Smokey Red Lentil and Chorizo Soup

Updated 3rd Jan 2023

Hearty red lentils, spicy chorizo, fragrant sweet smoked paprika give this filling soup its layers of warmth and smoky flavor. The perfect soup for any weeknight. This smokey red lentil soup recipe is so hearty and delicious, naturally gluten free and easy to make vegan. Red lentils are so easy to cook. They cook in no time as well. They don’t take nearly as long as the other varieties of lentils and they require no pre-soaking. They also cook right down to almost a creamy purée. Just like the other varieties of lentils, although small they are mighty in nutritional value. They provide excellent amounts of minerals, B-vitamins, they are also a great source of protein and fiber. They are very filling and from a frugal standpoint are very inexpensive. So all in all they are a great food to include in your weekly roundup. This soup is a great meatless Monday/vegetarian option too. Just omit the chorizo and use vegetable stock or water instead of chicken stock. Hope you enjoy this simple soup that packs lots of nutrients and flavours all in one bowl.

Smokey Red Lentil and Chorizo Soup

I got this recipe from a soup book called Hearty soups. Great little book that I think was gifted to me a long time ago. I have been making this red lentil soup for a long time too even before I ever made or tasted dal with red lentils, an easy Indian inspired dish which i first tasted when I moved to Trinidad. More on that fabulous recipe on another post. This red lentil soup has a different flavour than that dal. The paprika gives it a nice smokiness and it also has a lot of garlic and ginger in it too so it is not lacking any flavour at all. I have adapted the original recipe because I like to add in some pumpkin too and a little cayenne for a little heat as well.

Smoky Red Lentil Soup Ingredients 

  • Red Lentils - or yellow lentils are what I use for this recipe because they are both fast cooking - other types of lentils will not work in this recipe as they will not cook as quickly 
  • Carrots, Celery & Onion - my favourite base soup trifecta that adds loads of flavour to the broth/soup
  • Garlic & Ginger - use as much or as little as you prefer according to taste 
  • Squash, Pumpkin or Sweet Potatoes - these add some hearty goodness and some sweetness to the soup - they are optional but recommended 
  • Spices - I use paprika, and some cayenne but I love this with a blend of some ground cumin, turmeric or even your fav curry powder for a curried version. Of course I season with salt (kosher salt or sea salt) and pepper to taste as well. 
  • Broth/Stock - feel free to use chicken stock/broth to vegetable broth for a vegan version 
  • Herbs - I like to garnish or stir in some fresh parsley or cilantro and you can even squeeze in a little lemon juice or garnish with some lemon zest for a tangy finish 
  • Chorizo - I love to fry up some chorizo - whether it’s the dry cured version or fresh sausage (this is totally optional but the sausage adds a lot of flavour to the soup) Feel free to substitute with bacon (and more on this in recipe notes below - but feel free to cook sausage before adding soup ingredients or after as pictured - either or is fine)

Smokey Red Lentil and Chorizo Soup

Red Lentil Soup Variations:

  • Add some coconut milk to finish off at the end for a creamy version 
  • Add a handful or two of chopped baby spinach for some added nutrients and greens 
  • Make it vegan by omitting the chorizo or bacon and using vegetable broth 
  • Stir in a tsp or tablespoon of tomato paste for a bit more flavour before adding the broth 

How to Make Red Lentil Soup - Simple Instructions:

  1. Sauté the veggies 
  2. Add the lentils and spices 
  3. Add the broth and cook lentils until creamy and veggies are softened (25-30 min estimate) - puree some of it/all of it for a smooth finish or leave as is 
  4. Sauté the chorizo or bacon if using (leave out if making this vegan) and then serve crispy chorizo over soup with drizzles of the smoky chorizo oil (See recipe notes about starting recipe with this step for adding extra smokey flavor to your soup) 

Storage and Freezing

  • Storage - Leftovers will keep refrigerated for 5 days in an airtight container 
  • Freezing - Red lentil soup can be made ahead and frozen. Cooled soup can be transferred to freezer-safe containers and frozen for up to 4 to 6 months. Allow the soup to thaw completely in the fridge and reheat over the stove, adding additional broth or water if necessary.

Smokey Red Lentil and Chorizo Soup

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Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins


  • 4 tbsps of olive oil divided
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 1 large carrot sliced
  • 1 celery stalk sliced
  • 1 cup of cubed pumpkin, squash or sweet potato (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1½ cups of red lentils rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 4 cups or more of chicken broth or vegetable broth (plus more depending on your preference of soup thickness)
  • 200 grams thinly sliced dry-cured chorizo (or bacon), approx ¾-1 cup, leave out for a vegan version 
  • 1 small bunch of parsley for garnish or fresh cilantro 


  1. Reserve 1 tbsp of oil to fry up chorizo. Heat the rest of oil in a large sauce pan or large pot over medium heat and add onion, carrot, celery, and pumpkin if using to sauté until softened, approx 8-10 min
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another 1-2 min until the garlic is nice and fragrant
  3. Stir in cayenne and paprika and then add in lentils and stir well for them to get well coated with the flavourings.
  4. Add the stock and bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer until lentils are tender, approx 25-30 min. They will turn into a purée and the pumpkin will also melt away into the soup (you can also purée some of the soup for a smoother creamier texture using and immersion blender or regular blender) Add in extra stock or boiling water to adjust the thickness of soup to your liking. For thicker soup use less liquid. 
  5. Meanwhile add the reserved oil to a pan and fry up your sliced cured chorizo until crisp on both sides 8-10 min over medium-high heat( if using raw sausage or bacon - pan fry the whole sausage until cooked through, allow to cool slightly and slice it once it’s cool enough to handle) Reserve oil from pan.
  6. Plate your soup, drizzle some of the remaining oil in pan from frying the chorizo on top, sprinkle some of the chorizo on top along with some fresh parsley and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • You can also fry up your chorizo first in your soup pot, remove it from pan with a slotted spoon when it’s cooked. Then cook the veggies in the chorizo drippings for a smokier flavoured soup. Either way is fine you just won’t have reserved chorizo oil to drizzle over soup after. If using the drippings you do not need to add the olive oil to pot to sauté veggies with.
  • You do not need to add the pumpkin or Squash to the soup. This is optional. It adds a nice sweetness to the soup that we love but if you prefer to not add it or you don’t have any, feel free to leave it out.

Smokey Red Lentil and Chorizo Soup