Lentil Bolognese

Lentil bolognese is a rich and hearty pasta sauce that is budget-friendly and full of bold flavors. Plus, it makes tasty leftovers!

The post Lentil Bolognese appeared first on Budget Bytes.

It feels like meat is getting more and more expensive every day, y’all. But you know what is still cheap? LENTILS. 🙌 I know we’ve sung their praises a thousand times, but lentils are cheap, versatile, and will keep you full all. day. long. So they’re a great substitute for meat in bolognese, whether you’re vegan or not. This lentil bolognese is rich, hearty, full of big savory flavor, and budget-friendly!

close up side view of lentil bolognese on a plate of rigatoni being pierced with a fork.

What is Bolognese

Bolognese is a super rich Italian meat sauce reigning from the city of Bologna, Italy. Typically, this sauce starts with finely diced vegetables (onion, celery, carrot) that are cooked down with fatty beef and pork. Tomatoes or tomato sauce are added to give the ragú a tomato base, and white wine and milk are added to give the sauce extra richness. This extra lush sauce is typically served over pasta.

Because meat is getting so darn expensive these days, we decided to make a bolognese-like sauce using lentils instead of meat. The lentils make the bolognese sauce extra hearty for pennies on the dollar, and also add a great dose of fiber. We made sure to add tons of delicious herbs and spices, as well as some rich coconut milk, to make this lentil bolognese just as rich and flavorful as its meaty counterpart.

What kind of lentils to use

You’ll want to use red lentils for this recipe because they break down quickly, helping the sauce thicken up and get extra rich. They’ll retain just enough texture to feel “meaty,” without looking like lentils. The red/orange color of the cooked lentils also helps the bolognese sauce retain a nice deep red/brown color.

How to Serve Lentil Bolognese

Serve this hearty sauce over a pile of your favorite pasta, with some garlic bread and a light salad on the side. Because this sauce is so rich and thick, it pairs really well with larger pasta shapes, like rigatoni or tagliatelle because it clings well to pasta even without lots of ridges or crevices.

Overhead view of a Dutch Oven full of Lentil Bolognese.
Side view of a plate full of pasta and lentil bolognese with a fork in the side.
Print

Lentil Bolognese

Lentil bolognese is a rich and hearty pasta sauce that is budget-friendly and full of bold flavors. Plus, it makes tasty leftovers!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Total Cost $5.58 recipe / $1.40 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup sauce
Calories 478kcal
Author Dalya Rubin

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.37
  • 1 carrot $0.15
  • 1 stalk celery $0.10
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts $1.07
  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils $0.67
  • 1 15oz. can crushed tomatoes $1.00
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste $0.27
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried basil $0.10
  • 1 tsp garlic powder $0.10
  • 1 Tbsp sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper $0.02
  • 3 cups vegetable broth $0.36
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk $0.81

Instructions

  • Finely dice the onion, carrot, and celery. Mince the garlic.
  • Add the olive oil, onion, celery and carrot to a large pot. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes over a medium until the onions are translucent and the vegetables have softened.
  • Once vegetables have softened, add the minced garlic, crushed red pepper and walnuts to the pot. Saute for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the lentils, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, salt, sugar, pepper, and vegetable broth to the pot. Mix everything together and bring the sauce to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer, semi covered with a lid, stirring occasionally for 20-25 minutes. After about 25 minutes the lentils should be soft and the sauce thickened. If the sauce is still too thin for your liking, continue simmering until it has reached your desired consistency.
  • Once the bolognese has reached your desired consistency and texture, stir in the coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste the bolognese and add salt to taste. Turn off the heat. The bolognese will continue to thicken as it cools.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 25g | Sodium: 1261mg | Fiber: 19g
Overhead view of a plate of pasta with lentil bolognese on top.

How to Make Lentil Bolognese – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board.

Finely dice one yellow onion, one carrot, and one stalk celery, and mince four cloves of garlic.

Chopped vegetables in the pot.

Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil to a large pot and heat over medium. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and sauté until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent.

Garlic, walnuts, and red pepper added to the pot.

Add the minced garlic, ¼ tsp crushed red pepper, and ½ cup finely chopped walnuts. Sauté over medium-low heat for about two minutes more.

Lentils, tomatoes, and spices in the pot, broth being poured in the side.

Add 1 cup uncooked red lentils, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried basil, ½ tsp salt, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp black pepper, one 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes, and 3 Tbsp tomato paste to the pot. Add 3 cups vegetable broth and stir to combine.

Simmered bolognese sauce being stirred in the pot.

Allow the sauce to come up to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Coconut milk being poured into the sauce in the pot.

After about 25 minutes, the lentils should be soft and the sauce should be thick. If the sauce is still too thin for your liking, allow the sauce to simmer a bit longer. If the lentils are not yet soft, continue to simmer, adding a small amount of water as needed to prevent it from drying out.

Parsley being sprinkled on the pot of finished lentil bolognese.

Once the sauce is thickened, stir in ½ cup full fat coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes longer.

Overhead view of the pot full of lentil bolognese garnished with parsley.

Taste the sauce and add salt if needed.

The post Lentil Bolognese appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Best Lentil Soup Recipes

Lentil soup and stew recipes are the best busy weeknight dinners because lentils are easy to cook, versatile, and wholesome.

The post Best Lentil Soup Recipes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Lentils are a superstar ingredient, and we love using them to help make meals that are fast, filling, and inexpensive. Lentils are easy to cook, can be paired with a variety of flavors, and are shelf stable so they’re a great staple to keep on hand for busy weeknight dinners. We’ve rounded up some of our best lentil soup and stew recipes so you can see just how delicious and versatile these humble little legumes can be!

A collage of six different lentil soups and stews with text in the center of the image and the budget bytes logo.

What Type of Lentils to Use for Soup

 There are hundreds of varieties of lentils available, but the most common types you’re likely to find in U.S. grocery stores are brown or green lentils, red lentils, and yellow lentils. Each variety has its own flavor and texture and will create a different outcome in your recipe. Here is a brief description of the types of lentils we use in our recipes:

  • Brown or green lentils: These lentils cook quickly, require no soaking, hold their shape well, and have a nice earthy flavor. Use these lentils when you want the lentils to retain their shape in the soup or stew.
  • Red lentils: Red lentils have a very mild flavor and break down quickly when cooked. These lentils are great for creating a thicker texture in your soup or stew and pairing them with more delicate flavors.
  • Yellow lentils: Similar to red lentils, yellow lentils have a nice mild flavor that can be paired with a variety of ingredients. Yellow lentils also create a nice thick texture in soup or stews.

Our Favorite Lentil Soup Recipes:

Tomato Lentil Soup

A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side
This tomato lentil soup is full of vegetables and herbs for a simple, flavorful, and warming winter soup. Makes great leftovers!
4.88 from 31 votes
$4.74 recipe / $0.79 serving Get the Recipe

If you’re looking for a simple way to incorporate lentils into something you know you already like, this Tomato Lentil Soup is an excellent choice! It’s like a vegetable soup with a tomato-based broth and an extra touch of earthiness courtesy of the lentils. It’s cozy, filling, and full of flavor and texture! 

Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup

This Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup is packed with hearty flavor, texture, and good-for-you vegetables! 
4.92 from 145 votes
$5.24 recipe / $0.52 serving Get the Recipe

Our Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup is perfect for the days when you need to shop out of the panty instead of spending even more at the store. The recipe makes a huge batch of soup – because it’s so great you will want to have it again and again – and it freezes extremely well, too!

Moroccan Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Warm intoxicating spices make this vegetable filled Moroccan Lentil and Vegetable Stew perfect for cold Autumn nights. BudgetBytes.com
Warm intoxicating spices make this vegetable filled Moroccan Lentil and Vegetable Soup perfect for cold Autumn nights.
4.85 from 111 votes
$7.43 recipe / $0.93 serving Get the Recipe

Morrocan Lentil and Vegetable Soup is one of Beth’s favorite recipes on the site because it’s packed with beans, lentils, and veggies brought perfectly into balance with mouthwatering warming spices. It’s the most delicious way to get your daily dose of veggies! 

Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup

Close up side view of a bowl of creamy lentil vegetable soup.
This Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup is a medley of colors, flavors, and textures all in a hearty and inexpensive bowl. It's vegan, too! 
4.79 from 19 votes
$9.19 recipe / $2.30 serving Get the Recipe

This Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup has a deep, umami-rich flavor that’s absolutely out of this world – thanks to the combination of brown lentils and sliced mushrooms. Full-fat coconut milk gives it an extra creamy and luscious finish without any dairy products! (Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never cooked with coconut milk before – once you try it, you will understand why we love it so much!)

Our Favorite lentil stew recipes:

If you want something more rich or hearty than a brothy lentil soup, these lentil stew recipes are for you! We like to utilize the lentil’s natural thickening properties, letting them break down as they continue to cook, which helps create a hearty stew base that can stand up to big flavors and spices.

Lentil and Sausage Stew

Lentil & Sausage Stew is a fast and easy soup bursting with flavor and chock full of good-for-you vegetables! Plus it freezes well for later. BudgetBytes.com
Lentil and Sausage Stew is a fast and easy soup bursting with flavor and chock full of good-for-you vegetables! Plus it freezes well for later. 
4.86 from 56 votes
$6.67 recipe / $0.83 serving Get the Recipe

One of our fan-favorite recipes, this Lentil and Sausage Stew is an absolute classic with a double dose of protein – thanks to the lentils! We suggest making a big batch so you will have leftovers to tuck away in the fridge or freezer. 

Mexican Red Lentil Stew

Smoky roasted tomatoes, fresh lime juice, and a handful of potent spices make this Mexican Red Lentil Stew anything but ordinary.
4.91 from 90 votes
$9.34 recipe / $1.33 serving Get the Recipe

If you’re a fan of our Chicken and Lime Soup, I bet you will also love this recipe for Mexican Red Lentil Stew because we use the same cooking technique, finishing the soup with fresh lime juice and cilantro to make it light and fresh. This recipe also makes a huge batch and freezes well!

Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

A spoonful of lentil and pumpkin soup being lifted from the bowl
This Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup is super fast and easy, and will keep you warm from the inside out on chilly fall evenings!
4.73 from 90 votes
$3.55 recipe / $0.59 serving Get the Recipe

If you’re a big fan of lentils but looking for a new spin on them, this Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup is for you! It’s incredibly low-cost to make (just over $0.50 per serving!), vegan-friendly, and versatile in terms of ingredients because the pumpkin can be swapped for things like sweet potatoes or butternut squash.

vegan lentil soup recipes

While many of the recipes listed above are vegetarian or vegan, we have also created some soups and stews specifically for cooks looking to reduce the amount of animal protein in their diet with a fantastic, plant-based substitute like lentils – which contain even more protein than their cousins, beans!

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili

This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili makes a huge batch, is packed with flavor and nutrients, and can be made for only about 5 dollars! Budgetbytes.com
This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili makes a huge batch, is packed with flavor and nutrients, and can be made for only about 5 dollars! 
4.90 from 83 votes
$4.64 recipe / $0.77 serving Get the Recipe

For the days (or nights) when you need help from the slow cooker to get a wholesome dinner on the table, turn to this recipe for Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili. It comes together with only 10 minutes of prep time but is absolutely bursting with flavor!

Golden Coconut Lentil Soup

Golden Coconut Lentil Soup is a light and fresh bowl with vibrant turmeric and a handful of fun toppings. BudgetBytes.com
Golden Coconut Lentil Soup is a light and fresh bowl with vibrant turmeric and a handful of fun toppings.
4.69 from 114 votes
$4.27 recipe / $1.07 serving Get the Recipe

How would we describe our Golden Coconut Lentil Soup? “Light, bright, clean, and simple.” The perfect thing to make when you need a palate-cleansing meal. While lentils are the main ingredient in this soup, the real stars are the fresh ginger and turmeric that help flavor the dish and give it that jaw-dropping golden hue.

Vegan Red Lentil Stew

This hearty Vegan Red Lentil Stew is packed with vegetables for tons of flavor, and will keep you warm and full in the cold winter weather!
4.91 from 40 votes
$4.28 recipe / $0.71 serving Get the Recipe

With just five minutes of prep time and a laundry list of vegetables, this wholesome Vegan Red Lentil Stew will warm you up – even in the dead of winter. Red lentils are a must in this recipe if you want the stew to come together as quickly and easily as possible since they break down as they cook.

Vegan Winter Lentil Stew

A rich and hearty medley of vegetables, lentils, and herbs makes this freezer-friendly Vegan Winter Lentil Stew the perfect cold-weather comfort food. Budgetbytes.com
A rich and hearty medley of vegetables, lentils, and herbs makes this freezer-friendly Vegan Winter Lentil Stew the perfect cold-weather comfort food. 
4.90 from 176 votes
$5.08 recipe / $0.64 serving Get the Recipe

This recipe for Vegan Winter Lentil Stew will satisfy that craving for hearty beef stew when meat isn’t in the budget or part of the meal plan. The best part is that the lentils really do all the heavy lifting but won’t leave you feeling unsatisfied. 

The post Best Lentil Soup Recipes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup

This Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup is a medley of colors, flavors, and textures all in a hearty and inexpensive bowl. It’s vegan, too!

The post Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m so all about the hearty soups and stews this time of year and I’ve been kind of obsessed lately with using coconut to make savory soups and stews creamy. This Creamy Lentil and Vegetable Soup started out as a lentil mushroom soup, but then I decided to toss in the extra veggies I had in my fridge. The end result was a super cozy bowl full of colors, flavors, and textures that made all of my Autumn cottage-core dreams come true. 🥰

Close up overhead view of a bowl of creamy lentil vegetable soup with bread on the side.

What Kind oF lentils to Use

I used quick-cooking brown (or green, depending on where you are) lentils for this recipe. If you’re unsure of the type of lentil you have, check the cooking instructions on the package. You’ll want a variety that cooks with about 20 minutes of simmering with no soaking required.

I don’t suggest using red or yellow lentils for this recipe because they break down very quickly when cooked and you’ll end up with a texture closer to mashed potatoes than soup in the end.

Coconut Alternatives

I used full-fat coconut milk (the kind in a can, not the kind meant for use as a dairy milk alternative) for this soup because it’s an easy way to make soups ultra-rich and creamy without using dairy. If you’re not trying to avoid dairy you can simply use a splash or two of heavy cream. OR, if you want to make this a simply brothy soup, just skip the cream all together!

What to Serve with Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup

This creamy, cozy soup is just begging for some good bread for dipping. Whip up a batch of some homemade no-knead bread or soda bread and you’ll be in heaven.

How to Store

To store this soup, first divide it into single-serving portions to facilitate quicker cooling. Store the soup in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or once chilled, transfer to the freezer for longer storage (up to three months). You can reheat the soup in the microwave or in a sauce pot over medium-low heat, stirring often.

Overhead view of a pot of creamy lentil vegetable soup
Close up side view of a bowl of creamy lentil vegetable soup.
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Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup

This Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup is a medley of colors, flavors, and textures all in a hearty and inexpensive bowl. It's vegan, too! 
Course Dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine American
Total Cost $9.19 recipe / $2.30 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 522kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. mushrooms $3.98
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 3 carrots $0.57
  • 3 ribs celery $0.55
  • 1 yellow onion $0.37
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp rubbed sage $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary $0.05
  • 1 cup brown lentils $0.61
  • 3 cups vegetable broth $0.39
  • 1 13.5oz. can full-fat coconut milk $2.29
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Rinse the mushrooms to remove any dirt or debris, then slice them into thick slices.
  • Add the mushrooms to a large soup pot or Dutch oven along with the cooking oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all of their water and it has evaporated out of the pot.
  • Meanwhile, dice the carrots, celery, and onion, and mince the garlic. Add the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic to the soup pot along with the thyme, sage, and rosemary. Continue to sauté the vegetables until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the lentils and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir to combine, then place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to high. Allow the soup to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  • Once the lentils are tender, add the coconut milk, stir to combine, and let it simmer for another five minutes.
  • Finally, taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. We used about ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Enjoy the soup hot with bread for dipping!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 522kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 31g | Sodium: 1076mg | Fiber: 20g
Close up side view of a bowl of creamy lentil vegetable soup.

How to Make Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup – Step by Step Photos

Sliced mushrooms in a soup pot.

Rinse 16oz. mushrooms to remove any dirt or debris, then cut them into thick slices. Add the sliced mushrooms to a large soup pot along with 2 Tbsp cooking oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Sautéed mushrooms in the pot.

Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they’ve released all of their water and the water has evaporated from the bottom of the pot.

Chopped vegetables added to the pot.

While the mushrooms are sautéing, dice three carrots, dice three ribs of celery, dice one yellow onion, and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to the pot along with ½ tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp rubbed sage, and ½ tsp rosemary.

Sautéed vegetables and herbs in the pot.

Continue to sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

Lentils in the pot and vegetable broth being poured in.

Add one cup of uncooked brown lentils to the pot along with three cups of vegetable broth. Stir to combine.

Simmered soup in the pot.

Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high to bring the soup up to a boil, then immediately turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the soup simmer over medium-low for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Coconut milk being poured into the soup.

Add one 13.5oz. can of full-fat coconut milk to the soup and stir to combine. Let the soup simmer for an additional five minutes.

Finished soup in the pot with a spoon.

Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Remember, adding a bit of salt helps amplify the flavors in the soup. I added about ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.

Overhead view of a bowl of creamy lentil vegetable soup with a piece of bread.

Serve your delicious creamy lentil vegetable soup hot with some hearty bread for dipping!

The post Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Spiced Lentils with Carrots

These warm, sweet, and savory spiced lentils hold up well as leftovers and make the perfect cozy vegetarian meal prep.

The post Spiced Lentils with Carrots appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you’ve been hanging out with me for a while, then you know how much I love lentils. They’re cheap, easy to cook, and are a blank slate for flavor. This week I decided to take one of my favorite spice combos and add it to some lentils. Warm cumin, garlic, and ginger pair with the subtle sweetness of ginger, cinnamon, and carrots to create a complex flavor that is simply out of this world. Spoon these saucy spiced lentils over something starchy like polenta, rice, or mashed sweet potatoes and you’ll be in lentil heaven.

Overhead view of spiced lentils with carrots in a skillet

Spiced but not Spicy

These lentils are seasoned with a slew of warm, sweet, and savory spices, but they are not hot or spicy. I did add a ¼ tsp crushed red pepper to the mix which gives the back end just a slight kick, but I still wouldn’t consider it spicy by any means. If you do happen to be sensitive to spicy flavors, you can reduce or eliminate the crushed red pepper.

What Kind of Lentils to Use

This recipe is designed for brown or green lentils (not French green lentils, which take much longer to cook). This type of lentil cooks in about 20-30 minutes of simmering, does not require soaking, and they hold their shape when softened. I do not recommend red, orange, or yellow lentils for this recipe because they break down quickly when cooked and will leave you with something more like a mush or porridge.

How to Serve Spiced Lentils

You can serve these lentils in a bowl on their own with some crusty bread for dipping, or spoon them over just about any type of starch. I served mine over a cornmeal mush (like polenta or grits), but you could also serve them over rice, mashed white potatoes or sweet potatoes, farro, or any other grain that you might like.

Meal Prep It!

I think these spiced lentils would make a fabulous vegetarian or vegan meal prep. They’ll keep well in the fridge for four to five days and should reheat quickly in the microwave. They’ll also freeze well, so you can stock a few extra portions in your freezer!

Overhead view of spiced lentils over a bed of polenta
side view of spiced lentils on a bed of polenta

Spiced Lentils with Carrots

These warm, sweet, and savory spiced lentils hold up well as leftovers and make the perfect cozy vegetarian meal prep.
Total Cost $3.91 recipe / $0.98 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 about 1.25 cups each
Calories 314kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger $0.10
  • 4 carrots (about 2 cups chopped) $0.56
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp allspice $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1 cup brown lentils $0.67
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste $0.15
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots or raisins* $0.75
  • 3 cups vegetable broth $0.40
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional) $0.10

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, grate the ginger, and peel and dice the carrots.
  • Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and olive oil to a deep skillet. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about five minutes).
  • Add the diced carrots, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and crushed red pepper to the skillet. Continue to sauté for about two minutes more.
  • Next, add the uncooked lentils, tomato paste, and broth to the skillet. Stir until the tomato paste has dissolved into the broth. Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to high.
  • Allow the broth to come to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the lentils simmer in the broth with the lid on for 30 minutes, stirring only occasionally.
  • After 30 minutes the lentils and carrots should be very tender. Give the lentils a taste and add salt or pepper if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth, I did not add any).
  • Serve the spiced lentils with crusty bread for dipping, or over a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes. Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Notes

*Raisins are the more economical choice here (golden or purple raisins), but I happened to have dried apricots on hand so I used those instead of buying raisins specifically for this recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup | Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 851mg | Fiber: 18g
close up side view of spiced lentils in the skillet

How to Make Spiced Lentils with Carrots – Step by Step Photos

onion, garlic, and ginger in a skillet

Dice one yellow onion, mince four cloves of garlic, grate about one teaspoon fresh ginger, and peel and dice four carrots. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a deep skillet along with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

Carrots and spices added to the skillet

Add the chopped carrots to the skillet along with 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp allspice, and ¼ tsp crushed red pepper. Continue to sauté for about two minutes more.

lentils, tomato paste, and broth being added to the skillet

Add one cup uncooked brown lentils, 3 Tbsp tomato paste, and 3 cups vegetable broth to the skillet.

chopped apricots

Also, add ¼ cup chopped dried apricots or raisins to the skillet. If using dried apricots, chop them to about the same size as raisins.

Lid being placed on the skillet

Stir everything together until the tomato paste is mixed into the broth. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the lentils continue to simmer, with the lid in place, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Finished spiced lentils in the skillet

After 30 minutes the lentils and carrots should be tender. Give them a taste and add salt if needed. I did not add any, but depending on the salt content of your broth, you may need a bit to make the flavors pop.

Overhead view of spiced lentils over a bed of polenta

Serve the spiced lentils with crusty bread for dipping or over a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes. Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

spiced lentils in the skillet with a wooden spoon

Try These Other Delicious Lentil Recipes:

The post Spiced Lentils with Carrots appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

Hooray for easy soups! This Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup is the type of recipe that saves the day—very few ingredients, fast, and really delicious. Oh yeah, and did I mention how incredibly inexpensive it is?? Seriously, just pennies per bowl. It’s also freezer-friendly, super healthy, just happens to be vegan-friendly, and you can […]

The post Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Hooray for easy soups! This Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup is the type of recipe that saves the day—very few ingredients, fast, and really delicious. Oh yeah, and did I mention how incredibly inexpensive it is?? Seriously, just pennies per bowl. It’s also freezer-friendly, super healthy, just happens to be vegan-friendly, and you can have fun customizing the toppings. It basically checks all my boxes! Bookmark this recipe for later because I promise it will become part of your regular rotation.

Originally posted 2-4-2016, updated 9-29-2021.

Four bowls of curried red lentil and pumpkin soup with bread and leaves scattered around the bowls

Have Fun with the Toppings

I just LOVE any meal where I can add toppings and this pumpkin soup is the perfect blank slate. Not that it’s not awesome on its own, it’s just that the flavors in this lentil and pumpkin soup are versatile and can handle being paired with all sorts of add-ins. So here are some ideas: go creamy with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream, spice it up with a few red pepper flakes or sriracha, toss in some crunchy pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or croutons, or sprinkle on a few sprigs of fresh cilantro. Or hey, DO THEM ALL. I won’t judge.

Can I Substitute the Pumpkin?

If you don’t have canned pumpkin, you can use about a cup and a half of mashed sweet potato or butternut squash in its place. Just make sure they’re really soft and well-mashed so there is no stringiness in the final soup. Oh, and speaking of that, you can take an immersion blender to the finished soup for a super silky finish if you’d like. Me? I prefer to have a little texture from the lentils.

Can I Use Brown or Green Lentils for Pumpkin Soup?

While you can use a different type of lentil, it will definitely change the outcome of the soup. Red or yellow lentils are best for this soup because of their mild flavor and the fact that they break down quickly when cooked, giving the soup a nice thick consistency (like split pea soup). A brown or green lentil will give the soup a much earthier flavor and have a chunkier texture.

What Kind of Curry Powder Do You Use?

I’m not very picky about curry powder and haven’t come across one yet that I don’t like. I do prefer to use mild curry powder for this soup, that way I can adjust the heat by adding my own cayenne pepper if I want. One brand that I’ve enjoyed is Sharwood’s mild curry powder. Or you can try making your own curry powder using this recipe for Easy Homemade Curry Powder from Spiceitupp.com.

close up of a ladle full of lentil and pumpkin soup

A spoonful of lentil and pumpkin soup being lifted from the bowl

Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

This Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup is super fast and easy, and will keep you warm from the inside out on chilly fall evenings!
Total Cost $3.39 recipe / $0.57 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 1.33 cups each
Calories 175kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.31
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.10
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder $0.30
  • 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée $1.05
  • 1 cup dry red lentils $0.67
  • 6 cups vegetable broth $0.78
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a large pot with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the curry powder and continue to sauté for about a minute more.
  • Next, add the pumpkin purée, lentils, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot and bring the soup up to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
  • Finally, taste the soup and add salt to taste (about ½ tsp). Serve hot with bread for dipping!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.33cups | Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1141mg | Fiber: 12g

Love savory pumpkin recipes? You should also try our Spicy Coconut and Pumpkin Soup, Chipotle Pumpkin Pasta, or Easy Pumpkin Soup.

A spoonful of lentil and pumpkin soup being lifted from the bowl

How to Make Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup – Step by Step Photos

Onion, garlic, ginger, and oil in the pot

Dice one yellow onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and grate about 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger (I use a small-holed cheese grater). Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

curry powder being added to the soup pot

Add one tablespoon curry powder to the sautéed vegetables and continue to sauté for one minute more.

pumpkin, lentils, and broth added to the soup pot

Next add 1 cup uncooked red lentils, 1 15oz. can of pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling), and 6 cups vegetable broth. Stir to combine the ingredients.

cooked lentil and pumpkin soup in the pot with a spoon

Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the soup up to a boil. When it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes the lentils should be broken down and tender, resulting in a thickened soup.

Finished lentil and pumpkin soup in a pot with a ladle

Give the soup a taste and then add salt. Salt is what is really going to make the flavors pot, so don’t skip it! The amount of salt you’ll need will ultimately depend on the salt content of the broth you used, but I added about a ½ teaspoon of salt.

Four bowls of red lentil and pumpkin soup

Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup - BudgetBytes.com

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Tomato Lentil Soup

There’s nothing quite like the smell of a pot of soup simmering away on the stove top when it’s cold and blustery outside. This tomato lentil soup is full of vegetables and herbs for a simple, flavorful, and warming winter soup.

The post Tomato Lentil Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a pot of soup simmering away on the stove top when it’s cold and wintry outside. The smell alone warms me from the inside out. This week I was craving a simple vegetable forward soup, so I whipped up this really easy Tomato Lentil Soup. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers for days, sometimes with a grilled cheese on the side. :)

Tomato lentil soup in the pot with bread and vegetables on the sides
Garnished with a little fresh parsley for visual appeal.

What Does Tomato Lentil Soup Taste Like?

This soup kind of tastes like a traditional vegetable soup, but with a slightly more tomato-y broth, plus a little earthiness from the lentils. It’s super hearty and comforting, which is exactly what I love about a good bowl of soup in the winter!

What Kind of Lentils Should I Use?

Lentils can be confusing, especially since there isn’t a lot of consistency in labeling in the United States. I used a basic brown lentil, which has a drab brown-olive color and cooks with about 20 minutes of simmering. Sometimes these lentils are labeled “green lentils” sometimes just “lentils” so to be sure you have the right kind, check the cooking instructions on the package. It should say to simmer for about 20 minutes, not 45 minutes.

I do not suggest using a red, orange, or yellow lentil for this soup because they break down too easily and you’ll end up with something more along the lines of a lentil porridge than a lentil soup. :) (It would probably still taste good, though!)

How are the Leftovers?

One of the reasons I love soup is because they almost always make great leftovers, and this soup is no exception. The leftovers will stay good in the fridge for about 4-5 days, or you can freeze it for longer storage. I always suggest dividing the soup into single portions just after cooking so it cools down more quickly in the refrigerator, which will give you more longevity with the leftovers. Once cooled you can transfer some to the freezer for later!

A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side
A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side

Tomato Lentil Soup

This tomato lentil soup is full of vegetables and herbs for a simple, flavorful, and warming winter soup. Makes great leftovers!
Total Cost $4.74 recipe / $0.79 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 1.5 cups each
Calories 279.58kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 3 carrots $0.42
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 russet potato (about 1 lb.) $0.60
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.10
  • 2 15oz. cans stewed tomatoes $1.18
  • 1 cup brown lentils $0.67
  • ½ tsp paprika $0.10
  • ½ tsp dried basil $0.10
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 4 cups vegetable broth $0.52
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce $0.12

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and slice the carrots (I like smaller pieces for this recipe, so I do a quarter round slice). Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and olive oil to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the oniosn are soft. While the vegetables are cooking, peel and dice the potato into ½-inch cubes.
  • Add the tomato paste and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the cubed potato, stewed tomatoes (with juices), paprika, basil, oregano, pepper, and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on top and allow the soup to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the soup simmer for about 40 minutes or until the lentils are super tender and have begun to break down slightly (this helps thicken the soup).
  • Add the soy sauce to the soup, then give it a taste and adjust the salt if needed (the total amount will depend on the salt content of your vegetable broth). Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 279.58kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.58g | Protein: 12.17g | Fat: 5.65g | Sodium: 1148.67mg | Fiber: 7.48g
Close up side view of tomato lentil soup in the pot

How to Make Tomato Lentil Soup – Step by Step Photos

Onions carrots and garlic in a soup pot

Dice one onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and slice three carrots. I like to do smaller pieces of carrot for this soup, so I cut the slices into quarter rounds. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium until the onions are soft. While the carrot and onion are sautéing, peel and dice one russet potato into ½-inch cubes.

Tomato paste added to the soup pot

Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste and continue to sauté for a few more minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.

Potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, seasoning, and broth added to the pot

Add the cubed potato, two 15oz. cans of stewed tomatoes (with juices), 1 cup lentils (not cooked), ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp pepper, and 4 cups vegetable broth.

Soup in the pot before simmering

Stir everything to combine. Place a lid on top and bring the soup up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft and have begun to break down a bit.

Finished tomato lentil soup

After simmering the soup, stir in 2 Tbsp soy sauce. Taste the soup and adjust the salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth. I did not add any in addition to the soy sauce).

front view of a bowl full of tomato lentil soup

Serve hot with some crusty bread for dipping! (I garnished with a little parsley for color, but it’s not needed to flavor this soup.)

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