Average: 5 (2 votes)
Active time
15 minutes
Total time
30 minutes
4 Servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 quart vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup red lentils

Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

Salt and pepper

Crumbled feta cheese or hard-boiled egg for garnish (optional)

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the onion, celery, and garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the cumin and cook, stirring, for one minute longer.
  3. Add the tomato paste, stir until smooth, and add the stock and lentils. Bring just to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft. Add 1 cup of water if the soup seems too thick.
  4. Puree in batches in a food processor or blender, return to the pot, and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve garnished with feta cheese or diced hard-boiled egg.

Variations: You can make this soup with green or brown lentils, but they will require longer cooking to soften.

An Oldways recipe and photo.


Calories: 270
Total Fat: 8g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Sodium: 85mg
Carbohydrate: 38g
Fiber: 7g
Total Sugar: 4g (Added Sugar: 0g)
Protein: 13g

Yield: 4 Servings

How'd it Taste?

This is a five-star base recipe for someone who's never cooked a lentil soup before! I made some minor changes, and it still came out delicious. I am not the biggest fan of straight cumin, but added it anyway since I've never eaten it in a recipe like this. Then I did some googling while it simmered, and decided I really wanted more of a curry flavor, so I added a little in addition to the cumin - being careful not to overwhelm (I think in the future I might do 50/50). I didn't have any celery on hand, so I sliced up a few baby carrots and then added some celery seed (1/4 tsp). My soup was nowhere near too thick to need more water to blend; I may have lost some lentils in the rinsing process (the most tedious part for me - I need to learn a better trick for that or get a larger mesh strainer). I actually thickened it up a little with a slurry, and made a hard boiled egg on the side, and topped it with shredded coconut. Would love to test next time making it with a coconut milk or coconut flour slurry to thicken if needed to add that flavor right into the soup. Delicious!
I made this recipe exactly as it was described. It was delicious, quick, easy and I’m definitely making this recipe again.
Question I am hoping you can answer - is it a full head of celery or one stick?!?! Earlier in the book a sandwich serving 1 uses 1 stalk and its one stick!
Hi Courtney, One stalk is the correct measurement. But if you'd like, feel free to add more!
Can preserved lemon be used in place of the fresh lemon juice/ I've had a jar in my pantry, unopened, and would like to start using it.
Hi Anita, yes that sounds great! Let us know how it goes.
Alas, I used a regular lemon. Next time... I added some cayenne pepper, doubled the garlic, and added lemon sea salt flakes at the end. This is a delicious recipe. It was so good, I sent it on to my brother as well as a friend who's a soup aficionado.

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