Soup’s On! What to Serve with Lentil Soup
When you think of lentil soup, what do you picture?
Depending on where you’re from, you might think of the Italian-style version, loaded with spicy hunks of Italian sausage in the midst of a savory, thick broth with carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, and the star, lentils, of course.
There are so many different types of lentil soups out there though which makes it difficult to figure out what to serve with lentil soup.
Often, what to pair with lentil soup depends on HOW you’re making that soup.
Maybe you’re living a little and going with an Indian curry version.
Maybe you’re giving yours a nice Moroccan or Mexican twist.
Perhaps you want to go Greek and give it a squeeze of lemon and top it off with feta (it’s divine, trust us!).
You can make it Thai-style, add white beans and bacon, even succulent pieces of roast lamb.
And of course, you can make it completely vegetarian or vegan.
That’s what we love about lentil soup.
There are so many ways to make an extraordinary, healthy, protein-rich soup that eats like a meal any night of the week.
For a soup that’s been enjoyed since ancient times and is even mentioned in the Bible, it proves it’s worthy on any table.
So, what’s your lentil soup style?
No matter how your favorite lentil soup recipe is made, you certainly don’t want to just serve soup if you have guests coming or a big family.
But when it’s the main event, you need a side dish for lentil soup.
Our handy list of what to eat with lentil soup should have you covered no matter what style your recipe is!
What Goes with Lentil Soup?
Even if you make lentil soup sans meat, it’s a pretty protein-heavy soup.
That means your sides should be lighter in nature. We’ve gathered up our favorites to put on your table tonight!
1. Gorgeous Green Salads
Soup and salad are like the perfect couple.
No wonder you see soup and salad combos on restaurant menus everywhere!
When it comes to lentil soup though, you can feel free to explore the vast realm of fresh vegetables available to you.
Start with a fresh green salad base and add your favorite vegetables and toppings.
For an Italian-style lentil soup, a Caesar salad is a phenomenal match.
For something Asian-inspired, using a ginger-carrot dressing or topping it with edamame and sprouts can enhance your lentil soup.
Or you can mix and match. That’s the beauty of salad!
Our only rule when serving with lentil soup: use fresh ingredients!
2. Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins
Breads are also ideal with soups.
Largely because you can dunk them and sop up every last bit of soup with them.
We liked the idea of cornbread with lentil soup, particularly a version that is more American and European on the palate.
If you like your lentil soup with a little spice, adding jalapeno to your cornbread can kick the whole flavor profile up to a new level.
Not everyone wants to make cornbread the traditional way in a cast iron skillet though.
Maybe you don’t have one or maybe you just don’t want to do all that heavy lifting (we don’t blame you!).
You can make the whole thing super easy by using a muffin tin.
Plus, that crumbly texture and melding of sweet, savory, and spicy really won us over!
4. Addictive Carrot-Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
Keeping the meal vegetarian or vegan?
Or perhaps you want to add something with texture and crunch that draws out that Mediterranean vibe from your lentil soup.
We feel you.
We’re thinking something with carrots and pine nuts for crunch, a little quinoa, and a dressing made with lemon and tahini that begs you to lick the bowl.
This has the potential to steal the limelight (or in this case, lemon-light) from your lentil soup!
Good thing we found Alexandra’s awesome recipe at Alexandra’s Kitchen.
4. Cilantro Rice
With a soup as hearty as lentil soup, rice can round out the meal nicely.
We think it’s a totally fab setup if your lentil soup has Mexican or Tex-Mex flavors.
Adding rice to your table will definitely fill up the gang, but adding cilantro rice will make them even happier.
There’s just something about it that makes it more exciting than plain white rice, you know?
Perhaps it’s the pops of brightness from the cilantro.
Maybe it’s that hint of lime.
Whatever it is, put it next to your lentil soup and consider it gone!
5. Garlic Knot Pull Apart Bread
Since all types of lentil soup are savory, a garlicky side will definitely pair well.
But with the rustic feel you get from lentil soup, it’s nice to have something that you connect with at a primal level.
Something warm, soft, buttery, and with enough garlic to keep you safe from vampires.
We thought of garlic bread which would most certainly work with lentil soup, but why stop there?
Why not go with garlic knots? And better yet, why not make them pull apart to add to the fun?
Laura in the Kitchen had us drooling with her video that shows you how to make these heavenly knots of garlic!
6. Veggie Tartine
For something a wee-bit fancier for what to serve with lentil soup, add a French twist.
Tartine is what they call an open-faced sandwich.
That sounds so much lovelier, right?
It starts with a toasted bread vessel and then gets loaded up pretty much any way you desire.
Thinks microgreens, roasted vegetables, hummus, avocado, cherry tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of fresh-squeezed lemon.
Excuse us just a moment, we need to go make this as a snack right now!
7. Steamed Vegetables
Steamed vegetables are a reliable side for lentil soup whether you’ve got lots of people to feed or you have zero time to put dinner on the table on a busy night.
And you know how we love versatility here. With steamed vegetables, anything goes.
For a lentil soup with an Asian flair, top them with toasted sesame seeds before serving.
Fresh is definitely best, but if your vegetable crisper is looking a bit barren, try your freezer.
Even those steam-bags will do the trick.
The best part about steamed vegetables is that there are many combinations you can put together.
One word of caution: don’t overdo it or you’ll have mushy veggies!
8. Super Easy Wild Rice Mushroom Pilaf
Want to take a walk on the wild side for dinner time?
Then we definitely recommend shaking things up a bit and trying out wild rice.
The textures and flavors are unique and add a bit more mystique to your lentil soup meal.
Box varieties do exist, but do yourself a favor and get a real wild rice blend.
It’s so much better that way.
Adding mushrooms to it adds a little bit of a meaty flavor without adding meat.
And green peas and thyme bring it all together.
We could just recommend wild rice and leave it at that, but when we saw Shawn’s recipe at I Wash You Dry, we couldn’t wait to try it!
9. Rosemary Roasted Vegetables
Roasting vegetables gives it a completely different flavor.
If you’ve got about 30 minutes to kill, ideally while your lentil soup is simmering away, you can roast a tray of vegetables in the oven.
Potatoes or sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, even onions and garlic are beautiful options.
Adding an array of vegetables to roast on your baking sheet makes it a colorful presentation.
Cut down on oil by using a mister to coat your veggies in olive oil.
Top it with rosemary and a simple sprinkle of salt for the finish.
10. Spicy Grilled Eggplant
Eggplant is so underrated.
This pretty purple vegetable needs more love.
Grilling it is one of the best ways to bring out its flavor and give it a superb texture that’s crisp yet soft with a bit of char.
What we love most about pairing eggplant with lentil soup is that you can season it as you desire, though if you like spice, make it a spicy number.
Italian, Indian, Moroccan, or any style of lentil soup will absolutely shine next to this side!
11. Green Beans and Bacon
We’ve put a lot of focus on veggie sides for lentil soup.
Now we’re calling all bacon lovers!
If your lentil soup recipe is meatless and you’d like something with meat on the table, you can’t go wrong with bacon.
Put some green beans with it and you’re in business.
The bacon fat makes adds so much flavor to the green beans that even picky eaters will eat all their vegetables!
12. Tasty Meat Skewers
And finally, our last side for lentil soup is a meaty one perfect for gatherings.
When you have to please everyone, keeping your lentil soup meat-free is ideal.
But if you want to give your meat-eater guests more to bite off and chew, meat skewers are a satisfying and flavorful option.
They’re fun over the grill or you can make them in a cast iron skillet too.
Plus, you can use chicken, pork, beef, or lamb and have it work well with the soup.
Don’t leave out the vegetarians and vegans though…marinated firm tofu cubes are amazing on a stick.
Then again, isn’t everything?
What to Serve with Lentil Soup: The Inside Scoop
If it’s your first time making lentil soup, the general ingredients found in most recipes tend to contain carrots, onions, garlic, a can of diced tomatoes, stock (either chicken or vegetable), and of course, lentils.
Types of lentils
Green lentils are the most common to use in lentil soup, though you can experiment using brown, red, or even yellow lentils. The color of the soup will change accordingly.
Whichever color lentils you choose, he key to making sublime lentil soup is using the dry kind.
Yes, you can use the canned variety, but the texture isn’t as nice as dried lentils.
Plus, unlike other beans, you don’t have to soak lentils overnight.
They cook up in the soup and soak up all your flavors.
Spice is nice
You can make a basic lentil soup with the ingredients detailed above, but it won’t impress your taste buds.
We recommend you explore your spice options.
Bay leaves are wonderful for the flavors they add. Just remember to excavate them out of the soup before serving!
Oregano and basil give it more of an Italian flair.
You’ll want to add them if you’re making an Italian-style lentil soup.
Even if you don’t add sausage to it, it will have that rustic Italian feel to it in every spoonful.
You can use the dried varieties of herbs, though going with fresh makes more of an impact.
Topping each bowl with a basil leaf looks lovely too!
Curry powder can really change the feel of your lentil soup.
If you like experimenting in your kitchen, add it to your basic lentil soup.
We’d omit the can of diced tomatoes for that though!
Adding lemon makes it have a more Mediterranean/Middle Eastern flavor profile.
You may want to try using red lentils and topping it with feta cheese.
Fresh parsley on top will add a pop of green color when serving for something that almost looks to good to eat.
You can use your slow cooker
Another great thing about lentil soup is that it’s easy to throw everything into your slow cooker to come home to.
There’s nothing like unlocking your front door after a long day and being greeted with the heavenly aroma of soothing lentil soup.
All you need are your side dishes and you’ll be ready to serve dinner.
Put in the prep work…it’s worth it
The carrots, celery, and onions take on a new flavor profile when lightly sautéed before being thrown into the soup.
If you’re using meats of any kind in your lentil soup, you should brown them a bit too.
For the best taste with meats, it’s ideal to brown them up in your stockpot and cook the soup right in there.
You’re going to add more layers to the complexity of your soup.
Please meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters alike
Are you serving lentil soup to friends or loved ones that don’t eat meat?
You’ll want to be sure you use vegetable stock as your base.
But what if you have a mixed group of people eating at your table?
You have a couple options.
You can make a separate vegan/vegetarian-friendly lentil soup for those that don’t partake in meat while making one just for the meat-eaters.
You can serve up the meaty side suggestions we mentioned above like those green beans with bacon or meat skewers.
Or, you can live with making a vegan-friendly pot of your lentil soup while cooking meat add-ons to serve on the side that anyone can add into their bowl as they wish.
For example, with Italian-style lentil soup, you can brown up the sausage in a skillet and reserve it.
This way, the soup stays meatless unless someone desires adding it in.
You can do this with any kind of meat and be a dinner hero.
Selecting Your Sides for Lentil Soup
When you think of what to serve with lentil soup, it initially seems tricky, however, there are many ways to make it more of a meal.
If you’re only having a small dinner with your family, you may want to go with one of the salads and a bread option.
You can also throw in some rice for good measure.
But if you’re more guests dine for the evening, these easy sides can pretty much please any eater.
Most of them can also be tailored toward your flavors.
For example, simply changing the seasoning you use on one side can make it complement your style of lentil soup.
Creativity in the kitchen really brings out the best in us, and the best in our food.
One Last Lentil Soup Tip
Lentil soup also freezes very well.
Whether it’s just the two of you, a family of 4, or even more, you can make a bigger batch and freeze it.
On busy nights, simply heat up your lentil soup and make our lentil soup side suggestions to make a meal out of it any time!
Other side dishes for soups:
- See our list of potato soup side dish ideas
- Dive into some sides dishes for broccoli cheese soup
- Here are some chicken noodle soup sides to soothe your soul