences.
- Spicy/Chilli: A little bit of spice is delicious with this soup. Add as much or little as you like.
- Other types of lentils: I use green or puy lentils, however you can use black lentils too. Red lentils can also be used, but will need less cooking time and will make a thicker, less defined soup.
- Other vegetables: Add finely chopped fennel, potato or parsnips to the soup according to what you have to hand.
- Alcohol-free: Instead of wine, add some Apple cider Vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar. This balances the flavours without the need for wine.
Yes absolutely! I frequently make a huge batch (triple) and freeze in one or two person portions. Perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. I love these glass tupperware for freezing my food (better for the environment and our health).
Yes you can. Just reduce the cooking time a bit.
This soup is so easy because all it requires is some chopping. No need for a blender.
No. Just leave it out if you don't want to use it. Or use some balsamic vinegar.
I love to make garlic bread to mop up the juices of this soup. It also goes nicely with a zippy Chickpea & Tomato Salad.
This soup is very good for you! Lentils are high in both fibre and protein, while the other vegetables in the soup also have antioxidants and fibre. Plus this soup is also low in fat (and delicious too)
So here it is.... My take on the Diet for a Small Planet's Lentil's Monastery style... as introduced to me by my Mother.
Lentil and Tomato Soup (Lentils Monastery Style)
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 2 carrots (finely chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 250 g (1¼ cups) dried puy or green lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoon thyme (dried or fresh)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 400 ml (1⅔ cups) tomato passata (or one standard tin/can)
- 120 ml (½ cup) red wine
- 1 teaspoon mild chilli powder (or 1 mild red chilli OPTIONAL)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder
- 800 ml (3⅓ cups) water
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- fresh chopped parsley - to serve
- Sweat the garlic & onions and carrot in the oil in a large, heavy saucepan.1 medium onion, 2 carrots, 3 cloves garlic, 3 tablespoon olive oil
- Add the chopped chilli (if using), tomato paste & cook for 5 minutes or so, until soft.1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 teaspoon mild chilli powder
- Add the tomato pasata, and all the herbs and stir.1 bay leaf, 2 teaspoon thyme, 400 ml tomato passata, 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Add in the lentils, the stock powder, the water & the wine.250 g dried puy or green lentils, 120 ml red wine, 1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder, 800 ml water
- Bring to the boil, then reduce to a slight simmer.
- Cook until the lentils are tender - around half an hour.
- Taste & adjust the seasoning if needed.Salt & Pepper to taste
- Serve with a sprinkle of parsley & some crusty bread.fresh chopped parsley - to serve
Oh wow! The recipe "Lentils, Monastery Style" turned me vegetarian way back in 1987. It made me so happy to see it pop up on your blog today! Coolness!!
Louise-Claire Cayzer says
It definitely sent me on my way to being veggie back way back then too! It's such a classic recipe, and one I come back to over and over! I'm so glad it made you happy! x
I love cooking with lentils and this soup was so good. This recipe is a keeper.
Love the combination of ingredients in this soup recipe. SO flavorful. Thanks for sharing
I love soup season and this recipe is another one to add to my regular rotation! Thank you so much, I love the flavor!
Wow this looks so hearty and filling. I love lentils! And I love lentil soup, but haven't tried it in a tomato base like this. Can't wait to try it out!
This is such a hearty and satisfying soup! I love lentil soup but haven't actually made a tomato-based one before. So I'm happy to have this one in my collection!