You are here

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Lentils are high in protein and fiber, low in fat, and packed with folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. On top of all of their nutritional benefits, they cook quickly. So this is the perfect soup to make when you are in a hurry for dinner and you want something nutritious to eat. This particular lentil soup is like no other I’ve had before. A pinch of cayenne and chili powder gives the soup just the right amount of spice, and a vibrant splash of lemon is added at the end to perfectly finish the soup’s flavor.
Adapted from Melissa Clark's Red Lentil Soup with Lemon, published January 2008 in the New York Times



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chile powder
  • Pinch of cayenne, more to taste
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro



Step 1: In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
Step 2: Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper, chili powder, cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
Step 3: Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
Step 4: Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
Step 5: Stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.


Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.