With only 4 ingredients this vegetarian Scottish lentil soup is totally delicious, super easy to make in about half an hour and a budget-friendly recipe all the family will love..
Why you’ll love this soup recipe
- This vegetarian version of classic Scottish lentil soup has only 4 ingredients, it’s a store cupboard basic all the way.
- Lentil soup is good for you, low in calories and high in protein and fibre.
- Quick and easy to make – there is nothing difficult about this simple lentil soup recipe, it is ready start to finish in about half an hour.
- My homemade lentil soup is super budget-friendly.
This is my Mum’s lentil soup recipe going back sixty years but with my own vegetarian twist.
My Mum made soup every week (from Scotch broth to cock-a-leekie) and her traditional Scottish lentil soup (sometimes called red lentil soup) was my favourite.
I remember the bright orange lentils soaking in their glass bowl overnight and marvelling at how they had grown in the morning, softening and absorbing so much of the water.
I used to help my Mum to make her lentil soup. My job was grating the carrots. This was long before we had stick blenders and grated carrots made her soup cook quickly and made sure it was pretty smooth by the time it was ready.
Every time I make my homemade lentil soup I remember our kitchen and my Mum. Food and memories…..
The complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this recipe can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Ingredients for lentil soup
There are only 4 ingredients in my vegetarian lentil soup recipe and they are all real storecupboard basics. Okay the carrots are fresh but most of us have some of those lurking in the fridge.
Red lentils – I use traditional red lentils in my soup. Red lentils are packed with nutrients and fibre and contain 25% protein which makes them a great source of proteins for vegetarians.
Carrots – I don’t even peel my carrots, just give them a good scrun before using them.
Onion – This adds flavour to your lentil soup. There is no need to use anything else like garlic or celery in this recipe. You get plenty of flavour with just these few simple ingredients.
Stock – I use a plain vegetable stock cube.
This is vegan lentil soup so a veggie stock cube is all that is called for. Back in my Mum’s kitchen her soup was always traditional Scottish lentil soup made with a ham bone and we used to get to nibble on cooked ham afterwards.
How to make Scottish lentil soup
This really is such an easy soup recipe. I don’t even bother peeling my carrots, just scrub them. But feel free to peel yours if you like before roughly chopping.
Chop the onion and simmer in a spoonful of olive oil for 5 minutes. The extra few minutes really brings out the sweetness of the onion which adds depth to this simple lentil soup recipe.
Chuck in the carrots and cook for another couple of minutes.
Add the stock and lentils to your soup base and bring to the boil.
Now cover the pan and lower the heat to a simmer (or pop the pan into baking oven of the Aga as I do) for about 20-25 minutes till the carrots are tender and the lentils have all soaked up the stock and become softened.
Do you need to soak the lentils?
No, there is no need to soak your red lentils in this lentil soup recipe. Although my Mum used to soak her lentils all those years ago I don’t and my vegetarian lentil soup is delicious.
The reason for soaking lentils is that it enhances the rate of mineral absorption in the body. An enzyme phytase is activated when lentils are soaked, which aids in breaking down phytic acid and helps in binding calcium, iron, and zinc and makes the absorption process easier.
When your soup is cooked simply use a stick blender to whizz it to the consistency you prefer. I like to leave some bits of carrot in my Scottish lentil soup, I never go for the full all-out smooth soup here.
Season your soup to taste.
If you find your lentil soup too thick simply add a little water to thin it down. This is a rich and creamy soup yet there is no dairy involved.
Variations on lentil soup
There are different types of lentils and the French Puy lentils make a marvellous soup with a flavour all of its own, my Puy lentil soup is well worth a try.
Peas work well with lentils and I’ve made a pea and lentil soup that is delicious with the sweet freshness of the peas.
How to serve Scottish lentil soup
I like to add lots and lots of black pepper to my lentil soup when I serve it. Pepper really brings out the flavour of the lentils in this amazingly simple soup.
Add a sprinkling of parsley or theme if you happen to have it to hand.
This lentil soup is so thick and hearty that you really don’t nee croutons or anything to add bulk to the soup.
if you want to get creative you could add bacon bits (either real or the vegan variety) to get a super rich flavour combo.
How much soup does this make?
I got 4 bowls of vegan lentil soup from this recipe. Want more? Then just double up the recipe to suit the number of folks you’re catering for.
Your lentil soup will keep for about three days in the fridge and of course, you can freeze lentil soup for up to six months.
I like to freeze my soups in a freezer bag and lay it flat on a baking tray in the freezer till solid. Then I remove the baking tray and can ‘file’ the lentil soup standing upright with my other frozen soups so they don’t take up much room in my freezer. Remember to label your lentil soup when freezing!
Is lentil soup good for you?
Yes indeed. This is a low-fat soup which is high in protein and fibre from the lentils and has plenty of vitamins from the carrots.
Looking for more super soup recipes to try? Then check these out before you go;
Cream of cauliflower and carrot soup
Quick and easy pea and ham soup with rice
There is a whole section of Larder Love devoted to my homemade soup recipes.
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Traditional Scottish Vegetarian Lentil Soup
- 1 onion
- 300 g carrots
- 150 g red lentils
- 600 ml vegetable stock
- Scrub and chop the carrots (peel if you want to) and chop the onion
- Saute the onion in a tablespoon of olive oil for 5 minutes then add the carrots for a couple of minutes
- Add the stock and lentils to the pan and bring to boil then cover and lower heat to a simmer for about 25 minutes till everything is tendera
- Use a stick blender to whizz the soup as smooth as you fancy and season to taste
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