Red Lentil Soup With Lemon Recipe

Winter is a cold and dark time, sure, but it also has a lot to offer. There are plenty of festive holidays that make the freezing days feel brighter, and there are playful winter activities like skiing and sledding. Plus, if you're in school, you get some time off to relax. But that's not all that comes with wintertime — there's also the endless chances for delicious, comforting food. People with a sweet tooth have all kinds of seasonal treats to choose from, of course, but that doesn't mean people who enjoy the savory side of things get the short end of the stick. In addition to nostalgic holiday fare like glazed ham and cheese balls, there's one category of winter food that's consistently good at warming up cold bellies: soup.

There are plenty of hearty soups out there, and at times it can seem like you've tried them all. One way to combat feelings of soup fatigue is by putting a twist on classics, like recipe developer Susan Olayinka did with her red lentil soup, which gets some added zest thanks to the addition of lemon. You've probably had lentil soup before, but have you had it like this? This red lentil soup with lemon comes together easily, tastes warm and comforting, and is sure to hit the spot all winter long.

Gather the ingredients to make red lentil soup with lemon

Even though this is a relatively simple soup, you still want to make sure you have your ingredients prepped and ready in advance. Some of the best chefs out there say doing this step before anything else will make your home cooking easier and better!

For this soup, you'll need a yellow onion and a couple cloves of garlic — diced and minced, respectively. You'll also need, of course, red lentils, along with olive oil, cumin powder, smoked paprika, salt, chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth if you don't eat meat), and the juice and zest of one lemon, which Olayinka says gives the soup "a fresh taste." If you don't have specifically red lentils, Olayinka says that "any type of lentil will do."

Start with some sautéing

The legume family — of which lentils are a member — is wide and vast. So why are these legumes in particular such a good choice for soups? In addition to having a taste and texture well-suited for the savory creaminess of soup, red lentils also have plenty of nourishing health benefits. According to Healthline, they're loaded with B vitamins, protein, zinc, and iron, making them well-rounded when it comes to nutrition. So, as you get started on making this soup, you can do so knowing that you'll be whipping up both a healthy and tasty dish!

So, without further ado, it's time to start cooking. Start by adding the oil to a pot and turning the stove to medium-high heat. Then, add the diced onion and minced garlic. Let them cook for a few minutes until they look golden and start to make your kitchen smell the kind of good that prompts your friends and family to ask what you're cooking. After that, add in the cumin, salt, and smoked paprika to get things smelling even more delicious.

Add the lentils, broth, and lemon juice, then simmer

Even though it feels like you've just started cooking, your work in the kitchen is already almost done. Yes, it's true — all you need to do now is add the other ingredients and let the stove work its magic for a bit. So, simply add the red lentils, broth, and lemon juice and zest to the pot. Once you've done that, give everything a good stir, and let it cook on medium-low for about 20 minutes. Feel free to stir the pot every so often, but Olayinka notes that this isn't crucial since the low temperature of the stove means the soup "won't burn."

Enjoy some hearty red lentil with lemon soup

Once your 20 minutes of cooking are up, it's time to eat! Serve everyone a bowl of steaming soup — this recipe makes about three servings — and enjoy. Olayinka recommends serving this lemon-infused lentil soup alongside some "crusty sourdough with butter," but of course you can pair it with whatever your heart (and stomach) desires. If you're making this soup solo, or want to plan ahead for a future group meal, you're in luck. Per Olayinka, this soup will last three to four days in the fridge, and can also be frozen.

Red Lentil Soup With Lemon Recipe
5 from 62 ratings
This red lentil soup with lemon is packed with both flavor and nutrition — perfect for an easy meal after a cold winter day.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowl of red lentil soup
Total time: 28 minutes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  1. Dice the onions and mince the garlic.
  2. Next, pour the oil into a pan, then place the onion and garlic inside it. Turn the heat up to medium-high and gently sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Add the cumin powder, salt, and smoked paprika, and mix.
  4. Add the red lentils, chicken broth, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and mix together.
  5. Cook for 20 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring halfway through.
  6. After 20 minutes, ladle the soup into bowls and serve.
Calories per Serving 448
Total Fat 13.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.4 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 9.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 58.6 g
Dietary Fiber 8.3 g
Total Sugars 8.7 g
Sodium 852.4 mg
Protein 24.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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