Lemony Lentil Soup

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.

This is the BEST lentil soup recipe!! It's full of amazing lemony flavor, it's naturally healthy and vegan and gluten-free, it's quick and easy to make, and SO delicious. Instant Pot and Slow Cooker instructions included too! | Gimme Some Oven #lentilsoup #instantpot #cleaneating #redlentilsoup #glutenfree #vegan

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.  😉

This is the BEST lentil soup recipe!! It's full of amazing lemony flavor, it's naturally healthy and vegan and gluten-free, it's quick and easy to make, and SO delicious. Instant Pot and Slow Cooker instructions included too! | Gimme Some Oven #lentilsoup #instantpot #cleaneating #redlentilsoup #glutenfree #vegan

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.

This is the BEST lentil soup recipe!! It's full of amazing lemony flavor, it's naturally healthy and vegan and gluten-free, it's quick and easy to make, and SO delicious. Instant Pot and Slow Cooker instructions included too! | Gimme Some Oven #lentilsoup #instantpot #cleaneating #redlentilsoup #glutenfree #vegan

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.

This is the BEST lentil soup recipe!! It's full of amazing lemony flavor, it's naturally healthy and vegan and gluten-free, it's quick and easy to make, and SO delicious. Instant Pot and Slow Cooker instructions included too! | Gimme Some Oven #lentilsoup #instantpot #cleaneating #redlentilsoup #glutenfree #vegan

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!

This is the BEST lentil soup recipe!! It's full of amazing lemony flavor, it's naturally healthy and vegan and gluten-free, it's quick and easy to make, and SO delicious. Instant Pot and Slow Cooker instructions included too! | Gimme Some Oven #lentilsoup #instantpot #cleaneating #redlentilsoup #glutenfree #vegan

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!

This is the BEST lentil soup recipe!! It's full of amazing lemony flavor, it's naturally healthy and vegan and gluten-free, it's quick and easy to make, and SO delicious. Instant Pot and Slow Cooker instructions included too! | Gimme Some Oven #lentilsoup #instantpot #cleaneating #redlentilsoup #glutenfree #vegan

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Lemony Lentil Soup

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.

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

Directions:

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.

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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If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

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37 comments on “Lemony Lentil Soup”

  1. Lentils are among my favorite winter dishes. Packed with protein and not too heavy. I’ve never thought of this variation on lentils. Your spin on the lentil is my next slow cooker adventure.

    Rating: 5
  2. I just made this soup!! It is so delicious and comforting on this freezing day! Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  3. I love lentils and cannot wait to make this. I wanted to ask, do you think you can replace the red lentils with black lentils, and if not, do you have a recipe for the use of black lentils you would like to share?

  4. what gives the recipe the yellow color?

  5. this soup uses red lentils…not yellow dal?
    the color just looks so much more in sync with yellow vs. red!
    thanks!

  6. Is it possible to also post the analysis of ingredients in the recipes—such as carbs, protein, fat, etc. My DH is doing low carb so he needs that info.
    I love your site & read it as often as you post. We lived 43 yrs. in Europe & have just, this summer, returned to the US, but will be going back to Vienna this summer for an extended stay. We also hope to again visit the Provence in mid summer.
    Thank you for posting your pups in the videos—my fav. part. Glad you little guy is recovering nicely from pancreatitis.

    • If you need nutritional info you should put it in a recipe calculator like my fitness pal.

    • I found this on my fitness pal:
      Homemade – Lemony Lentil Soup, 1.5 cup cooked: Ingredients Calories 371 Carbs 61 Fat 2 Protein 28 Sodium 500Sugar 7 1.5 cup Per 1.5 Cup serving : 93 calories

  7. Yes! The moment I saw your recipe in my email inbox, I thought of Aladdin! Our son adores their soup and gets it with a side of lemon every time. Our friend (one of the owners) gave us that tip in the Lawrence location. So glad you posted this, adding it to our soup list! If anyone is in KC, I surely suggest stopping by this neighborhood gem!

  8. HI, I just made your wonderful soup. Actually, I have never eaten lentils. Very impressed. As I love corn it was easy to add more for later. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  9. Ooooh, it’s been too long since I’ve had lentil soup. It’s so savory but light and I imagine the lemon just enhances the lightness in such a good way. I’,m excited to try using saffron in it this time around.
    Nicolette | http://nicolette.co

  10. I don’t usually cook with lentils but this came out surprisingly yummy! It’s not quite as yellow as in the picture. With the winter the Midwest is experiencing this year the heartiness but bright flavor of this soup will be very welcome!

    Rating: 5
  11. Terrific soup. Easy to make, and easier to eat. Thank you.

    Rating: 5
  12. Is the corn fresh? canned? frozen? looks so yummy. excited to try.

  13. I’ve liked everything I have made with red lentils. I will definitely try this!

  14. Just made this and it came out delicious! Love this website. :)

    Rating: 4
  15. Just made this tonight. Delish. Highly recommend – was perfect for the chilly day we were having in Ontario, Canada. My 2 boys loved it as well. Thanks for the great recipe.

    Rating: 5
  16. This was light but filling, easy to make, and a hit even with my 1.5 year old. I didn’t have saffron, but I can imagine that makes it even more wonderful. Thanks for the recipe!

    Rating: 5
  17. I really need to try this version. It looks absolutely delicious! By the way, I have been following your journey since you moved to Barcelona a few months ago and I find it both very fun and inspiring! I’m French but moved to Sweden for a few years and now live in Chicago, so I do the other way around ;-)

  18. Hi Ali,
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for including Instant Pot instructions. I’d had one for a while and needed to get brave to try it. I tried using it on a recipe I already had and adapting it, but was a little lost. ☺️ Now with your instructions I know just what to do. 😉 My hubby and I made this tonight and love it. I’ve enjoyed your blog for quite a while but my first time to post back to you. So glad you’re blogging from Spain, it’s armchair travel for the rest of us. ✈️
    Deb

  19. I made this soup today. I have never cooked with lentils or saffron before, so both were fun to try. The soup was yummy and very different than any I have cooked before. I love your recipes and all your posts. Thanks for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  20. Love this recipe! I used corn that I roasted and froze from my garden,

    love this recipe! Comfort food at its best!

    Rating: 5
  21. Love it! I had to make it because our daughter just spent the summer in Spain and brought back some saffron! It was delish!! Miss you at JW Ali!! Definitely going to make it again!!

    Rating: 5
  22. Yummy! I just made this soup and it is a big hit. I used Chicken Stock and I could not find saffron at the store so I left it out. After I blended the soup I decided I wanted it a tad thicker so I added a half cup more lentils and let it simmer on the stove for 15 more minutes and blended it again. I was very happy with the consistency and the color was the same as what was pictured. I will be making this a lot! Thank you, Ali!

    Rating: 5
  23. Everything I have made from this site has been good. I have not had lentils in a long time so decided to try this soup. After soup was done I tried a couple of spoonfuls. Hmmmm. I was not sure what I thought of it
    Tried a bowl, then another one and another. The soup is wonderful 😀😀😀😀

  24. Perfect soup for a very cold day.Easy recipe. I added a little more spices .Excellent ..

    Rating: 5
  25. Can i use lentils that are not red?

  26. Delicioso! Gracias!

    Rating: 5
  27. I made this soup twice in the past week. The first time I followed the recipe and although I’m not a curry fan the flavors all blended nicely together the next day. The second time I did 3 chicken thighs in the pressure cooker with the required amount of broth/water; then defatted, shredded, and sliced the chicken a little. Then I started the recipe and added the chicken to it. I also added two stalks of celery and decreased the spices and lemon by half and added a tablespoon of rosemary.

  28. I made this last night and it was fantastic! I did the instant pot version, with sauteing the onions and carrots then adding everything else together to pressure cook. I know the stovetop version is probably the same amount of overall time, I just like the aspect of setting it on a timer and having it automatically start and turn off when it’s all done! Great recipe!

    Rating: 5
  29. I made this soup today for lunch, and it was SO good! With the cold weather, this delicious soup is a perfect warm, healthy meal. The carrots, white onion, and lemon juice work so well with the lentils. I served it with a grilled cheese sandwich. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  30. This was delicious! I loved how lemony it was. Made a interesting twist for a soup that is so comforting. I find myself craving it…I guess another batch is in my future!

    Rating: 5
  31. such an interesting twist on lentils, saw another interesting lentil recipe today too, so much better than my default lentil recipe and important too since I’m now eating a lot more legumes, even red ones like those you highlight here, love the idea of red lentils, thank you!