Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

January 31, 2013 | Filed Under Lentils, Soups 

I’ve discovered I love lentils – all types and all recipes.  I first tried this Red Lentil Soup with Lemon recipe last year.  The recipe comes from 101 Cookbooks.  The ingredients include yellow mustard seeds.  It is an ingredient, which I normally wouldn’t have.  However, this time,  I happened to have a bottle full of it because I’d prepared a dish, some time ago, which called for that ingredient.  After that, I’ve never needed to use yellow mustard seeds.  Until now.   Other spices like turmeric and cumin, added to the savory taste of the soup.  First time I made this soup, instead of three lemons, I used one and that was fine for my taste buds.  The lemon juice added to a slightly tangy taste of the soup.  The recipe suggests serving the soup with brown rice and plain Greek yogurt.  First time I made the soup, I had neither.  Again, the soup tasted good and filling ,without.  I love the spinach leaves included in the soup.  This soup is simply delicious and perfect for a cold day.  This isn’t the best photo.  The soup is more appetizing than it looks in the photo.  Really, it is. 




Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

from 101 Cookbooks



2 cups / 14 oz / 400 g split red lentils, picked over and rinsed well
1 tablespoon turmeric
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
fine grain sea salt
1 large onion / ~ 2 cups, diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of three lemons, or to taste
1 large bunch of spinach leaves, chopped

plenty of cooked (warm) brown rice, to serve
plenty of plain Greek yogurt, to serve

Put the lentils in a pot with 7 cups / 1.6 l water, the turmeric, 1 tablespoon of the butter, and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft and falling apart – twenty minutes or so. Puree with a hand blender. Add more water until the soup is the consistency you like, then taste and add more salt if needed. Keep the soup warm/hot.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the onion. In a skillet over low heat cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter along with the cumin and mustard seeds, stirring occasionally. When the onions have softened, roughly 10 or 15 minutes, add the cilantro and cook for a few seconds before removing from the heat. Add the onion mixture to the soup, then add the juice of the lemons, one lemon at a time – until the soup has a nice bit of tang. Also, add more salt to taste at this point if needed.

Just before serving, add the last of the butter to the skillet, when hot add the spinach and a good pinch of salt. Stir well, and cook just long enough for the spinach to collapse.

Serve by placing a scoop of rice in each bowl, then soup, spinach, and a dollop of yogurt.

Serves 6.

Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 30 min


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5 Responses to “Red Lentil Soup with Lemon”

  1. I am a big fan of lentils too and that is a wonderful soup!



  2. sounds delicious!

  3. Yes! Red lentils are awesome, aren’t they? Of course, they’re not so high in protein as the brown ones, but they’re so much easier (and faster). I love to include them in soups of all sorts, and curries, just because they go to such mush & add a thickness. Yum!

  4. Thanks, Rosa and Kat!

    David: “Yum” is right!

    Paz :-)

  5. I agree with you that the spinach leaves are a nice addition. I have the book, so I’ll check out the recipe. I have been craving lentils for a few days.

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