The best canned lentil soup is soothing and comforting, and it doesn’t need meat to achieve this benevolent warmth. It’s gentle, but also boldly spiced and seasoned perfectly. The lentils should be firm but creamy and there should be, ideally, ingredients like lemongrass, garlic, pepper, or ginger to provide extra flavor. The best lentil soup exceeds all expectations, and proves that you don’t need beef to make a hearty stew.
I’m putting this best lentil soup taste test up there with the five most enjoyable tastings of the year. You might think that gorging yourself on Starbursts, Kettle chips, and chicken tenders is where it’s at, but truly all I want is some warm, comforting, good-for-the-soul soup. Lentil soup is true comfort food—move over lasagna and chicken pot pie. It’s simple, filling, tasty, and nutritionally fortifying. It had been so long since I’d had a good lentil soup that I truly was knocked on my ass by this taste test. As previously mentioned, I looked for big time flavor and creamy lentils, and these were the best cans of lentil soup that brought it all together.
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- Bare Bones Lentil Curry Plant-Based Soup
Bare Bones’ lentil soup is warm and inviting.It features such a lovely combination of lentils, vegetables, and spicy aromatics. It’s made with vegetable broth, green lentils, carrots, onions, diced tomatoes, pea protein, kale, lemongrass, and garlic. It’s also got some ground red pepper and black pepper. It’s very hearty, and the lentils are creamy and firm like a good legume should be. The lemongrass and garlic work in tandem to provide a pungent, citrusy punch that’s bold and bright. And the ground pepper adds that extra kick that lentils need. This is expertly spiced and seasoned food, which always wins out. Especially when we’re talking about the best lentil soup.
- Amy’s Lentil
We tried three different lentil soups from Amy’s. All of them were good, but this was the best Amy’s lentil soup. Ooh la-la, this is made with filtered water. Not sure if that makes a huge difference, but the soup is good. A lot of people hate on Amy’s or straight up don’t buy it, but for the sake of this taste test I’m only considering flavor. Amy’s classic lentil soup is made with green lentils, celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and bay leaves. It is, as the ingredients indicate, rather simple tasting, but it sticks the landing. Amy’s lentil soup is hearty, creamy, and salty. The celery flavor is most prominent, and celery is a taste that I associate with some of the most comforting foods like stuffing, chicken pot pie, and the like. This is how you prepare soup simply but wonderfully. Amy’s costs more, but I feel like the extra scratch is worth it. It’s close to the best lentil soup, just not the top spot. I’d buy it again.
- Amy’s Curried Lentil Indian Dal
This is Amy’s take on an Indian dal, so it’s got more of a split pea vibe to it rather than whole cooked lentils. Amy’s uses yellow split peas and green lentils for their dal, along with a lovely mix of spices. The ginger puree comes through with a strong flavor and adds to the whole “mashed” vibe of the soup. Also, the additional jalapeño provides some neat heat! I just think Amy’s soups are so well balanced. This has a ton of flavor and a ton of spice. I am actually genuinely surprised that a product labeled “Amy’s” has this much flavor. It doesn’t feel like a white lady made it! I mean that with all due respect to white ladies.
- Upton’s Naturals Crimson Lentil
Upton’s Naturals crimson lentil soup is subtle but spiced. The ingredients list ground ginger, garlic, black mustard seed, and onion for a delightful spice blend. The mustard seeds are aromatic and complex, and one of those ingredients I associate specifically with great Indian cooking. Off topic, but tasting anything with spices in it makes me regret my mostly white upbringing. I don’t even think I had ginger or even turmeric until I was like 26. I think I just lived off of deli sandwiches and pasta for my entire adolescence? Anyway, soup can have so much more flavor! Who knew? To me, the best canned lentil soups make good use of things like mustard seed, garlic, ginger, and curry-centric spices. Upton’s Naturals does that, so it belongs on this list of the best lentil soup.
- Amy’s Golden Lentil Indian Dal
What I love about this soup is how much they utilize carrots. Carrots, when cooked, offer such a lovely, vegetal sweetness that I think is hard to replicate. Personally, when I’m cooking a marinara sauce at home, I like to add shredded carrots instead of sugar to achieve a nice sweetness. Amy’s golden lentil Indian dal has split peas, red lentils, carrots, tomato puree, shallots, ginger, turmeric, organic olive oil, and sea salt. That’s a wonderful combination of ingredients, and the flavor is quite robust. It’s dal, so keep in mind it’s more on the smashed side of the cooked lentil spectrum.
Credit: Paula Kunatee / Vons
- Progresso Lentil
Progresso is pretty bland, but the lentils are quite big and hearty. Because of their size, they have a firm bite and a creamy, lucious interior. It’s just a few vegetables, lentils, and seasoning—but there is something delightfully simple and healthful about Progresso’s products. They aren’t overloaded with salt like other name brand soups, and I appreciate that. If you’re looking for the absolute best lentil soup, this ain’t it, but if you’re sick or watching your diet? Progresso is the move.
Best of the Best
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Other products we tried: Health Valley No Salt, Health Valley Organic, Maya Kaimal, Plant Strong, Dr. McDougall’s, Trader Joe’s Lentil Veggie.
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