Lentil Soup with Quinoa and Mushrooms

lentil soup with quinoa and mushrooms in a ceramic bowl with crusty buttered bread.
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Fragrant with fresh thyme and studded with earthy mushrooms, French green lentils—the “caviar” of lentils—lend a toothsome bite to this protein-rich, toddler-approved, vegan lentil soup with quinoa. A heady drizzle of balsamic vinegar to finish takes this kid-friendly soup from bib-fodder to black tie. 

Toddler-Friendly Vegan Lentil Soup—Yes, These Words Belong Together.  

Raise your hand if you know a tiny human that seems to prefer constant motion to mealtime! Oh, you too? This quinoa and lentil soup recipe was born out of one desperate mother’s desire to get a whole days’ worth of protein, veggies and fiber into her toddler, even if he would only take a couple of bites. Turns out, said toddler loves it and asks for “shoop” on the daily now! We can’t 100% guarantee that the tiny person in your life will love this soup, because—as we all know—life with little people is a total guessing game, and there are no guarantees of, well, anything. But, we CAN promise that if you whip up a big batch of this deliciously vegetable-laden, hearty French lentil stew, and your kids somehow don’t love it as much as ours do, you’ll be just as happy to gobble it up yourself because it’s extremely delicious. 

ingredients for lentil soup with quinoa and mushrooms in small bowls

Let’s Talk Lentil Soup Nutrition. 

The question isn’t “is lentil soup good for you?”—it’s “can a soup possibly be this healthy and actually taste good?”. The answer is a resounding yes! By pairing quinoa with protein-packed green lentils—which are themselves a good source of iron, potassium and phosphorus—in this French lentil soup recipe, we've created a nutritional powerhouse for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike! Rich in fiber, minerals, folate and thiamine (B1), quinoa is a gluten-free grain that also qualifies as a so-called "complete protein", meaning that it has all nine essential amino acids that the human body needs and cannot make on its own. In other words, quinoa is an excellent food to include in a vegan or vegetarian diet. A single bowl of this vegan lentil soup serves up a borderline ridiculous level of nutrition for bodies both big and small. In other words, eat up! 

How to Make Lentil Soup

As we mentioned, the impetus behind making this lentil soup recipe was to pack as much plant-based protein as possible into a bowl of simple-to-make (and, of course, good-to-eat!) soup. We wanted to cook up a big pot of easy lentil soup—something that ticked all of the health and nutrition boxes that we aim for—and have it on hand for lunches and last-minute dinners all week long. We started with a classic lentil soup recipe, and added a few flavor-boosting herbs and textural components to make it just a little more crowd-pleasing. Here’s how to make our healthy, vegan lentil stew: 

  1. Mirepoix. All great soups begin with some combination of aromatics, cooked with fat (butter or oil) and mirepoix is a classic French combination of onions, carrots and celery. Begin by cooking the mirepoix slowly in olive oil for at least 20 minutes. You’re going to want to hurry this along, but resist the urge! The onions, celery and carrots will cook together in the oil, softening and browning slightly, laying a foundation of flavor for your lentil soup. It’ll be worth the wait. 
  2. Boil! Pour in the tomatoes and vegetable broth, give it a good stir, and bring the pot to a rolling boil. 
  3. Add the lentilles du Puy (French lentils), the quinoa, and the mushrooms,  and simmer for another half an hour or so, until they’re cooked through.
  4. Serve! We like to finish it with a small drizzle of balsamic vinegar, which is a classic French way of serving lentils and adds a surprising amount of complexity to this already-delectable soup. 
large pot of french lentil soup with quinoa and mushrooms

Tools You’ll Need: 

Tools You’ll Need: 

ceramic bowl of lentil soup with quinoa and mushrooms with a side of crusty buttered bread

5 More Easy, Healthy Soup Recipes: 

Soup season is ON. 

So, Did Your Toddler (Or Kid, Or Spouse, Or Picky Friend) Approve?

May the lentil soup be with you! Snap a photo of your lentil soup with quinoa and mushrooms, and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproperand #themodernproper so we can celebrate your kitchen victories! . Happy eating!

Lentil Soup with Quinoa and Mushrooms

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil
3 cups french lentils (lentilles du puy)
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (cremini or shitake)
1 cup red quinoa (or other quinoa)
10 cups vegetable stock
4 carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
crusty bread for serving
parsley for serving

Method

  1. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium–high heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Let the vegetables cook until they soften and begin to brown, stirring occasionally—about 20 minutes.
  2. Add the stock and diced tomatoes with juice and bring to boil. When it comes to a rolling boil, add the lentils, quinoa and mushrooms.. Reduce heat to medium–low and simmer until the lentils are tender and the quinoa is cooked, about 35 minutes.
  3. Garnish with another drizzle of olive oil, black pepper and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (if desired).