Red Lentil Soup

Red lentils turn into golden mush when cooked, but they taste divine, especially in simple recipes like this red lentil soup from Syria. Just a few ingredients bring out all the flavor you need for a hearty and delicious vegetarian / vegan red lentil soup.
Yield 6-8 servings
Time 1 hour
  • colander
  • pot or Dutch oven with lid
  • 2 wooden spoons
  • small frying pan
  • 2½ c red lentils
  • 10 c water
  • 2½ t salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 lemon*

Rinse the lentils thoroughly, and pick through to remove any pebbles or other detritus.

Place in pot with stock or water, bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add salt and continue cooking until thick – another 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in the frying pan, add garlic and cumin, and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add garlic mixture to the lentils, and continue simmering, partly covered, for another 10 minutes.

Cut the lemon in half and add the juice from one half to the soup.* Cut the other half into wedges for garnish.

Serve hot.


* The original recipe says to squeeze a few drops of lemon juice onto each spoonful of soup as you eat it, but I find this to be unnecessarily complicated – I just stir the lemon into the pot of soup right at the end. It also says to add 2 T of flour dissolved in 3 T water to the soup along with the garlic, but I don’t see any reason for this, so I leave it out.

Lentil soup freezes beautifully, especially if you save it into 1 serving containers. To reheat, put a bit of water in a pot, add the frozen block of soup, and cook over medium heat, stirring and flipping the block frequently. It will dissolve into the water within minutes.

This red lentil soup recipe is adapted from A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes from Grandma Fritzie’s Kitchen, by Jennifer Felicia Abadi.

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Also see my recipe for lentil soup.

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Red lentil soup