This Red lentil soup recipe is of a comforting, light, and delicious vegan soup from the Middle East. Easy to make and gently flavored with warm spices, this comforting Lebanese lentil soup is also gluten-free.
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I grew up eating red lentil dishes every 3-4 days because it’s very popular in India, especially in my native state-Uttarakhand. I remember my nani (grandmother) used to pack bags of red lentil and many other delicious things grown in her farms, for us whenever we visited her during our school holidays.
We mostly enjoyed it as a dal with rice or roti. Sometimes my mother also used to make cheela (Indian pancakes) using it and that was one of my favorite breakfasts.
I tried the Middle Eastern red lentil soup or Lebanese red lentil soup for the first time after shifting to Dubai.
Honestly, I didn’t like it much then as my taste buds were more used to the taste of red lentil with burnt garlic, cumin seeds, and green chilies (my mother tempers red lentil with these ingredients). Also, it was not very nicely prepared at the restaurant where we tried it for the first time.
However, the second time we had it in a different restaurant. It was light still flavorful and we loved it. Now we make this Arab lentil soup quite often at home.
History of lentils
Lentils are considered to be one of the most ancient cultivated foods by mankind. It’s believed that they originated in the Near East from where it traveled to Egypt, Europe, the Mediterranean region, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, India, and China.
In the older time, lentil was considered poor man’s food but in Egypt, lentil grains were found buried in royal tombs too.
What is red lentil
Red lentil, also known as dhooli masoor ki dal in India is nothing but split and skinless brown lentil. It gets cooked very quickly and is easy to digest. Low calorie, high iron content, a rich source of protein, a powerhouse of antioxidants - these are just a few health benefits for which you should add this lentil to your diet.
There are different types of red lentil soup recipes that you will find in the Middle East. Though they all taste almost the same, some have a slightly different way of making it.
In a few regions rice is also added to it like Indian khichdi. But the ratio of rice and lentil in the soup is different than what's used in Khichdi. Also, the lentil soup gets blended with a blender after getting cooked which is not done in Khichdi.
The best thing about this vegan lentil soup is that it's made with pantry staples and has a very easy recipe. So, whenever you crave a bowl of comforting red lentil soup, you can make and enjoy it without thinking much.
Can it be made without a pressure cooker/ instant pot
Unlike most of the other lentils, red lentil doesn't take much time to get cooked so it can easily be made in a normal pot. You don't even need to soak it in advance. However, if you do soak the lentil, it will get cooked even faster.
Even though I have a pressure cooker at home, I prefer cooking red lentil in a normal pot as it gives a better texture.
What to serve with Lebanese red lentil soup
Serve this Lebanese red lentil soup with some toasted pita bread or a fresh salad like Fattoush.
You can also serve some grilled vegetables on the side.
More vegetarian Middle Eastern recipes
If you also love the freshness and flavors of Middle Eastern food and looking for easy ideas to make vegetarian Middle Eastern recipes at home then don’t miss to check the following links:
- Middle Eastern Bean Salad- Balela
- Egyptian Farro Salad
- Muhammara- a vegan dip from Syria
- Baba Ganoush-dip
- Middle Eastern Couscous fritters-Appetizer
- Riz be Haleeb-dessert
More vegan lentil recipes
I love lentils and I don't think I have lived a single day of my life without eating it in some form. If you also want to add more lentil recipes to your meal plan, then don't miss to check the recipes below:
If you try any of my recipes then please don’t miss to rate it in the comments section below.
Step by step photo instructions
Red lentil soup recipe
- 1.5 cups red lentil
- 5 cups water or as required to get the desired consistency
- 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
- 1 celery stalk roughly chopped
- 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
- 5-6 cloves garlic-finely chopped
- 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cube vegetable bouillon
- Salt as per taste
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon adjust as per your taste
- Chopped parsley/ coriander leaves for garnishing optional
- Red chili flakes for garnishing optional
- Wash the lentil and keep aside.
- Heat oil in a pan, add garlic cloves and saute for a few seconds or until the raw smell of garlic goes away.
- Add chopped onion, bay leaf and saute till the onion becomes translucent.
- Next, add the carrot and celery. Saute for about 2 minutes before adding the spices, vegetable bouillon, and salt with around 1 teaspoon of water to avoid burning of spices.
- Add lentil, saute for about a minute and then add the water. Let it simmer for around 20-25 minutes or until the lentil is nicely cooked.
- Once the lentil is cooked, remove the bay leaf and blend the soup with the help of a hand blender or food processor until it becomes smooth and creamy.
- Check and adjust the seasoning. Let the soup simmer for around 5 minutes and then switch off the gas.
- Add some fresh lemon juice. Garnish with chopped parsley/ coriander leaves, olive oil, and chili flakes. Serve hot or warm.