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Red Lentil Soup with Lemon Recipe

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This recipe for Red Lentil Soup with Lemon, by , is from Carol Gentry Cookbook, one of the cookbooks created at We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!

Carol Gentry, Courtesy of Melissa Clark


3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

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.
2) Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
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.
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.
5) Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

Number Of Servings:
Number Of Servings:
4 small bowls
Preparation Time:
Preparation Time:
45 minutes
Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
This is a lentil soup that defies expectations of what lentil soup can be. It is light, spicy and a bold red color (no murky brown here): a revelatory dish that takes less than an hour to make. The cooking is painless. Sauté onion and garlic in oil, then stir in tomato paste, cumin and chile powder and cook a few minutes more to intensify flavor. Add broth, water, red lentils (which cook faster than their green or black counterparts) and diced carrot, and simmer for 30 minutes. Purée half the mixture and return it to the pot for a soup that strikes the balance between chunky and pleasingly smooth. A hit of lemon juice adds an up note that offsets the deep cumin and chile flavors.

Featured in: A Lentil Soup To Make You Stop, Taste And Savor.


1) This is daal, minus a few essential seasonings.Best made by sautéing the onions, then adding ginger and garlic paste to taste; sautéing fresh chopped tomatoes (no paste); adding spices (turmeric, coriander powder, chili powder, a touch of cinnamon if you like) once the oil has taken on the red color from the tomatoes and the vegetables have a glazed appearance. Not enough salt in this recipe. Make a simple chutney with yogurt, green chilies and cilantro.

2) Made a few changes...used chicken stock, and, instead of water, one 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes and more stock. I used 3 carrots instead of 1, and didn't bother to blend....and added a bag of spinach, finished with grated parm, and it was fabulous.

3) This is a very tasty recipe but I have two suggestions: First, there is too much liquid for the amount of lentils; therefore add one or two small potatoes, diced, to give the soup more body. Second, re: Step 4 - No need for more mess of moving half the soup into another pot; get the same rougher consistency by pureeing in one pot but in short bursts until somewhat, but not entirely smooth.

4) This recipe makes 4 small bowls of soup. Double the recipe to serve 4-6




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