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Hearty Brown Rice Lentil Soup

$5.25 Recipe/$1.31 Serving

Brown rice lentil soup is the ultimate comfort food that is so easy to make and uses ingredients you likely already have in the pantry and fridge. This vegan rice and lentil soup is gluten free, dairy free and so simple to make.

Ladle in a bowl of lentil brown rice soup.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Satisfying meal: The simple ingredients come together to create a warm, delicious and super satisfying meal. Great for lunch or dinner, this healthy lentil and rice soup uses ingredients you likely already have on hand and requires minimal hands-on time.
  • Budget friendly: the ingredients of this soup are very inexpensive, and this soup makes a large batch of soup (10+ cups). You could stretch this soup even further by adding an additional cup of lentils
  • Great for leftovers: this lentil soup reheats well and can even be frozen to enjoy later. Be sure to add extra water or broth when reheating, as the rice and lentils tend to absorb liquid and thicken the soup as it sits in the fridge.
  • Easy to double or triple for parties or guests: This would be great for feeding guests an inexpensive but hearty meal or served as an appetizer for parties.
Ingredients to make brown rice lentil soup.
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Ingredients

  • Onion, celery, carrots – these are a very traditional base of vegetables for soup that add flavor, texture and color to the soup. This is called a mirepoix.
  • Brown (or green) lentils – lentils are hearty and inexpensive and easy to cook with. No soaking is required, making these easier to work with than dried beans. I do not recommend using red lentils, as they cook they tend to get very mushy and would change the texture of the soup.
  • Brown jasmine or basmati rice – you want a rice that cooks in about the same time as the lentils. Brown jasmine rice or brown basmati rice cooks in about 30 minutes and is perfect for this soup. If you are using a traditional brown rice, you may need to simmer the soup for 10 more minutes.
  • Water + vegetable broth (or stock) – this combination provides flavor from the broth (or stock) but also helps keep the recipe budget friendly by using 1/2 water. Vegetable broth (or stock) can help infuse a lot of flavor into quick cooking soups, so I would not recommend using all water if possible.
  • Spices – salt, dried thyme, garlic powder and bay leaves – these help to give the soup lots of flavor without overpowering the soup.
  • Veggies – frozen peas and frozen spinach – adding frozen veggies at the end helps make this soup even heartier and helps to increase the veggie content of the soup. You can use whatever your favorite vegetables are here, but I always seem to have frozen peas and spinach on hand so that is what I used.

How to make lentil rice soup

  1. Start by dicing the onions, slicing the carrots and chopping the celery.
  2. Preheat a large pot over medium heat. Spray with avocado oil or olive oil spray (or add about 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil to the pot). Add the veggies and cook about 5 minutes. The onions should start to look transparent.
  3. While the veggies are cooking, rinse the rice and lentils in a mesh strainer to get any excess starch off the rice and any dirt off the lentils. Be sure to do look over the lentils to make sure there are no small rocks or debris.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the frozen peas and frozen spinach.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium high and cover the pot. Bring the pot to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer, covered for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes of simmering, remove the lid and add the frozen veggies. Turn off the heat. Let the veggies defrost and allow the soup to cool slightly before serving.
Steps on how to make lentil brown rice soup.
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Top tips

Use green or brown lentils. Red lentils get too mushy when cooking and will change the texture of the soup. You could also use French green lentils which retain their shape a bit more when cooking than green lentils.

Be sure to rinse the lentils and brown rice. Rinsing the rice ensures that you get any excess starch from the rice. Pick through the lentils and check for small rocks before rinsing.

To ensure that everything cooks in the same time, use brown jasmine rice or brown basmati rice. Regular brown rice may need 10 more minute of simmering, which could make the lentils overly mushy. White jasmine rice or white basmati rice will be fully cooked before the lentils are cooked so may get mushy when cooking together.

Be sure to simmer with the lid on top or the water will evaporate too much when cooking, and the soup will turn into a thick stew. If this happens, just add more water or broth. Taste again for seasoning if you have to add more water.

The lentils and rice absorb liquid as they sit in the fridge, so you will need to add water to the soup before reheating.

Bowl filled with lentil brown rice soup.

What other vegetables could you add to this soup?

  • Can of diced tomatoes + 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (helps to cut the “canned” tomato flavor)
  • Frozen, fresh or roasted bell peppers
  • Thinly sliced zucchini
  • Mushrooms (add these when you are sauteing the rest of the veggies before adding any broth).
  • Fresh parsley

Common questions

Can you use cooked rice in this soup?

Yes, if you have leftover rice, you can add it to the soup in the last 10 minutes of simmering the lentils. You would only need 6 cups of liquid instead of 8 if you already have cooked rice.

1 cup of dry brown jasmine rice makes approximately 3 cups of cooked rice. You would want to add about 3 cups of cooked rice to the simmering soup to replace the 1 cup dry in the recipe.

Can you used cooked lentils (or another cooked bean)?

Yes, if you have cooked lentils (or want to use cooked beans instead of dried lentils) add them in the last 10 minutes of simmering the soup. You would only need 6 cups of liquid instead of 8 since you have already cooked the lentils.

1 cup of dry lentils makes about 2 cups of cooked lentils. You would want to add 2 cups of cooked lentils (or another cooked bean) to replace the 1 cup of dry in the recipe.

Do you need to cook the rice or lentils before adding them to the soup?

No, this recipe is written to cook the lentils and rice together in the broth on the stove. That is why you bring the soup up to a boil, then simmer it. If you have cooked rice or lentils, see tips above.

What if you want to make a thinner soup?

This soup is quite thick and hearty. If you prefer a thinner soup, you can add more liquid. You could use water, vegetable broth (or stock) or a combination of both to thin out the soup. Be sure to taste the soup for seasoning if you add any additional liquid.

Can you double this recipe?

Yes, you can easily double the recipe if you have a large enough pot. You don’t have to do anything differently to the recipe to double it.

How to make this soup even more budget friendly?

A big portion of the expense for this soup comes from buying store bought vegetable broth. If you make you own vegetable broth from leftover veggie scraps (you can store them in your freezer until you are ready to make broth). The homemade broth is made with mostly leftovers or scraps you would have otherwise thrown away, making it almost free.

Ladle full of soup over a white pot.

Storage

  • Fridge: Store extra soup in the fridge for 4-5 days in a well sealed container.
  • Freezer: Store extra lentil rice soup in the freezer for up to 5 months. To make it easier to get out just one serving of soup at a time, I recommend freezing the soup in 1-2 cup portions. I use my Soupercubes for this. Once frozen, you can pop them out of the silicone and right into a freezer safe bag. Be sure to label the bag with the name of the soup, the date, and the best by date.

Substitutions

  • Mirepoix vegetables: If you don’t have onion, celery or carrots, you can simply omit them. You could use shallots, red onion or green onion in place of the onion. You could use parsnips (peeled) in place of the carrots.
  • Green lentils (brown lentils): If you don’t have dried lentils on hand, you can replace them with cooked beans instead. See the notes above with how to modify for cooked lentils.
  • Brown jasmine rice (or brown basmati rice): These cook at the same time as the lentils, helping make the soup the perfect consistency. If you have a white rice, you may find the rice gets a bit mushy by the time the lentils are done cooking (check the soup after 15 minutes of simmering). If you have a longer cooking rice like brown rice, you will need to simmer the soup 10 more minutes which could make the lentils a bit mushy.
  • Vegetable broth (stock): This keeps the recipe vegan and vegetarian friendly. You could also use chicken broth or stock in place of the veggie broth. The broth helps to make the soup taste like it’s been simmering all day so I recommend using broth or stock if you can.
  • Garlic powder: You can omit the garlic powder or use fresh garlic in place of garlic powder. You would want to use 2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped, added to the mirepoix to sauté before adding the liquid.
  • Dried thyme: If you don’t have dried thyme, you could also use Italian seasoning, dried parsley, dried basil or dried rosemary. You can also use fresh thyme in place of dried thyme. You will want 3 times more fresh thyme than dried.
  • Frozen peas and frozen spinach: You can use your favorite veggies here or omit them completely. Use whatever you have on hand.

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Brown rice lentil soup in a white bowl with spoons on the side.

Hearty Brown Rice Lentil Soup

$5.25 Recipe/$1.31 Serving
Hearty brown rice lentil soup is easy to make and the perfect lunch or dinner recipe. Naturally gluten free, vegan and dairy free this soup is budget friendly and so filling.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brown rice lentil soup, Lentil Soup
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Chop the veggies.
  • Place a large soup pot over medium heat. Spray with avocado oil (or olive oil spray) or add 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil. Add veggies to the the pot and cook 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the dry lentils, brown rice, water, vegetable broth, bay leaves, dried thyme, garlic powder and salt. Stir well
  • Cover the pot and allow to come up to a boil.
  • Lower the heat to low, and let simmer, covered for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, add the frozen spinach and frozen peas. Stir well.
  • Serve immediately

Notes

Can you use cooked rice in this soup?
Yes, if you have leftover rice, you can add it to the soup in the last 10 minutes of simmering the lentils. You would only need 6 cups of liquid instead of 8 if you already have cooked rice.
1 cup of dry brown jasmine rice makes approximately 3 cups of cooked rice. You would want to add about 3 cups of cooked rice to the simmering soup to replace the 1 cup dry in the recipe.
Can you used cooked lentils (or another cooked bean)?
Yes, if you have cooked lentils (or want to use cooked beans instead of dried lentils) add them in the last 10 minutes of simmering the soup. You would only need 6 cups of liquid instead of 8 since you have already cooked the lentils.
1 cup of dry lentils makes about 2 cups of cooked lentils. You would want to add 2 cups of cooked lentils (or another cooked bean) to replace the 1 cup of dry in the recipe.
Storage:
  • Fridge: Store extra soup in the fridge for 4-5 days in a well sealed container.
  • Freezer: Store extra lentil rice soup in the freezer for up to 5 months. To make it easier to get out just one serving of soup at a time, I recommend freezing the soup in 1-2 cup portions. I use my Soupercubes for this. Once frozen, you can pop them out of the silicone and right into a freezer safe bag. Be sure to label the bag with the name of the soup, the date, and the best by date.
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
448
Fat
 
4
g
Carbohydrates
 
81
g
Fiber
 
21
g
Sugar
 
7
g
Protein
 
25
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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