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Red lentil soup served in a black bowl with a spoon and garnished with chopped cilantro, chili flakes, and olive oil.

Red lentil soup (Middle Eastern style)

Red lentil soup is a quick Middle Eastern style soup made with split red lentils, gently flavored with Arabic spices. If you are looking for light and simple comforting soup recipes then this lemony lentil soup is perfect for you.
Course Soup
Cuisine Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 281kcal



  • 1.5 cups red lentils
  • 5 cups water or as required to get the desired consistency
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 celery stalk roughly chopped
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic-finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • Salt as per taste
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of ½ a medium-sized lemon adjust to taste
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro
  • Red chili flakes optional


  • Wash the lentils and keep them 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.



  • You can also add tomatoes to this soup for more flavor. It will also give a nice red color to the soup.
  • Instead of seasoning this soup with plain ground cumin, use roasted cumin powder. It tastes better.
  • For extra lemony flavor, also add lemon zest along with lemon juice.
  • You can also skip the step of blending the soup if you prefer a slightly coarse texture.
  • Red lentils taste the best with a sour ingredient. In India also lime or lemon juice is always added to red lentil curry. Similarly, this soup won't taste the same if you don't add lemon juice to it. Consider lemon juice a key ingredient in red lentil soup and don't skip it.


Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 35mg | Potassium: 775mg | Fiber: 22g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2820IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 6mg