Lemony Lentil Soup

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This Lemony Lentil Soup recipe is full of amazing flavor, it’s made with all sorts of healthy ingredients, it’s naturally vegan and gluten-free, and it’s so incredibly comforting and delicious.  Stovetop, Instant Pot (pressure cooker), and Crock-Pot (slow cooker) instructions included.

The BEST Lentil Soup Recipe

We have been eating an inordinate amount of lentil soup around here lately…

…due in large part to the inordinate amount of lentils that, um, keep getting added to our pantry.

What can I say?  The adorableness of our neighborhood is fully to blame.  Turns out that Barcelona’s most charming little bulk/health/natural food store, Casa Perris, happens to be located literally just around the corner from our apartment here.  And oh my goodness, you guys, I couldn’t love this little place more.

The shop itself is over 75 years old, and is located on one of my favorite plazas in the neighborhood (which happens to be awash with the most golden sunlight in the mornings when I go grocery shopping).  And it is filled every kind of nut, seeds, spices, flours, pastas, dried fruits, rices, beans, dried mushrooms, chocolates, jams, and nearly every other bulk ingredient you could imagine…including a literal rainbow of lentils for sale.  All in enormous 4-foot burlap bags.  Super affordably priced.  Right by the register.

I mean, what’s a lentil-loving girl to do?

Perfect my all-time favorite lemony lentil soup recipe, that’s what.  😉

Lemony Lentil Soup Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Casa Perris Barcelona

Well, speaking of adorable neighborhoods, I should note that we’ve specifically been trying to recreate our favorite lentil soup recipe from Barclay’s cute neighborhood Mediterranean restaurant in Kansas City…that’s what.

Anyone in KC will tell you that Aladdin Cafe‘s lentil soup is hands-down the best in the city.  And Barclay and I couldn’t agree more.  We used to walk down the block and bring home an order of lentil soup to go probably at least once a week when he lived there.  And it was one of the few soups in the world that neither of us ever grew tired of.  (<– Ha, which is good, since we’ve been eating it non-stop here these past few weeks.)

We both loved it because their lentil soup recipe seemed so uniquely fresh and light.  Not heavy at all.  Not overloaded with spices.  Not really even spicy at all.  Just a delightful, simple soup that always hit the spot…and one that we’ve been missing a lot here.

Lemony Lentil Soup Ingredients

So on a day that we happened to be missing it big-time, I decided to pull up Aladdin’s website to see if they gave any hints about how on earth they seasoned their magical soup.  And as it turns out — their secret ingredients were right there for the world to see on their menu!  😂  (Ha, clearly we hadn’t picked up an actual menu of theirs in ages or I would have caught this years ago.)

Turns out, what gives their soup that ever-so-slightly sweet flavor is a simple ingredient — corn!  🤔  I’ve gotta admit, I didn’t see that one coming, but it makes so much sense.  The sweet corn flavor pairs perfectly with the bright lemon and warm curry spices, it helps give the soup a bit of texture, and it gives the soup an even more lovely golden color.

Aladdin’s other secret ingredient is one that seemed a little meant-to-be for us making this soup now in Spain — saffron.  💃🏻  We have been loving the fact that Spanish saffron is so fabulously affordable and widely-available here (<– like literally, it’s sold at the register in nearly every convenience store around town), and love that extra depth of flavor it adds.  BUT.  That said, I know it’s expensive and not as easy to track down sometimes in the States.  So I’ve tested this recipe with and without it, and it’s delicious either way.  So no pressure there.

Another thing I’ve always loved about Aladdin’s soup is that it’s super lemony, which we both loveLemon just instantly brightens up any lentil soup, and is the starring ingredient in my version here.

How To Make Lentil Soup

Alright.  So naturally, once we saw that list of ingredients, we had to try out a batch of lemony lentil soup with corn and saffron for ourselves.  And sure enough, it instantly tasted like we were right back home on 39th street in Kansas City.

Soooooo unbelievably good, you guys!

Actually, SO good that we’ve probably made at least a half dozen batches of the soup this month, tinkering around with the ingredient amounts here and there each batch until it was just right.  And now, I think this one officially wins the award for my all-time favorite lentil soup recipe.  I love it so much!

Lemony Lentil Soup Recipe

And so do our friends!  Actually, our friends who were over for dinner last night said to tell you — in their words — that it was “perfecto”.  So here’s to hoping you all love it too!

I’ve included instructions below for how to make it on the stovetop, or in the slow cooker or Instant Pot.  (But honestly, the stovetop route takes about the same amount of time as the Instant Pot, so just a heads up there.)  I also recommend pureeing the soup once it has cooked, but you’re welcome to leave it more chunky if you prefer.

Enjoy, everyone!

Lentil Soup with Lemon

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The BEST Lentil Soup Recipe

Lemony Lentil Soup

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

This Lemony Lentil Soup recipe is full of amazing flavor, it’s made with all sorts of feel-good ingredients, and it’s so incredibly comforting.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 2/3 cup whole-kernel corn
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • (optional) pinch each of saffron and cayenne
  • zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

Instructions

Stovetop:

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
  2. Stir in the vegetable stock, lentils, corn, cumin, curry powder (plus saffron and cayenne, if using) until combined.  Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer.  Then cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are completely tender.
  3. Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  You may need to do this in batches if you’re using a traditional blender.  And always be careful, since hot liquids expand while blending.  (I like to leave my soup slightly chunky, but you can make yours as smooth as you’d like.)
  4. Return the pureed soup to the pot, and stir in the lemon zest and juice until combined.  Taste and season the soup with sea salt and black pepper as needed.  (I used about 1.5 teaspoons salt and 0.5 teaspoon black pepper.)
  5. Serve warm.  Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker):

  1. Press “Sauté”.  Add oil to the bowl of your Instant Pot.  Then add onion* and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.  Press “Cancel”.
  2. Stir in the vegetable stock, lentils, corn, cumin, curry powder (plus saffron and cayenne, if using) until combined.
  3. Close lid securely and set vent to “Sealing”.
  4. Press “Manual”, then press “Pressure” until the light on “High Pressure” lights up, then adjust the +/- buttons until time reads 8 minutes.  Cook.  Then very carefully, turn the vent to “Venting” for quick release, and wait until all of the steam has released and the valve has dropped.  Remove the lid.
  5. Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  You may need to do this in batches if you’re using a traditional blender.  And always be careful, since hot liquids expand while blending.  (I like to leave my soup slightly chunky, but you can make yours as smooth as you’d like.)
  6. Return the pureed soup to the Instant Pot, and stir in the lemon zest and juice until combined.  Taste and season the soup with sea salt and black pepper as needed.  (I used about 1.5 teaspoons salt and 0.5 teaspoon black pepper.)
  7. Serve warm.  Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Crock-Pot (Slow Cooker):

  1. Add onion, carrots, garlic, vegetable stock, lentils, corn, cumin, curry powder (plus saffron and cayenne, if using) to the bowl of a large slow cooker, and stir to combined.  (No olive oil needed.)  Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or on low for 5-6 hours, until the lentils are completely tender.
  2. Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  You may need to do this in batches if you’re using a traditional blender.  And always be careful, since hot liquids expand while blending.  (I like to leave my soup slightly chunky, but you can make yours as smooth as you’d like.)
  3. Return the pureed soup to the slow cooker, and stir in the lemon zest and juice until combined.  Taste and season the soup with sea salt and black pepper as needed.  (I used about 1.5 teaspoons salt and 0.5 teaspoon black pepper.)
  4. Serve warm.  Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

Inspired by the magical lentil soup at Aladdin Cafe in Kansas City.

*I really recommend sautéing your onions, carrots, garlic if you can before cooking them in the Instant Pot or slow cooker.  (I always think the flavor is so much better.)  But that said, if you’re in a rush, you can just toss them in at the same time as your other ingredients. :)

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202 comments on “Lemony Lentil Soup”

  1. 5 stars
    This soup is absolutely fantastic. So full of flavor and easy to make. I had no idea saffron was the most expensive spice in the world… I tried it anyways, but may not use it next time.
    Had anyone tried it without saffron? Is there a noticeable difference in taste?

  2. 5 stars
    How have I not left a comment before?? Definitely a meal prep staple for me – so super easy and filling.

  3. 5 stars
    I just made this recipe. It is super easy and very delicious.

  4. 5 stars
    perfect recipe! I used all the ingredients and the flavor is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

  5. 5 stars
    Really enjoyed this recipe, thanks! I substituted 1 cup coconut milk for 1 cup of the stock, added at the end with the lemon juice, but otherwise as written. Lovely, especially with fresh corn.

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious. I made it without the saffron and I didn’t miss it. This will definitely go into my regular rotation! Love it!

  7. 5 stars
    Love this soup! Super easy, light and tasty. Who would have thought that humble ingredients could make such a great soup

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe was really delicious! I used split peas because i was out of lentils one time and it was just as yummy!

  9. 5 stars
    This soup was delicious. Thank you so much! I’ve also been to Aladdin’s in KC (my husband is from there and we go back that way often). I even sent this to a cousin that was the first person to send me to Aladdin’s.

    Anyway, awesome soup recipe! I Madeira without saffron because I didn’t have any on hand, but I imagine it would take it to another level!

  10. 5 stars
    I served this with a bit of plain greek yogurt drizzled on with some cilantro. It was delicious!!!! Definitely going to become part of the regular rotation at our house!

  11. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious very easy…just yum..thnks

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing!!! Please make this for yourself; you will be treating yourself. I made this with things I already had so I improvised a little bit. I had a can of cream corn, so I used a whole can as well as added a little more than a tablespoon of ketchup after blending it. Topped with cilantro and lemon juice and this was SO GOOD!!! I also used only two cloves of garlic cause that’s all I had on hand and it was just fine but the more garlic, the better :) The instant pot made this even faster and easier.

  13. 5 stars
    Love this soup and so does my hubby. Did I mention I love it? I did not use saffron.

  14. 5 stars
    Loved the recipe. It was quick and easy. Although I love saffron I did not hsve any on hand so I omitted it.

  15. Makin’ this based on the story alone! Great writing! Looking forward to this in my lunch sack, bag, whatever I’m lugging my food to work in on Monday. 😎

  16. 4 stars
    I made this 2 days ago, I multiplied the recipe by 4 to make 20 or so portions. I froze most in tubs. Delicious recipe! The only things I felt it needed was some ginger-i put dried & powdered in. And sweetness-i put a load of maple syrup and brown sugar in. I think it needs the sweetness, even though it has sweetcorn & carrot in. Colleagues want the recipe! It’s very garlicky! Cheap & nutritious

  17. 5 stars
    I made this today in my instant pot and it was delicious!! Loved it! Great recipe!!

  18. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. I had celery in the garden, so also added two finely chopped sticks. Will definitely be making this healthy and hearty soup again soon.

  19. 5 stars
    I just made this tonight after my sister recommended it to me – I was honestly so sceptical (in my mind, lemon, cumin, and curry powder just sounds odd) – but it was delicious! I’ve finally met a lentil that I do like

  20. 5 stars
    This soup is so good! I’ve made it a few times, and definitely prefer it blended with an immersion blender to be a little chunkier – I pureed it in my vitamix the last time I made it and the texture was a little weird (I think from the lentils), but still tasted delicious! The lemon gives it such a great flavor.

  21. 5 stars
    Absolutely the MOST delicious soup ever I want to eat the whole pot!!!

  22. 5 stars
    This soup was sooooo good and so easy to make. Hubbie, 8 year old and 4 year old sons loved it, said it was the best soup I have made! I made it exactly as written (frozen corn), doubled the recipe, and instapot version. Will be in my regular rotation.

  23. 5 stars
    First meal that my husband daughter and I all ate together, lovely recipe, great bite.

  24. 5 stars
    Spectacular! Easy peasy, the saffron is key. I added garlic scapes and bumped up the cumin and turmeric.
    Originally wanted to make this in the slow cooker then thoroughly read the recipe and discovered that the cooking time was just about 20 minutes. Well worth making on stove.

  25. Would love the nutrition information on this yummy recipe.

  26. 5 stars
    This tastes exactly like my favorite soup at the local Mediterranean joint! I have been trying to find a soup like this for years! Delicious!

  27. 5 stars
    This is the best lentil soup I ever had. So delicious! I made it for brunch with my girlfriends and they all wanted the recipe. The lemon is the cherry on the cake!! I used the slow cooker method to make it.

  28. 5 stars
    Delicious! I used the saffron and cayenne, and threw in a sweet potato because I had it.

  29. Can you use a mix of lentils? Like red, pigeon and mung?

  30. Verey easy recipe!

  31. Just curious as to what kind of curry you like to use?

  32. This soup is delicious!! OMG! This one is in my rotation for sure!

  33. I discovered this soup several months ago, and I make it almost EVERY single week. It is so delicious! I add a heaping tablespoon of Keema curry and more Indian spice to it. I also started adding two large handfuls of spinach to it, and it is just so delicious.

  34. My favourite soup! Perfect recipe, thank you!!

  35. Absolutely delicious. My husband deemed this the best lentil soup he’s ever had.

  36. I occasionally make a huge pot of lentil soup with the addition of black beans, kale and green beans. This is the absolutely best base lentil soup I’ve made and will be my permanent recipe. I just minused the carrots and corn (my goal is high protein) and added nutrional yeast. Oh and I make my black beans with coriander so those little bursts of flavor added some more depth.

    Absolutely amazing and thanks for sharing with us.

  37. Taste great and easy to make. I will purchase utensil to purée for next time.

  38. is pureeing the soup the end a must for this recipe?

  39. Absolutely delicious. I have a fav from a local restaurant and this one comes the closest to copying it. It warms you from the inside out. And includes all my favourites: cheap, easy, healthy and delicious. Thank you