Search

Easy Scottish Lentil Soup

 An easy, warming Scottish lentil soup. Filling and delicious.

Scottish lentil soup

EASY SCOTTISH LENTIL SOUP


Lentil soup is a classic Scottish soup made with lentils and basic Scottish vegetables.

It's standard fare in homes and you'll be offered it in cafes, pubs and bistros too.

The more basic the cafe, the less veg and thinner it will be, but it's always good despite it being a cheap option.


CHUNKY OR SMOOTH SOUP?


Scottish lentil soup is served either smooth or chunky, both versions are very popular.

I like to have hearty chunks of vegetables in my lentil soup, but many people grate the vegetables for a thinner soup or they blend it at the end.

I have to admit I'm happy to eat it in any shape or form, as long as it's veggie.


also try Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


a large glass jar of red lentils

RED LENTILS IN SOUP


Scottish lentil soup is made with red lentils, also known as masoor dal.

The melting and thickening properties of this lentil are why it's the perfect lentil for this soup.

As well as thickening soups, red lentils are great because they don't need to be pre-cooked, you can just rinse them, then throw them in. They don't take long to cook either.

They are also low in fat and calories, high in fibre and protein and they contain iron, potassium, folate and manganese.

All these qualities make it a good option when making a soup.


Turnip (also known as a neep in Scotland or swede in England)

IS IT A TURNIP, A NEEP OR A SWEDE?

It's all three!

IN SCOTLAND - It's called a turnip.

IN SCOTLAND - It's also called a neep, the Scottish name for a turnip.

IN SCOTLAND It's also known fondly as a tumshie, which is our nickname for it. Aye, we love our turnips. We also refer to someone daft or foolish as a tumshie.

IN ENGLAND - It's called a swede. Shortened from the original name, Swedish turnip (as they originally come from Sweden).

IN IRELAND -  They are called a turnip. Our celtic brothers and sisters have a lot in common with us in Scotland.

IN WALES - It is known by the names maip, rwden, erfin, swedsen or swejen, depending on the area.

IN PARTS OF AMERICA & FRANCE - It is called a rutabaga.


The humble turnip is a healthy brute. Full of fibre, vitamin A & C as well as folic acid.

And they are a right pain in the butt to peel and cut.

Can you believe, we used to carve them at Halloween instead of a pumpkin? Oh, I remember how hellish that was and the smell of the burning turnip from the candle.


vegetable stock cubes


NOT ALL LENTILS SOUPS ARE SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS OR VEGANS


If you're eating out or picking up a takeaway cup of lentil soup, do ask questions. Ask if it is suitable before you buy it.

Lentil soup is often flavoured with ham bone or ham stock.

My lentil soup is made with vegetable stock cubes, so it's suitable for vegetarians and vegans, but not all are, so be aware.


MORE RED LENTIL RECIPES FOR YOU TO TRY

Easy Spinach & Red Lentil Dal 

Red Lentil Pasta

Red Lentil Patties

Red Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Veggie Haggis & Red Lentil Nut Roast



Ingredients for Scottish red lentil soup

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE SCOTTISH LENTIL SOUP

You only need a few basic ingredients to make a hearty potful of Scottish lentil soup.


  • olive oil - or vegetable oil
  • onion - white or brown
  • garlic - this is not traditional but adds flavour
  • leeks - give those bad boys a good wash, they are dreadful for harbouring bits of earth and grit
  • carrots - you may grate these instead of dicing them
  • turnip - called swede in England, it's the one that's a big beast and hellish to cut, yes you know what I'm talking about
  • red lentils - rinse them well before adding
  • vegetable stock cubes - or other vegetable stock
  • salt & pepper - to season

WHAT ELSE CAN BE ADDED TO SCOTTISH LENTIL SOUP?


Every family recipe for Scottish lentil soup is slightly different. 

Some skip the leeks or the turnip or even leave out both. 

Some old-fashioned recipes flavour the soup with just salt and pepper and garlic would never be included.

Some add potatoes or barley to bulk the soup out.

The thing they all have in common is they all include cheap, seasonal winter vegetables that are basic crops in Scotland.



CAN YOU USE BROWN OR GREEN LENTILS TO MAKE SCOTTISH LENTIL SOUP?


There is an easy answer to that question.

No.

Red lentils turn to a soft consistency, which is what makes this soup so creamy and lush.

Green and brown lentils (puy lentils also) hold their shape. They would give you a completely different soup which is nothing like a Scottish lentil soup.



red lentil soup in a white bowl trimmed with blue



CAN SCOTTISH LENTIL SOUP BE MADE IN A SLOW COOKER?


This voluptuous soup is the perfect soup to cook in a slow cooker.

When converting a stove top soup to a slow cooker soup, the trick is to add a third less stock, as slow cooking in a slow cooker (crockpot) needs much less liquid as it doesn't burn away the same as it does on the cooker top.

As red lentils to absorb some of the stock I would perhaps add a quarter less. Just be that wee bit more generous.

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.


CAN SCOTTISH LENTIL SOUP BE MADE IN AN INSTANT POT OR PRESSURE COOKER?


Yes, it can absolutely be made in an instant pot or slow cooker.

I don't have an instant pot myself and remember the fear of my mum's rattling hissing pressure cooker as a child.

Just in case you do have one, I've taken advice from my blogging buddy Lucy over at Supergolden Bakes, who says to cook lentil soup in an instant pot or pressure cooker at high pressure, with quick release for 8 minutes.

Do pop over and have a look at Lucy's blog. She makes the most incredible cakes, including a few vegan cakes.

HOW LONG WILL SCOTTISH LENTIL SOUP KEEP IN THE FRIDGE?


You can store this soup in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Lentil soups have a tendency to thicken as they cool. You can add a little extra stock or hot water when you are reheating it.

WHY IS SECOND DAY SOUP SO GOOD?


This recipe makes a large pot of soup, so unless you have a very big family, there will be some left to enjoy on other days, saving you some time and effort for at least a couple of lunches or dinners.

Second-day soup is always so much tastier as all the flavours have had time to soak in and really develop.

I've even seen it offered on menus in pubs, cafes and bistros as second-day soup.

CAN SCOTTISH LENTIL SOUP BE FROZEN?


Scottish lentil soup can be frozen for 3-4 months.

Why not freeze it in portions in freezer bags (reusable bags are available these days), then you can just take out what you need.

To defrost, leave in the fridge overnight, then heat before serving. You can add extra water or stock if you think it needs it.


lentil soup served in a white bowl with a gold spoon on a pale blue linen napkin

POPULAR SCOTTISH RECIPES FOR VEGANS


These are the easy Scottish recipes that are popular with my friends, family and my readers.

  1. Rumbledetumps - a Scottish potato and cabbage pie
  2. Rumbledethump Pies - An invention of mine that celebrates the wonderfully named rumbledethumps
  3. Scottish Mushroom & Chestnut Pate - perfect on crackers or oatcakes, but good on a sandwich with salad too.
  4. Scottish Mushroom Stew - if you love mushrooms, you will adore this easy stew served on a bed of mashed tatties (potatoes)
  5. Scottish Potatoes Scones - better known as tattie scones in Scotland
  6. Slow Cooker Scottish Stovies - the ultimate comfort food that has become one of the most popular recipes in my Facebook group Living on the Veg.
  7. Yellow Split Pea Soup - split peas give a luxurious creamy soup in the same way that red lentils do
For more easy Scottish recipes that are suitable for veg lovers and those following a plant-based diet, check out my recipe index Scottish Recipes for Vegetarians and Vegans.


WANT NEW RECIPES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX?


Sign up for my Tinned Tomatoes newsletter for a selection of recipes delivered to your inbox each week or sign up for my email updates and don't miss out on the latest recipe. Check your spam folder they don't arrive.

Sign up for my Vegan Lunch Box newsletter for lunch ideas and recipes straight to your inbox when they are published.


pin it for later

Warming red lentil soup for winter lunches and dinners

Follow me on
 PinterestFacebookTwitter and Instagram

Join my Facebook group Living on the Veg? It's a very friendly community with lots of recipes and chat. I'm in there every day chatting to group members.

Remember and say hi. I'm always happy to chat and answer questions



HOW TO MAKE SCOTTISH RED LENTIL SOUP


Scroll down for step-by-step photos followed by a full printable recipe. If you don't have a printer, hit print and choose save as a PDF.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE, HIT THAT HEART ON THE RIGHT

Making Scottish Lentil Soup - Step 1 (onions, garlic and leeks in a large pot)

STEP 1


In a large pot saute the onion, garlic and sliced leeks in a little oil for a few minutes until softened.

If it catches a little on the bottom of the pan, you can add a splash of water.



Making Scottish Lentil Soup - Step 2 (carrots added to the pot)

STEP 2


Add the chopped carrots, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.



Making Scottish Lentil Soup - Step 3 (chopped turnip and red lentils added to the pot)

STEP 3

Add the chopped turnip (neeps) and the well-rinsed red lentils.

Stir well.



Making Scottish Lentil Soup - Step 4 (stock added)

STEP 4


Add the stock and cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables and lentils are soft.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

Scottish soup, lentil soup, red lentil soup, vegan soup, vegetarian soup, vegetable soup, low-calorie soup, low-fat soup, diet soup, filling soup, soup, Scottish recipe
dinner
Scottish, vegan
Yield: 6 - 8
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
Scottish Lentil Soup

Scottish Lentil Soup

A simple and hearty lentil soup from Scotland made with red lentils.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 50 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium to large turnip (also called swede)
  • 285 g / 1.5 cups red lentils (uncooked weight)
  • 1.7 litres / 3 pints / 6 cups vegetable stock (4 stock cubes)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic and leeks in olive oil for a few minutes until softened.
  2. Add the carrots and cook for another few minutes.
  3. Add the turnip and well-rinsed red lentils and stir well.
  4. Add the stock, stir and cook for 30 minutes on a medium heat until the vegetables and lentils are soft.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Notes:

You don't need to blend this soup as the lentils thicken it and make it creamy.

If you do prefer a smooth soup, you may find it is quite thick after you blend it. You can add some extra stock or hot water to thin it down a bit.

You can keep this soup in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

This soup can be frozen for 3-4 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Calories

157.74

Fat (grams)

3.12

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.58

Carbs (grams)

26.30

Fiber (grams)

6.36

Net carbs

19.94

Sugar (grams)

8.46

Protein (grams)

7.09

Sodium (milligrams)

2201.56

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Created using The Recipes Generator

19 comments

  1. We eat a lot of lentil soup in January when we want healthy and budget meals. This looks delicious and easy to make.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it's definitely a frugal and warming meal as well as super healthy.

      Delete
  2. I used lentils once in my life and did not like how the recipe turned out, but I am in love with your recipe. It sounds delicious. I am brave enough to give it a try! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh do try them again. It's about using the right lentil for the right recipe and adding lots of flavour. They are so good for you.

      Delete
  3. Lentils are really popular here in Italy especially at New Year. They say lentils bring prosperity so everyone eats them!!! I love the sound of this lentil soup! Funny how many names there are for Turnips/Swedes! I always thought they were 2 different root vegetables!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I must keep eating lots of lentils then haha. And yes we all have different names for the beast.

      Delete
  4. This lentil soup looks so hearty and delicious!! I can't wait to give it a try this weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love a good soup recipe around this time of year, and this one is right up my alley. I love how easy this is to make too! Bookmarked to make later, thank you so much for the recipe :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. To make a neep easier to use, microwave it for a few minutes. You'll have to let it cool for a wee while before you start peeling and chopping as it's very hot when it first comes out. I'm Scottish,and would never personally add garlic to lentil soup.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a brilliant tip. I'll try that and yes garlic is very much a personal choice and not traditional.

      Delete
  7. I made this last night Jacqueline (yes we call them swedes down here) and we both really enjoyed it. Heating up some for lunch today. Jill

    ReplyDelete
  8. I made it and it tastes so nice and full of flavour. It is very filling.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A great, comforting soup from my childhood that I still make from time to time. Just one caution though, neeps come in all shapes and sizes and one neep may be twice the volume of the next neep so maybe best to work out the ratios :) Thanks for the recipes, I'm off to have a wander down memory lane at some of your other ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Medium to large is fine. If you have a bit more or a bit less it will still be tasty. It's one of those casual recipes where there's lots of scope for variation in quantity. If it needed to be precise I would add in weights or cups I hope you enjoy it.

      Delete
  10. I made it today and thank you so much. It was so delicious that I almost couldn´t stop eating it!!!! Yummy yummy yummy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad you enjoyed it. It's very much a regular, every day type of soup here in Scotland but of course very tasty and healthy too.

      Delete

I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x