Lentil Rice Soup

Packed with exciting flavors and easy to make, this hearty lentil soup will warm you up and fill your body with goodness.  

This hearty lentil soup is made with humble pantry ingredients, it’s packed with exciting spices, and it comes together in less than an hour. Rice and lentils are paired with a mix of carrots, celery, and onions into a flavorful tomato broth, while lemon juice and fresh parsley add a refreshing touch.

What goes in Lentil Rice Soup, ingredients, and substitutions

Aromatics: onion, celery, carrots, and garlic add flavor 

Red Lentils: any type of lentils will work. I used red lentils to give the soup a nice color, but they tend to turn mushy. To avoid this, add the lentils after the rice is half cooked. Keep in mind that red lentils cook anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes, while rice cooks in about 20 minutes. If using green or brown lentils, add them simultaneously with the rice.

Tomato Paste: adds flavor and color. You can also used diced tomatoes or tomato sauce.

Spices: cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, thyme, bay leaf make this soup stand out.

Rice: I like to use white starchy rice such as arborio as it renders a creamier broth, but any type of rice that cooks in 20 to 30 minutes will work. Other types of rice substitutions that would work great in this recipe would be barley or whole wheat orzo.

Broth: vegetable broth, chicken broth, or even water work well here. The soup is fragrant from all the wonderful spices, so don’t worry if you don’t have any broth on hand.

Extras: kale, spinach, fresh coriander would be great additions. Chorizo would be great, too!

How to make Lentil Rice Soup

Sweat your veggies: start by sautéing the onion, celery, carrot, then add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, without browning.

Cook tomato paste and spices: add tomato paste and cook for a few minutes, until slightly caramelised, about 2-3 minutes. Then add your spices and cook for another minute.

Cook rice and lentils: add rice and stir in the broth or water. Simmer until rice is half-cooked, then add red lentils and cook until soft. If using green lentils, add them together with the rice. TIP: if you are looking for a creamier textured soup while still trying to keep the lentils from turning mushy, quickly puree 2 cups of soup with a hand blender.

Season and garnish: stir in a squeeze of lemon juice (optional) and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes, Tips and FAQ

Should lentils be hydrated before use? There is no need to hydrate lentils. They cook quite fast compared to other legumes such as chickpeas or beans.

Could I use canned lentils for this recipe? Yes, you can. Just add them once the rice is mostly cooked.

Could I use leftover cooked rice for this recipe? Yes, you can. You want to add the cooked rice as soon as the lentils are soft.

What if I don’t have smoked paprika? Smoked paprika delivers a delicious, subtly smoky flavor. You could replace it with chipotle powder, which has a smoky base, but keep in mind that it is a hot spice. Sweet Hungarian paprika is an excellent replacement, it has a mild flavor and great color, but it is not smoky. TIP: a non-vegetarian smoked paprika replacement can be chorizo. Simply add 1/2 to 1 cup chopped chorizo and saute it with the veggies.

Lentil Rice Soup

Recipe by SabineCourse: SoupsDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Rice and lentils are paired with a mix of carrots, celery, and onions into a flavorful tomato broth, while lemon juice and fresh parsley add a refreshing touch.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 large carrot, diced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 cup tomato sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sweet or 1/2 teaspoon
    hot smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/2 cup rice (arborio, basmati or wild rice), rinsed.

  • 1 cup red lentils (or green)

  • 8 cups vegetable broth or water (1900 ml)

  • juice of 1 lemon (to taste)

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • For garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley or coriander


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook for less than a minute, stirring constantly to avoid browning.
  • Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, then add sweet smoked paprika, turmeric powder, thyme, and ground cumin. Quickly mix together and add rice, then vegetable broth or water and bay leaf. (if using green lentils, add them together with the rice)
  • Bring to a boil, then turn heat to medium-low. Cook until rice is half cooked (around 10-15 minutes, depending on the rice used), then add red lentils and continue cooking until lentils are soft (5-10 minutes). If using green lentils, simmer until rice and lentils are throughly cooked.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings, garnish with fresh chopped parsley or coriander and serve.


  • Storage instructions: Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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