This black lentil soup is a comforting recipe that combines the hearty texture of black lentils with a delicious mix of vegetables and spices.

Black Lentil Soup

I love lentils, so I’m excited to share a recipe with black lentils. These lentils are unique because they hold their shape even after cooking, giving them a distinct flavor and texture. They are also called beluga lentils because of their resemblance to caviar.

black lentils

What are black lentils?

Black lentils, also known as beluga lentils, are small, round lentils that resemble the caviar produced by the beluga sturgeon, hence the name. These lentils are typically shiny and black. When cooked they have a rich, earthy flavor. This variety of lentils belongs to the legume family.

Are black lentils healthy?

Nutritionally black lentils, like other lentil varieties, are a good source of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. They are low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates, making them a nutritious addition to a balanced diet.

Where to Buy Black Lentils

I typically buy them at Whole Foods, but you can find them at some large grocery stores near the dried beans. You can also buy them online from Amazon! While black lentils are slightly more expensive than other varieties of lentils, they’re still an affordable source of protein and last a long time.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Olive oil: This helps cook the vegetables and bring out their flavors. If you want to make this recipe oil-free, you can sauté the vegetables in a bit of vegetable broth instead.
  • Onion, carrots & celery: These vegetables make up a traditional mirepoix and create a savory base flavor for the soup.
  • Garlic: I prefer the flavor of fresh garlic, but garlic powder can be substituted.
  • Cumin: This adds a warm and earthy flavor to the soup, enhancing its depth.
  • Paprika: This adds a smoky and slightly sweet flavor, enhancing the overall taste profile. You can substitute smoked paprika if you want additional smoky flavor.
  • Turmeric: This adds a mild peppery or mustard-like taste with a hint of citrus.
  • Tomato paste: A little tomato paste adds a savory, umami flavor to the soup.
  • Diced tomatoes: I like the flavor of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, but any tomatoes will add acidity and sweetness, as well as a chunky texture to the soup.
  • Black lentils: Serve as the main protein source, offering a hearty and earthy flavor. Be sure to use black lentils, as they have a unique texture. If you’re looking for a recipe using brown or green lentils, try my Mediterranean Lentil Soup instead.
  • Vegetable broth: Be sure to use a flavorful broth. I like the taste of Edward & Son’s “not chicken” broth.
  • Bay leaf: A bay leaf adds a subtle herbal flavor, enhancing the aromatic profile of the soup.
  • Lemon juice: A little acid adds a bright and tangy element, balancing the richness of the broth. You can substitute with a splash of white wine vinegar.
  • Spinach: This is an easy way to add some greens to the soup. You could substitute with chopped kale, just be sure to remove the stems.

How to Make Black Lentil Soup

How to Store Leftovers

This soup is easy to reheat making it a great meal prep option. Simply reheat the leftover soup on the stove or in the microwave. You can even freeze the leftovers for up to one month. It’s perfect to keep in the freezer for a last minute meal!

Black Lentil Soup

What to Serve with Lentil Soup

If you want to add even more veggies to your meal, try pairing this hearty stew with a salad! Try a chopped salad, kale salad, or a simple salad of mixed greens and an olive oil vinaigrette. It doesn’t have to be fancy! This soup is also delicious paired with my cottage cheese breadsticksbeer bread, or a crusty loaf of my Dutch oven bread. If you love sourdough bread, consider a subscription to Wildgrain!

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Black Lentil Soup

Black Lentil Soup

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This black lentil soup is a comforting recipe that combines the hearty texture of black lentils with a delicious mix of vegetables and spices.


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup black lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook for 6-7 minutes or until the vegetables have softened slightly.
  3. Add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, and turmeric. Cook for one minute until fragrant.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, lentils, vegetable broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are softened.
  5. Remove from heat and discard the bay leaf, then stir in spinach and lemon juice.
  6. Let the soup sit for 1-2 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Divide into bowls and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Keywords: black lentil soup