Red Lentil Soup with Lemon Recipe

Quick, easy, and delicious.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped


Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper, and chile powder and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the broth, water, lentils, and carrot and bring to a simmer, then partially cover the pot and turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, puree half the soup, then return it to the pot; don't over-puree it, the soup should be somewhat chunky. Reheat the soup if necessary, then stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve drizzled with olive oil and dusted lightly with chile powder if desired.

The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century