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Red Lentil and Fennel Soup

This soup became an instant family favorite, enjoyed by both vegans and non-vegans. It has a rich flavor, is hearty and filling and a bit lighter than lentil stews made with tomatoes. It's easy to digest which also makes it an ideal meal for breaking a fast.

Red lentil soup with croutons and cilantro
Red lentil soup with croutons and cilantro

Serves 4


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large carrot, diced

2-1/2 stalks fennel, diced (save bulb for another recipe)

1 small red onion, diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt, plus more as needed

1 cup dried red lentils

5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (see note)

1 whole bay leaf (see note)

2 teaspoons garam masala

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 large lemon)

Cilantro for serving (optional)

Croutons for serving (optional)


1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil on medium low heat. Add carrot, onion and fennel and cook for a few minutes to soften, then add salt and cover and allow to sweat for another 5-10 minutes or until softened and the onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

2. Rinse red lentils and drain in a strainer, then add to saucepan along with broth, bay leaf if using (See Notes), and the spices (garam masala, garlic powder, turmeric and black pepper). Stir well.

3. Bring mixture to a rolling boil then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

4. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in lemon juice, being sure to mix it in well. Pour into serving bowls and top with cilantro, croutons and fresh cracked black pepper, if desired.


1. If you don’t have broth, you can make your own very easily with vegetables you have on hand, or with just garlic and onion powders, celery salt or dried celery flakes or whatever savory spices you enjoy, along with salt and pepper to taste. Add rough chopped veggies (I like to use onions, carrots, garlic and parsley) or spices to 6 cups of water along with the bay leaf and bring to a boil then simmer for at least one hour, covered. Strain and use, and be sure to remove the bay leaf. Some of the water will boil out and you should have about 5 cups when you are done.

2. If using prepared broth, you will wait and add the bay leaf to the saucepan along with the broth and lentils.

Red lentil soup and side salad
Red lentil soup and side salad


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