Filling and nourishing, this hearty cauliflower lentil soup is a delicious meatless recipe, perfect for the cold months of soup season. Tender cauliflower, nutritious lentils, the magic trio of onion, carrot and celery, tomatoes and spinach cooked in a broth seasoned with fresh herbs. So good!
Why you'll love this recipe
- This cauliflower lentil soup is filled with nutrient-rich ingredients. Cauliflower, carrots and all the veggies in this recipe are rich in vitamins and minerals, lentils are an excellent plant-based source of protein, fiber and iron. This vegetarian soup is also low in calories. Filling, nutritious and delicious!
- It's easy to make, and budget-friendly. All the ingredients are affordable and easy to find in grocery stores. A great satisfying, balanced meal for the whole family. And it's a great soup for meal-prep like this chickpea soup, lemony white bean soup, and broccoli zucchini soup.
- This recipe is versatile and can be customized to your taste. You can easily switch up some of the veggies, add chicken, some heat if you wanted, different spices and herbs, you can really make it your own.
Key Ingredients and variations
- Cauliflower: I use 3 to 4 cups of florets which is the equivalent of a fresh medium cauliflower. The florets are not too small but not too big.
- Lentils: I use dried brown (or green) lentils for this recipe. I buy them at the bulk section of my grocery store. Make sure to rinse them well under cold water before cooking. They cook pretty fast, 20 to 25 minutes. If you want to use already cooked lentils, add them at the end of the cooking time for only 5-10 minutes to heat them thru. If you want to use red lentils, keep in mind that they cook faster.
- The magic trio onion, celery and carrots. The base of a many soups, they bring flavor and texture. Dice them small for this recipe.
- Tomatoes: I use canned "petite" diced tomatoes, as I prefer the smaller dice but you can use regular diced canned tomatoes or even crushed tomatoes. I haven't tried, but I think even fire-roasted diced tomatoes would be excellent in this lentil soup. Don't drain them, put it all in the soup.
- Aromatics: garlic of course, as well as garlic and onion powder, fresh thyme and fresh rosemary, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Keeping it simple here but you can absolutely add other spices you love, different herbs, some heat with red pepper flakes, cayenne or hot sauce. This soup is very customizable.
- Broth: to keep this recipe vegetarian (vegan actually), use vegetable broth but you can use chicken broth too if you prefer.
- Spinach: adds some extra vitamins. You can substitute it with kale, it'd need to cook a few minutes longer than spinach.
How to make this cauliflower lentil soup
- You'll need a heavy bottom pot like a Dutch oven or large pot with a lid to make this recipe.
Rinse the dried lentils under cold water.
Heat up olive oil, add onion, celery and carrots, and cook stirring often for 5 minutes.
Then add minced garlic, and cook for about 1 minute.
Then add the garlic and onion powder, diced tomatoes, dry lentils, herbs and broth. Bring to a low boil, cook for about 5 minutes.
Then add the cauliflower and bring to low boil again. Cover the pot and simmer on medium low-heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until the lentils and cauliflower are tender, stirring from time to time.
Add the spinach, cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes. Then serve and top with fresh parmesan. Enjoy!
If you love cauliflower try these!
- Cheesy Roasted Carrots and Cauliflower
- Smoked Cauliflower
- Potato Cauliflower & Leek Soup
- Hachis Parmentier (French Cottage Pie)
- Chickpea Soup
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 5 days, or freeze in portioned freezer safe containers for up to 6 months. Let the soup cool down completely before freezing. Reheat the soup leftovers in the microwave for 3-4 minutes or on the stove until warmed thru.
- Don't overcook the cauliflower. You want it to be tender but still with a little bite so it doesn't get mushy. Use the tines of a fork to test.
- Garnish your soup with fresh parmesan, fresh parsley, green onions, sour cream or hot sauce. Serve your soup with crusty bread or croutons if you wish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely. Use an immersion blender, and blend a little bit of the soup before serving to make it creamier or use cream, half and half, or extra cheese if you wish. You can also blend the whole soup or keep it chunky.
We use brown or green dried lentils for this recipe. Red lentils work too but they cook a little faster so add them to the soup a tad later. Already cooked lentils shouldn't be added to the soup until close to the end of the cooking time just to get warmed thru.
Cauliflower Lentil Soup
- large pot with lid like a Dutch oven
- wooden spoon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ yellow onion finely chopped, about ½ cup
- 1-2 carrots diced, about ½ cup
- 2 stalks celery diced, about ½ cup
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon salt more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary or ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 cup dried lentils brown or green
- 1 14.5 ounces can petite diced tomatoes not drained
- 8 cups broth low-sodium chicken or vegetable
- 3-4 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 cups fresh spinach roughly chopped
- freshly grated parmesan
- chopped parsley optional
- Prep all the veggies by washing and chopping them. Rinse the lentils under cold water, then set aside.
- In a large pot, heat up olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add chopped onion, celery and carrots, reduce heat to medium, and cook stirring often for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.
- Add the minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
- Then add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, lentils, tomatoes and broth. Stir everything. Add the bay leaves, whole sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Bring to a low boil, then simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower florets, mix it in, bring back to a low boil by turning up heat, then reduce to medium and simmer the soup covered for 20-25 minutes until cauliflower and lentils are cooked thru and tender when poked with a fork, stirring a few times in between.
- Uncover the soup, add the spinach and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until welted.
- Remove from heat, remove the bay leaves, thyme and rosemary with a spoon or fork, adjust salt and pepper if needed. Serve, sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan and chopped parsley. Enjoy!
- Spices: feel free to add different spices to your soup. I love to use multi-purpose seasoning mixes for this kind of recipe.
- Broth: add a little more broth (or water) if the soup feels too thick to your taste.