Extra (Ap)petite // Nutritious Lentil Vegetable Soup

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JCF scalloped cami 00, fleece cardigan xs petite (similarsee it on me), Express jeans 00 short (similar here or here; see my review on their petite vs. short jeans)

I’ve been actively trying to incorporate more fiber (for digestive health) and leafy greens into my everyday diet, so this hearty, Instantpot-friendly lentil soup is a no brainer. Lentils are low in calories and fat, yet packed with good stuff like fiber, protein, folate, and iron. When simmered with veggies, spices, and a little (optional but highly recommended) chicken sausage, it yields this delicious 1-pot meal that also makes great leftovers (and freezes well)! Tip: I like using lidded mason jars to easily transport soup and stews for weekday lunches.

This is another recipe that you can easily customize by switching up the meat, broth, or the type of veggies (think diced celery, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc). Since I used store-bought chicken sausage and broth, the seasoning levels will vary compared to other types of meat or homemade broth. I always taste after simmering and add additional seasoning, if necessary.

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comfortable drape cardigan extra petite cooking post

Print Recipe
4.86 from 14 votes



  • 2 links of chicken sausage out of the casing* (optional) or about 1/2 lb of meat (I love using 1 link hot Italian + 1 link sweet Italian chicken sausage from the Whole Foods meat counter)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 can 14 oz crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups dry lentils** no need to soak beforehand
  • 2 to 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups homemade or a 32oz box low-sodium broth I use Pacific or Whole Foods low sodium beef broth for this soup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (but we like cumin so I'll usually do 1 whole tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika / red pepper
  • Salt & pepper at the end to taste
  • 1 package baby spinach
  • Juice of half a lemon; wedges for garnish


  • In a large pot, heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Lightly brown the chicken sausage (crumbled out of the casing, or chopped if your’e using pre-cooked chicken sausage). Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add in all the remaining ingredients except spinach and lemon juice. Stir well, then simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes until carrots are tender. (or, cook in an Instantpot in the soup setting for 20 minutes))
  • After simmering, add some salt & pepper to taste, if necessary. Stir in spinach and lemon juice at the end and immediately turn off the heat to avoid over-wilting the spinach. It might look like a lot at first, but a full package of spinach will mix in easily. Serve and enjoy!


*Since chicken sausage already has seasoning in it, if I'm omitting that ingredient then I'll increase the cumin, garlic, oregano, and paprika in this soup.
**Note: 1.5 cups lentils results in a thicker stew. For a soupier consistency, I reduce this to 1 cup dry lentils and add a little more veggies, if desired. 


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Let me know if you give this a try! I’ve been loving all of your Thai eggplant photos!

P.S. Lunar New Year is coming up – I’ll be making my shrimp & pork dumplings with garlic chive!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Lisa wrote:

    Ive tried this 2 times. Loved it both times but found that the lentils weren’t quite soft enough so the second time I tried it I used a slow cooker. I cooked the meat and onions and garlic as per instruction and then dump everything into a slow cooker on high for 3 hours. Delicious. Thanks for a great recipe

    Posted 1.1.23 Reply
  2. Sachiko wrote:

    5 stars
    Tried it tonight and LOVE it! I made it thinking my toddler might not like it, but he gobbled it up while saying “Yummy!”. Always makes me happy when he approves. I forgot the spinach so we’ll add that in next time we make it, which will be very soon! Thank you!

    Posted 2.4.21 Reply
  3. Yolanda wrote:

    5 stars
    I’ve been trying your recipes and they are great. I made the lentil soup today and it was delicious. Thank you and keep the recipes coming please. ☺️

    Posted 1.11.21 Reply
  4. Kylee wrote:

    Hi there! Can you please tell me where you purchased the spice separator dish from? This is such a great idea and would be so helpful when using several spices and not having to use several small bowls.

    Posted 11.16.20 Reply
  5. Pauline wrote:

    In case I don’t have diced tomatoes, can I use tomato sauce instead? 🙂

    Posted 7.1.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Pauline! I haven’t tried making it with just tomato sauce before, but I imagine it should add a similar flavor. Let me know how it is if you try it!

      Posted 7.7.20 Reply
  6. Valeri Pighini wrote:

    Jean. I’ve made this several times. It’s delicious!

    Posted 3.23.20 Reply
  7. Mara wrote:

    I meant *fool proof but it made me full too!

    Posted 2.16.20 Reply
  8. Mara wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    I was looking for a tasty and healthy soup and made this. This was amazing! So full proof too! Thank you for sharing ! Love it!

    Posted 2.16.20 Reply
  9. Joanne wrote:

    I absolutely love this recipe. I add 1 cup of dry white or red wine to mine (depending on what I already have opened) to give it a little extra flavor and add chilli flakes as I love spicy food! This has been a regular recipe in my household!

    Posted 5.16.18 Reply
  10. Happyricecooker wrote:

    Made it a few days ago and it goes so well with my low calorie diet but still needing some protein and iron!! This will definitely be a regular in the rotation! Thank you!!

    Posted 3.11.18 Reply
  11. Elaine W wrote:

    Thank you for sharing! It would be my first time cooking lentils. Would this recipe freeze well?

    Posted 2.25.18 Reply
  12. Kathleen Azzopardi wrote:

    Thank you for this recipe I just made it and it’s wonderful! Lots of flavor and love that lentils are so easy ( no need to pre-soak). Hope you are feeling well!

    Posted 2.21.18 Reply
  13. Shivenagi wrote:

    Hi Jean. The soup looks delicious. One quick question about your white dutch oven, it is the mate white or glossy white? Thanks

    Posted 2.18.18 Reply
  14. Erin wrote:

    Hey Jean!
    I love your post about the cami and of course I had to buy 2! I’m small chested/size 00 and I’m wondering what your go-to bra to wear with this cami?

    Posted 2.13.18 Reply
  15. stormio wrote:

    Hi Jean! Your eyelashes look amazing in this post. Are you wearing false ones or just mascara? If so, which brand? Could you please do some make up tutorials?

    Posted 2.11.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi there – I’m just wearing mascara here but it’s several coats. Lancome Hypnose Drama Waterproof is one of my favorites for my short and thin, stick-straight asian lashes. I curl them first and then apply the mascara in a strong upward-stroking motion to help keep the lashes lifted. The only downside is the waterproof formula takes a lot of patience to remove at night, so I don’t wear it on the regular.

      Posted 2.16.18 Reply
  16. Jessica wrote:

    This looks absolutely amazing!


    Posted 2.10.18 Reply
  17. Amelia wrote:

    Yum, this looks good! Will have to throw it into the weekly rotation to give it a try.

    Amelia | http://www.workandwhatshewore.com

    Posted 2.9.18 Reply
  18. Em wrote:

    I’ve never made anything like this, but it looks delicious — I’ll have to try it out!
    twenty ventures

    Posted 2.9.18 Reply
  19. Jandrew wrote:

    Happy Friday Jean . I’m not a cook but this recipe sounds easy enough for me. Wish me luck , I’m going to try it this weekend !
    Ciao for now
    Dress The Part

    Posted 2.9.18 Reply
  20. Definitely love a good warm soup for winter! Love the recipe!

    XOXO //
    SINCERELY OPHELIA | NYC Petite Fashion Blogger

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  21. Leslie wrote:

    Love the recipes!!! Also I was able to find your tank here: factory.jcrew.com/p/womens-clothing/shirts_tops/goingouttops/scalloped-cami-top/G3367?color_name=marine-salt 🙂

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Ah thank you!! I kept checking the page where I bought it from and it said sold out … so glad sizes are back in stock! Need to pick up multiple colors now since I’ve worn this one so much : )

      Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  22. Xtine wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your recipes! This one seems simple and delicious.

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  23. Jae wrote:

    I’m really into making soup! Thanks for sharing this recipe — I might make this this weekend with my leftover chicken broth. 🙂

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  24. Maureen wrote:

    This looks delicious and yummy. Love that it’s healthy and hearty!

    Maureen | http://www.littlemisscasual.com

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  25. Blonde Pow wrote:

    That recipe looks very delicious!.

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  26. Is there anything you dont do well ?!! 🙂
    Love this recipe and your easy vibe.

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  27. Little Contessa wrote:

    Do you have any thoughts about making this in an Instant Pot? I received one for the holidays and have been loving the ease of cooking & cleaning up when I use it. It’s especially great for lentils since the pressure cook option leaves them with a wonderful consistency. But stove top recipes usually have to be tweaked a bit for the IP.

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi there – I have an InstantPot as well and I think you can pretty much just follow the course of this recipe! If you’re using raw meat like the ground sausage, you can use the saute setting first and just lightly brown the meat with garlic and onion with a little olive oil. Then add in all the other ingredients (except spinach and lemon juice) and seal and pressure cook for about 15 … no more than 20 minutes.

      You can stir the spinach and lemon in after the pressure is released, and the soup should still be hot enough to wilt the leaves down without having to use the saute setting again. Let me know how it comes out if you give it a try!

      Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  28. Cathy wrote:

    I LOVE soups. Thanks for the recipes. Any tips on jeans that are more low waisted would be terrific. Love following you!

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Cathy! Gosh … I’ve been such a convert to high-waisted jeans I’ve barely looked at other alternatives! From my wardrobe though I do love J Brand cropped or ankle length jeans in their various mid to lower rises (sz 24 is almost always a good fit on me), and for a lower price point I like LOFT modern skinny jeans which are more mid-rise.

      Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  29. Sylvi wrote:

    In Greece we boil the lentils for 5 minutes , then strained them and we continue with the soup like you did.

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Is the pre-boil and straining to help clean / purify the lentils?

      Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  30. Anonymous wrote:

    Looks delicious and healthy!!! I’m definitely going to try that! Jean, I love your kitchen decor, can you please share more pictures of what your kitchen looks like?

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  31. Anonymous wrote:

    Soup looks awesome! So sad the fleece is sold out xsp. Looks so toasty and comfy! any others that you know of that are similar?

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi there – yes, the Bobeau fleece is very similar in style and fit! I’ve worn that one for years and still love it. I linked it right below the first photo as “similar” and also linked a post showing different ways to wear it.

      Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  32. Kitty wrote:

    Love this!

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  33. Michelle wrote:

    I saw you make this on stories, and have since made it quite a few times! It is easy and fast enough to make after work, and it’s flavorful and healthy. I’d say definitely don’t soak the lentils! Thanks for a great recipe,

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Michelle – I’m so happy to hear that! I always wonder if anyone makes the recipes from stories since I know the info is hard to save : )

      Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  34. Shloka wrote:

    This sounds like such an amazing soup to have especially in the winter!


    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  35. Omg, this looks and sounds absolutely delicious Jean! Thank-you for the great inspo!

    Have a great Thursday!

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  36. Mireia wrote:

    Absolutely love it!


    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  37. Elizabeth wrote:

    This looks delicious! <3 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this great recipe, Jean! Can't wait to try it this weekend!

    XO, Elizabeth

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  38. Shivenagi wrote:

    Thanks for sharing. For the skinny jeans, between this express one and the top ship Jamie High Waist Skinny Jeans, which one would you recommend better?

    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi there – so I usually take Express 00 short or 00 petite and a Topshop Jamie size 25 (sized up from a 24 from other denim brands). In comparison, the Topshop Jamie jeans are a little more restricting at the waist. They come up a little higher and run narrower at the waist than the Express ones. So if I’m feeling bloated or want to eat more comfortably, the Express ones are a better bet, but the Topshop jeans are definitely very flattering and slimming.

      Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  39. Love how healthy and nutritious the lentil soup looks. Perfect for winter! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this, Jean. And you look absolutely stunning as always! ❤️❤️


    Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  40. Jess wrote:

    I love lentil soup! I’ll have to try this recipe. I usually make a lighter version without the sausage, spinach, and tomatoes (like https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016062-red-lentil-soup-with-lemon), which is more similar to the traditional lentil soup from my husband’s country.

    Posted 2.7.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Jess – ah, I love NYT cooking posts! Thanks for sharing that version.

      Posted 2.8.18 Reply
  41. Sharni wrote:

    YUM this soup looks so delicious. Lentils are such a fab way to fill up too!

    Sharni xo

    Posted 2.7.18 Reply
  42. La Bijoux Bella | by mia wrote:

    Wowww 😳 This pot looks delicious. I love 💗 this recipe already. 💗👍🏼💗

    Posted 2.7.18 Reply
    • Erin wrote:

      Hey Jean!
      I love your post about the cami and of course I had to buy 2! I’m small chested/size 00 and I’m wondering what your go-to bra to wear with this cami?

      Posted 2.9.18 Reply
      • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

        If I’m wearing a cardigan that’ll cover up my shoulders and any bra straps, I just wear a regular bra! Otherwise my go-to for this top are the Bristol 6 adhesive “nippies” that I often post about!

        Posted 2.16.18 Reply
  43. Jewel wrote:

    Can’t wait to try this. We’ve been cooking so much that I’ve run out of almost every pantry staple (except dried beans) so I will make this soon. Just a tip, if you buy organic carrots you don’t have to peel them…a good wash will do! I had no idea lentils were a source of folate (I’m trying to get pregnant) so good to know! With your review of cast iron pots, I finally purchased a few of he Martha Stewart collection and have been having the best time making stews and soups this winter. Thanks for posting, Jean, as always 😊

    Posted 2.7.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Good to know – I avoid peeling / wasting anything unless I have to! And I’m so glad you like the Martha pots!

      Posted 2.7.18 Reply
  44. Jenn wrote:

    This looks delish! One question: why do you not soak the lentils? Curious as to how differently wet and dry lentils affect the recipe. My thoughts were that soaking them helps with digestion 🙂

    Posted 2.7.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Jenn! When I soak my lentils, it usually reduces the cooking time. I had soaked them once for this recipe and by the time the carrots were tender enough for me, the lentils had become pretty mushy. I think some soaking wouldn’t hurt but it doesn’t need to be for too long.

      Posted 2.7.18 Reply
  45. Briana wrote:

    Looks so yummy and filling!


    Posted 2.7.18 Reply
  46. Janet wrote:

    Thank you for your recipes.! The pictures are so pretty. I will definitely be trying this.

    Posted 2.7.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you, Janet … let me know how it comes out!

      Posted 2.7.18 Reply

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