BeefBowlsChineseCuisineMainsMeatQuick & Easy

Beef & Lentil Soup

30 mins Cook
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NomNom Recipes 20 1

Here’s another ground beef recipe just for you – vegetable soup with lentils and beef! Adapted from my best lentil soup ever, with beef and Moroccan-inspired spices added for flavor, lentil soup can be boring…but not this one!

Healthy, hearty, economical and complete dinners. Oops……

Beef & Lentil Soup
Beef & Lentil Soup- NomNomWow

New beef mince recipe idea: Beef & Lentil Soup!

This is a hearty lentil soup with lots of veggies and beef comfort! Why don’t we use ground beef more often in soups? It’s convenient and economical, absorbs flavors and makes that hearty meal a breeze.

My favorite Wednesday night dinner!

I like to brown the beef with spices to add flavor, which then seeps into the broth.
So it was tastier than the usual lentil soups which are notoriously bland and bland

I like to add a bit of Moroccan flavor to it for extra interest. But there are so many possibilities to use everything you have! Curry, Greek, Italian, Mexican… I recommend it in the recipe!

What goes in Beef & Lentil Soup

Here’s what you need to make this:

  • Beef – ground beef/ground beef. Same thing, different names, depending on where you are in the world! You can use lean beef if you like, although the more fat the better the beef (since fat is actually where most of the flavor in any meat is). Substitute any other ground meat – pork, chicken, turkey or even lamb. All you have to do is adjust the amount of spice a bit – the whiter the meat, the more spice you’ll need (because ground meat has a more neutral taste since the meat doesn’t brown like the do whole chicken breasts);
  • Lentils – Dried lentils work well here because you get a bit more flavor and consistency from the sauce.
    But canning works just as well. Substitutes: chickpeas or beans!

You can use canned lentils if you like, but dried lentils are tastier and a bit thicker.

  • Onion and Garlic – basic and standard flavor base for soups;
  • Moroccan spices – here you can add any flavor you want! And it’s easy to figure out how much to use.
    Start conservatively, add little by little and taste, then keep adding as needed until it suits your taste. I keep the basic recipe simple by using a store-bought Moroccan spice blend as the main flavor, then liven it up with a little extra spice. See recipe note for list of suggestions – go global!
  • Canned Crushed Tomatoes – or Tomato Passata, known in the US as Tomato Passata (that’s Tomato Passata + a little flavor), or even my tomato pasta substitute for canned tomatoes, click here for recipe;
  • Beef Broth/Bouillon – Rich beef flavor. But vegetable or chicken stock/broth would be delicious here.
    For soups, I recommend buying stock in liquid form rather than using cubes or powder as the taste is cleaner and more natural. If you only have bouillon cubes or powder, this will work fine, but sauté the onions, celery, and carrots slowly longer. This will make a wonderful soffrito flavor base to offset. Instructions are in the cookbook;

Vegetables! Use 6-8 cups of whatever you want to cook well in a soup broth!
I have included an extensive list in the recipe notes. I usually start by adding veggies that can be simmered for up to 25 minutes at the start (eg carrots, celery), then add veggies that I want to keep greener and/or not mushy at the end ( for example, beans, zucchini). It also depends on how big you cut them – I cubed them so you get a little per spoonful.

How to make Beef Lentil Soup

And here’s how to make it:

  • First, mix the spices in a bowl – we’ll use some to brown the beef and some to flavor the broth;
  • Cook the onions, beef – sauté the onions and garlic (basic seasoning!), then the Beef is browned and shredded as you go (a flat-edged wooden spatula does this easily);
  • Spiced Brown Beef – add some spices and cook with the beef. Here we are adding a lot of extra flavor to this soup, so get those spices ready! Snack, make sure it’s tasty, and adjust as needed. Some of the flavors will seep into the soup, but most will stay on the beef;
  • Add everything – add vegetables which can be simmered for 25 minutes and all sauce ingredients (tomatoes, beef stock, water, remaining spices) and stir well
  • Simmer 25-30 minutes to soften lentils and break up the tomatoes to thicken the sauce.
    Tip: Older dried lentils take longer to cook, so very old ones can take 35 minutes. Add the quick-cooking vegetables halfway through cooking and according to the cooking time. After 15 minutes I added the diced zucchini and green beans – so cooked for 10 minutes. Cook them until tender and absorbing more than enough flavor in the sauce; and
  • Serve! Opting for a Moroccan twist for the base recipe, I ended up with a dollop of yogurt and fresh cilantro.
    I will post a list of suggested toppings for other spice blend combinations in the recipe card.

Why I love this Beef & Lentil Soup

This soup has so many benefits for me:

  • Quick to make with all the vegetables I have (great freezer cleanup dish!) and no need to cut the meat;
  • You can kapow it! Add spices according to your taste. It’s easy to understand: just add and taste, add and taste! As written, it’s just nicely spiced to give it some interest, but intentionally not spicy in your face (I save my real spice bomb for curries);
  • Very economical and versatile.
    Change the spices to your liking today!
  • 100% freezes perfectly and keeps for several days in the refrigerator; and
  • This is a complete and healthy meal: meat, starches and lots of vegetables. No need to make a separate side!
Beef & Lentil Soup

Beef & Lentil Soup

Here's another ground beef recipe just for you - vegetable soup with lentils and beef! Adapted from my best lentil soup ever, with beef and Moroccan-inspired spices added for flavor, lentil soup can be boring…but not this one!
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
30 mins
total time
40 mins




  • 2 1/2 tbsp Moroccan spice mix (store-bought) , any brand is fine,

  • I used this one1 tsp allspice (mixed spice will work too)

  • 2 tsp cumin powder

  • 2 tsp paprika

  • 3/4 tsp black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp salt (Note 2)

  • SOUP:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves , finely chopped

  • 1 onion , finely chopped (brown, white, or yellow)

  • 500g / 1lb beef mince (ground beef) (I use lean)

  • 1 1/4 cups dried lentils (or 2 cans, drained, Note 3)

  • 2 carrots *, cut into 1cm / 1/3” dice

  • 2 celery stalks *, chopped into 1cm / 1/3”pieces

  • 2 zucchinis *(small, or 1 large), cut into 1cm / 1/3” dice

  • 100g / 4 oz green beans *, trimmed, cut into 1.5cm / 1/2” pieces

  • 800g / 28 oz crushed canned tomato

  • 4 cups / 1 litre beef stock , low sodium (Note 4)

  • 3 cups water


  • Yogurt (plain or Greek)

  • 1/4 cup Coriander/cilantro leaves, or sliced green onions


Mix the spices in a small bowl.
Sauté Onion and Garlic: Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes, until golden around the edges.
Spicy Brown Beef: Heat over high heat, add beef and cook until no longer red, shredding as it cooks. Add 2 tablespoons of the spice mix and cook for another 2 minutes - it will smell delicious!
Carrots and celery: Add carrots and celery, then stir for 1 minute. (If using your own vegetable mix, add the vegetables at this stage, for a full simmer time of 25 minutes)
Prepare the sauce: Add the water, beef broth, canned tomatoes, lentils and the rest of the spice mixture. Stir and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low to simmer. The lentils take 25 to 30 minutes to cook until tender. Very old lenses may take 5-10 minutes.
Simmer for 15 minutes, then add the zucchini and green beans.
Simmer for another 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender (25 minutes total). Chapter
Serve! Taste and add more salt if needed.
Serve in bowls with yogurt and cilantro.


* Replace these suggested vegetables with 6-8 cups of vegetables that can be cooked. Add them according to their estimated cooking time. Plus, adding spinach, kale, or baby spinach at the end is a great way to add more greens and add some color. Spice Blend - Lots of possibilities here. Add little by little, taste while eating, it's easy to judge the quantity! I used a handy option of a simple Moroccan spice blend to spice it up with minimal effort. But a few other suggestions: Mexican - You can totally cheat and use a packet of taco seasoning (one packet is the perfect amount) or use a homemade taco seasoning recipe in this taco soup. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and grated cheese, nachos or warm tortillas. so good! Indian – Use a generous amount of your favorite curry powder (in sachets or mix to taste) and a sprinkle of Garam Masala for an even more authentic flavor! I would use at least 1 tsp curry + 1 tsp garam masala in the beef, then use the same in the sauce. Add paprika or cayenne pepper for the heat! Serve with yogurt and cilantro; Greek Style - double the garlic and add 1 tbsp oregano and 2 tsp ground fennel seeds to the beef. Follow the recipe as written and add the zest of 1 lemon + lemon juice at the end to taste. Dunk Pie! Italian - Add 2-3 teaspoons of the Italian herb mix to the beef, another teaspoon to the sauce and a pinch of chili flakes. Add 1/2 cup grated parmesan and a pinch of parmesan to finish. Serve with crusty bread. so good! Cajun - Uses a combination of premium Cajun spices! Add a tablespoon to the beef, then add more to the sauce - taste and simmer. Middle Eastern Shawarma - Make it yourself using the spice blend from the Lamb Shawarma and Chickpea Soup recipe. Salt - We start with a small amount and add more as needed because some Moroccan spice blends are salty and we don't want too much salt. Lentils - Use dried green or brown beans, or 2 x 14 oz/400 g cans (drained). For canned lentils, extend the simmer time by 15 minutes - they only need to soak in the sauce for 10-15 minutes (any longer and they get too mushy). Avoid Le Puy lentils, they keep their shape and do not soften like we want here! Chickpeas - Excellent substitute for, for example, chickpea soup with ground beef Shawarma with lamb. Beans will work too. Chickpeas and beans can be added at the start of cooking, using 2 cans (drained). Bouillon/Beef Broth – Use low sodium so you can control the salt in the soup yourself, especially since some Moroccan spice blends also contain salt. Bouillon cubes or powder can be used, but the taste is not as clean/pure. If you want to use it, we need to improve the flavor base as follows: Sauté the onion, celery and carrots together over medium-low heat for 8 minutes - this will make a good soffrito flavor base to compensate ; use 4 pieces or 4 tsp powder and 4 cups/1 L water (instead of beef broth). Storage – Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for 3 months. nutrients per serving, not including toppings.
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