The Best Lentil Soup. Let me introduce you to the most traditional Bulgarian lentil soup which we call “supa ot leshta.” The word “leshta” in Bulgarian means lentils, and this dish is one of the most beloved soups in every Bulgarian home. There is simply nothing more comforting than coming home from work, and enjoying a nice bowl of this healthy, comforting meal. This soup and recipe has been in my family for generations. When I was a little, this is all my parents would feed me. It also happens to be the most delicious lentil soup in the world which is also incredibly easy to make. It’s a one-pot meal and a hug in a bowl. This recipe is actually completely plant-based if you omit the bacon which we often do, so feel free to adjust and make it accordingly to your liking.

The Best Lentil Soup

The Modern NonnaThe Modern Nonna
This recipe is actually completely plant-based if you omit the bacon which we often do, so feel free to adjust and make it accordingly to your liking.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 3


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 3 slices of cubed bacon leave out for a vegan option
  • one finely diced onion
  • 2 small finely cubed carrots
  • 1 finely chopped celery rib
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dry oregano
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup of dry lentils soaked in water for 60 minutes
  • 1 cup plain tomato sauce
  • 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 3 cups water
  • handful of fresh chopped parsley


  • Soak 1 cup of lentils in four cups of cold water for a minimum of one hour. Rinse and drain.
  • In a big pot on the stove, add the oil and finely chopped bacon. Let it crisp up on medium heat. I like to discard 3/4 of the oil once the bacon is cooked and leave a little in the pot before adding the onions but feel free to leave it if you wish.
  • Add the finely diced veggies (onions,celery,carrots) and sauté for a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic, and stir. Add oregano, salt, pepper, and paprika, to taste. You can always taste and adjust for salt as you cook. Sauté the garlic for one minute, add the tomato paste and stir.
  • Add the strained lentils to the pot along with the tomato sauce. Add the vegetable broth and water. Let it come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the lentils are soft. This should take 35-40 minutes.
  • When the lentils are cooked, take the pot off the heat, add a handful of finely chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy



If you are Bulgarian and know what “Chubritza” is, please feel free to add it in as this herb is traditional to this soup. Chubritza in Bulgarian translates to dry savoury in English.
Leave out the bacon if you are vegan or cannot eat bacon and simply proceed to sautéing the onions, celery, and carrots.
You can also add kielbasa in lentil soup as we often do in Bulgaria instead of bacon or simply leave out any meat for a plant-based option.
You can use all unsalted vegetable stock or all water. I like to mix both and add half and half but feel free to make it any way you like.
I prefer green or brown lentils for this recipe as it’s traditional but any you enjoy will work.
If you find that the soup is too thick, you can always thin it out with more unsalted broth or water.
Soak the lentils for a minimum of one hour to overnight in cold filtered water. Drain before adding in the soup.
Our Italian tomato sauce only has tomatoes, salt, and basil in it but feel free to use any clean tomato sauce you like. I will link the recipe to our traditional sauce here.
You can absolutely freeze this soup, but be mindful it will thicken as it cools and sits. You can always add more broth or water to thin it out.
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Thank you for bringing me into your kitchen <3

14 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    So good!! Thanks for the recipe.
    I used chicken broth, because I didn’t have vegetable broth and it is absolutely delicious! Will make this soup again. 🙂

  2. Made this recipe tonight and added a few more vegetables I had on hand, and used the meat from one spicy chicken sausage instead of bacon. It was AMAZING! Seriously one of the best soups I’ve ever made. I’ve been searching for a tasty lentil recipe and this hits the mark! Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    I made your lentil soup tonight and my husband loved it. I will definitely be making it again as it came together so quickly and was so delicious . I prepped the veggies, and measured out the spices into a small bowl while the lentils soaked. We had ours with some orzo and toasted homemade bread. Thanks for sharing

  4. love the soup, made it couple times and it’s on a rotation to make always at home, i do add potatoes (cubed up). just wanted to check, when adding lentils it can be either the orange or the greens ones?

  5. I love your chicken soup with hidden veggies (it’s my husband’s favourite!) but this one is so good. I’ve tried many lentil soup recipes, but for me this one is the best! Definitely going into my regular soup rotation!

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