A staple recipe in our family, this inexpensive yet flavor-packed Red Lentil Pumpkin Soup is my go-to recipe whenever I have to feed a crowd. It feeds a ton of people and even tastes better the next day as leftovers!
This red lentil soup is everything you'd want in a fall meal: it's hearty, creamy, full of plant-based protein and DELICIOUS! It was inspired by the most amazing soup my sister-in-law made for us way back in the day, which I ended up putting my own spin on by adding pumpkin.
Why I Love This Recipe!
- This soup requires one pot to make. Hello easy clean up!
- It tastes better the longer it sits in the fridge, making it a great meal-prep option.
- Paired with some crusty bread, it makes for a hearty, balanced meal full of veggies and protein.
- This Red Lentil Pumpkin Soup can easily be doubled to feed a crowd!
- While this recipe is the perfect vegan soup for fall, I'd eat it all year round.
- Lemon juice brings this soup to life. Please, do yourself a favor, and don't skip the lemon juice!
- Tomato paste - buy a tube of this and it lasts forever in the fridge!
- Cayenne or chili powder - I love a kick to my food, but you can omit this all together!
- Vegetable broth - to make this recipe even cheaper, I love to use veggie bouillon cubes instead of a carton of vegetable broth.
- Pumpkin - look for pre-cut pumpkin (or butternut squash, which would work fine too!) in your produce or freezer section to make this recipe super simple.
- Red split lentils - I love to buy red split lentils from my local Indian market.
- Lemon juice - don't leave this out! Adding some acid from lemons is really what makes the flavors in this soup pop!
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions & Variations
- Split red lentils are great for this recipe as they cook really quickly, but you can also use whole red lentils. You'll just need to add a little extra liquid and some extra cooking time. I personally don't use green lentils in this dish as they change the texture and flavor of the dish AND take a lot longer to cook.
- If you don't have lemons on hand, try to add either lime juice or apple cider vinegar. The acid really enhances the flavors in this soup.
- Any kind of hearty squash should work find for this recipe, such as butternut or acorn squash. If you like a smooth soup and plan to puree the entire batch, you could even used canned pumpkin or butternut squash puree.
- I personally love when this soup has some texture so I only puree half of the soup, but you can make it completely smooth by fully pureeing the soup, which may be more kid-friendly.
How to Make Red Lentil Pumpkin Soup
Step 1: Preparing all the vegetables. Chop up your onion, mince the garlic and cut the pumpkin and carrots into small cubes.
Step 2: Heat a little oil or water in a large pot and sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. Next, Add in the tomato paste and spices and stir everything to coat. Allow the spices to cook for a couple minutes to bring out the flavor.
Step 3: Stir in the vegetable broth, water, cubed pumpkin and carrot and red split lentils and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot and allow the vegetables and lentils to cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
Step 5: Squeeze in the juice of ½ a lemon (plus more to taste--I add lots!). Taste the soup and add more salt if desired.
Step 6: Scoop the soup into bowls and garnish with more lemon juice, chopped cilantro, and freshly ground black pepper. For a little kick, add red chili flakes as well!
- I actually love to make this soup the day before I want to serve it. The extra time in the fridge makes this soup taste even better. Your friends will all want the recipe!
- Serve this soup with some Homemade Italian Bread or Crusty Whole Wheat Artisan Bread to amp up the "wow" factor.
- After your portion the soup into bowls, squeeze a little more fresh lemon juice over the top to really bring out those flavors.
Thanks to the lemon juice, this soup should last about a week in the fridge.
This soup makes for a great freezer meal. Simply place the cooled soup into a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Lime juice, apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar make great substitutes for lemon juice.
More One-Pot Soup Recipes
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.
Red Lentil Pumpkin Soup (Vegan and Gluten Free )
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of cayenne or chili powder optional
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups finely cubed pumpkin
- 1 large carrot chopped
- 1 ½ cup red split lentils
- juice of ½-1 lemon or to taste
- cilantro for garnish
- In a large pot over medium heat sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil or water until soft.
- Add in the vegetable broth, water, pumpkin, carrot and red split lentils lentils. Bring everything to a simmer, then partially cover the pot and turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils and pumpkin are soft, about 15 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
- Squeeze in the juice of ½ a lemon, plus more to taste, and add more salt if desired.
- Serve hot, topped with fresh cilantro, black pepper and more lemon juice!
- Definitely don't skip the lemon juice at the end of this recipe. Lemon juice brightens up this simple soup and makes it delicious!
- Red split lentils are what I usually use because they cook very quickly, but you can also use plain red lentils. You'll just need to add more liquid and cook the soup longer.