Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

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This delightfully simple lentil soup is light and spicy with a bold red color. Best of all it is ready to enjoy in about an hour, with very little hands-on time. The lemon adds a delicious balance to the hearty cumin. Add parsley (dried or fresh) right before you serve for a pop of extra flavor and to add more color.

Serves 4 large bowls (2 cups) or 8 small bowls (1 cup)
Serving Size: 2 cups / 1 cup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 65 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (more to drizzle)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste, no salt added if available
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne (optional)
  • 1 quart (4 cups) no/low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • Juice of 1/2 lemons (more to taste and for garnish)
  • Parsley, dried or fresh, chopped (optional, for garnish)


  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion, celery, and carrots sauté until softened – about 5 minutes.
  2.  Add tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne if using. Sauté for 4 minutes more. You may need to reduce heat to keep from scorching.
  3. Add broth, 2 cups water, and  lentils.
  4. Partially cover the pot and turn heat to medium-low. Continue to simmer until lentils are soft (about 30 minutes). Taste and add salt if needed.
  5. Remove from heat and divide the soup in half. Use a hand blender, regular blender, or food processor  to purée one half of the soup. Add the puréed soup back to the pot and reheat as needed.  You can omit the blending step altogether if you like.
  6. Add lemon juice to soup and combine. Serve soup in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil.  Add parsley and lemon wedges for garnish.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
(Based on using low-sodium chicken broth)

  • Serving Size: 2 cups / 1 cup
  • Vegetables: 2 cups / 1 cup
  • Fruits: 0 cups / 0 cups
  • Calories: 316 calories / 158 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 42.8 grams / 21.4 grams
  • Fiber: 17.4 grams / 8.7 grams
  • Protein: 18.8 grams / 9.4 grams
  • Fat: 9.1 grams / 4.6 grams
  • Sodium: 713 mg / 357 mg
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

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