A protein-packed lunch recipe

As the days seem ever colder, you might be seeking a new and delicious recipe to warm you up. The good news is that it’s officially soup season! So if you’re searching for a simple, low-cost but protein-packed vegetable soup that will be loved by all the family, look no further! This red pepper, lentil, and tomato soup recipe is vegan-friendly, uses inexpensive ingredients (that you likely have in your cupboards already), and is an excellent source of fibre, protein, and iron. 


Whether you’re working from home or in the office, this soup is perfect for meal prepping. Simply portion it into containers and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days, or longer in the freezer. Heat it in the microwave or on the hob, toast some sourdough bread, and you’re good to go!

Red pepper, lentil, and tomato soup

Serves 4

  • To prep: 10 minutes
  • To cook: 30 minutes


  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 cup roughly chopped kale (or spinach or any other leafy green)
  • 1 cup of dried red lentils
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (be sure to check the ingredients to ensure it is veggie/vegan friendly!)
  • 700ml water
  • 400g tin of chopped/diced tomatoes
  • ½ tbsp mixed herbs
  • ½ tbsp paprika (or smoked paprika, if you like that smokey taste)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Sliced sourdough bread (toasted)

This red pepper and lentil soup is one of my go-to recipes to recommend to clients, as it combines some of my favourite characteristics: it’s low-cost, rich in protein, and batch-cooking friendly!


  1. Prep the pepper, onion, garlic and kale. Set aside.
  2. In a pot, rinse and drain the red lentils in cold water to remove debris.
  3. In a large pan on medium heat, add a splash of olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté the onion until soft and slightly browned.
  4. Add the garlic and paprika to the onions. Cook for 2–3 minutes until fragrant.
  5. Dissolve the stock cube in 700ml of boiling water. Set aside.
  6. To the pan, add the diced red peppers. Cook for a further 2–3 minutes.
  7. Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, and mixed herbs. Pour in the vegetable stock, stirring well.
  8. Keep the heat on medium–high to return to a boil, and then reduce the heat and cover.
  9. Stir occasionally (every 5 minutes or so) and check after 15–20 minutes. Tip: the soup is ready when the lentils have just started to lose their bite.
  10. Stir in the chopped kale. Leave on low heat for a further 2 minutes before moving the pot contents to a blender. Blend the ingredients until your preferred texture.
  11. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  12. If using, serve with a slice of toasted sourdough bread! 

The healthy bit 

When it comes to nutritional value, this recipe has so many bases covered, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan. Red lentils provide a high-quality source of plant-based protein, plenty of iron, and lots of fibre. Red peppers are loaded with vitamin C – to help with iron absorption – and kale provides an excellent source of vitamin K, manganese, and folate. 

Sourdough bread is a perfect accompaniment as it provides fibre, B vitamins, and healthy bacteria, and with a lower glycaemic index than your standard white bread, the starches will be absorbed more slowly, avoiding blood sugar spikes! There’s no nasty stuff either, with this wholesome soup being cholesterol-free, low in fat, and containing no added sugars.

I love a recipe that is not only delicious and full of nutritional value, but practical, too. It’s really easy to make, so even the most inexperienced home cook should have no problem whipping it up in under 45 minutes. Not only that, but the ingredients are all fairly cheap, and readily available.

Additionally, this soup provides 3 of your 5 fruit and vegetable portions for the day. What’s not to like?

This article was published in Happiful Magazine (Issue 81). You can order print copies online, or read the e-magazine for free on the Happiful app

Looking for more inspiration? Visit our Recipe hub.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Holywood, BT18 9QY
Written by Matthew Ferguson, BSc (Hons), MSc Human Nutrition
Holywood, BT18 9QY

Matthew Ferguson (BSc (Hons) MSc Human Nutrition) is a personal nutrition consultant, with a special interest in vegetarian and vegan health and nutritional supplementation for health and performance.

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