Gimme Some Oven

Lemony Lentil Soup

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This Lemony Lentil Soup recipe is full of bright and zesty flavors, it’s naturally gluten-free and vegan, and it’s easy to make in the Instant Pot, Crock-Pot or on the stovetop.

Lemony Lentil Soup

Who’s ready for a light and refreshing bowl of lemony lentil soup? ♡

A record number of you all have been making (and loving!) this lentil soup lately. So for any of you who have yet to give it a try, I thought I would bump this recipe back to the top of the blog for everyone to enjoy.

Quite simply, this is my all-time favorite lentil soup recipe. It was inspired by our favorite Middle Eastern café back in our old neighborhood in Kansas City, whose famous lentil soup I ordered one million times over the years and missed something fierce after we moved away. So a few years ago, I set to work trying to recreate it. And while nothing will compare in our memory to the original, I have to say that I’m really pleased with how my version turned out!

This cozy red lentil soup is simmered with simple mix of veggies, spices and lots of lemon juice to brighten things up. But the restaurant version of the soup also featured two signature ingredients — corn and a pinch of saffron — which add the perfect hint of sweetness that make this soup perfectly-balanced and just lovely. ♡  Barclay and I turn to this soup often because it’s easy to make and full of feel-good ingredients. But most of all, we just love it because it’s crazy-good and will forever remind us of home.

Let’s make some lemony lentil soup together!

Lemony Lentil Soup Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Lentil Soup Ingredients

Lemony Lentil Soup Ingredients:

To make this lemony lentil soup recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Veggies: A simple mix of white onion, carrots and garlic.
  • Veggie stock: Or you could are welcome to use chicken stock if you prefer.
  • Red lentils: Which I love for this soup because they break down quickly and purée easily.
  • Corn: Just your basic frozen or canned whole-kernel corn.
  • Spices: A cozy mix of ground cumin, curry powder, cayenne and saffron (which is optional, but really delicious if you happen to have some on hand).
  • Fresh lemon: Whose zest and juice we will add to the soup. I also recommend serving the soup with extra lemon wedges, if people would like to make their bowls even more lemony.
  • Salt and black pepper: For seasoning, as always.

Step by step photos for how to make lentil soup

How To Make Lentil Soup:

I have included detailed instructions in the full recipe below for how to make this lentil soup in either an Instant Pot, Crock-Pot or on the stovetop. But here is a quick overview:

  1. Sauté the veggies. I recommend taking an extra few minutes to sauté the onion, carrots and garlic before adding them to the rest of the soup to bring out their best flavors. (This step may require an extra sauté pan, if using a Crock-Pot, or using the sauté feature in the Instant Pot.)  But if you are in a hurry, you can just add these ingredients in with Step 2 below.
  2. Simmer. Stir in the vegetable stock, lentils, corn, cumin, curry powder, cayenne and saffron (if using) until combined. Cover and cook (or pressure cook or slow cook) until the lentils are tender.
  3. Blend (optional). Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.
  4. Season. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Then season the soup with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Serve. Serve warm, garnished with an extra lemon slice, and enjoy!

Red lentil soup in pot

Possible Variations:

Feel free to experiment and customize this soup however you might like! For example, you could…

  • Serve the soup chunky. Just skip the puréeing step and enjoy the soup as-is!
  • Make it spicier. Add extra cayenne if you would like to give the soup a bit more heat.
  • Add fresh herbs. Fresh mint and/or cilantro would also be delicious served with this soup.
  • Add yogurt. Feel free to also serve the soup garnished with plain yogurt for a creamy twist.
  • Add greens. You could also stir some fresh baby spinach or chopped kale into the soup just before serving if you’d like to add some greens.

Lemony Red Lentil Soup in Bowls

More Lentil Soup Recipes:

Looking for more easy lentil soup recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves:

Closeup of Lemony Lentil Soup in Bowl

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Lemony Lentil Soup

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 the best bright and zesty flavors, it’s naturally gluten-free and vegan, and it’s easy to make in the Instant Pot, Crock-Pot or on the stovetop.


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

Stovetop Instructions:

  1. Sauté the veggies. 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. Simmer. 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. Blend (optional). Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  (If using a traditional blender, please see notes below.)
  4. Season. Stir in the lemon zest and juice until combined.  Taste and season the soup with a generous pinch or two of fine sea salt and black pepper, as needed.
  5. Serve. Serve warm, garnished with an extra fresh lemon slice if desired.

Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Instructions:

  1. Sauté the veggies (optional). Press the “Sauté” button on your Instant Pot.  Add oil and let it heat until shimmering. 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. Cook. Stir in the vegetable stock, lentils, corn, cumin, curry powder (plus saffron and cayenne, if using) until combined. Cover the pot and set vent to “Sealing”. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes, followed by a quick release.
  3. Blend. Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  (If using a traditional blender, please see notes below.)
  4. Season. Stir in the lemon zest and juice until combined.  Taste and season the soup with a generous pinch or two of fine sea salt and black pepper, as needed.
  5. Serve. Serve warm, garnished with an extra fresh lemon slice if desired.

Crock-Pot (Slow Cooker) Instructions:

  1. Slow cook. 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 combine.  (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. Blend. Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  (If using a traditional blender, please see notes below.)
  3. Season. Stir in the lemon zest and juice until combined.  Taste and season the soup with a generous pinch or two of fine sea salt and black pepper, as needed.
  4. Serve. Serve warm, garnished with an extra fresh lemon slice if desired.


Notes

Traditional blender instructions: If using a traditional blender to purée the soup, please exercise caution (as always) as hot liquids expand when blended.  I would recommend blending the soup in two batches, so as not to overflow your blender.  I always slightly tent open the cap on the blender lid (or gently place a kitchen towel over the cap opening) so that excess hot air can escape while the hot soup is being blended.  Once the soup is ready to go, return it to the stockpot and continue on with the recipe.

Sautéing the veggies: I really recommend sautéing the onions, carrots, garlic if you can before cooking them in the Instant Pot or slow cooker, in order to give them the best flavor. But if you’re in a rush, no worries, you can skip the sauté and just add them in together with all of the other ingredients. :)

Storage instructions: Any leftovers can be refrigerated in a food storage container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Source: Recipe inspired by my favorite lentil soup from Aladdin Cafe in Kansas City.

Share this Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

449 comments on “Lemony Lentil Soup”

1 7 8 9
  1. My daughter, aka my executive chef (she picks out recipes for me to make each week for dinner), chose this recipe and it has become part of our monthly rotation now. Very good.

  2. Delicious! I omitted the corn and added a few baby potatoes
    Even better on second day!

  3. Best Red Lentil soup recipe that I have tried. So much flavor. I think the corn really added something for me. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

  4. This soup is a staple in our house. Quick, easy and delicious. I added some pumpkin puree based on a comment below and it was good that way too.

  5. It was very good. Used a shake of turmeric in place of the saffron.

  6. Made this a second time tonight but added a pinch of turmeric and some fresh grated ginger it’s so good!!! I live in the Kansas City area was the restaurant Jerusalem Cafe?

  7. This has been in my rotation now for the last 4 years or so. SO delicious. I go overboard with the spices, and I love to top it with guacamole and some sweet salsa if I have any (like Trader Joe’s corn salsa!).

    It’s so perfect, easy to prep and keep in the fridge all week. 10/10 thanks so much for sharing this. + shout out to my friend Sophia for sending me this when we were back at St. Edward’s!

  8. I love this recipe. I’ve made it at least a dozen times. It’s so delicious and filling, without being heavy. It has such well developed flavors. And it’s a perfect soup for a pot luck, or to take to work for lunch, or wherever you need to travel. It thickens up a bit when cooled, hence no spilling or sloshing around. And when reheated, this soup is the perfect consistency. Love it! Love it! Love it! Thank you so much for this recipe.

  9. I did make this soup but it wasn’t yellow I did use the red lentils I did not use saffron .it was good but it was brown in color

  10. I won’t use corn, because it’s GMO in this country and it’s high glycemic. Would I have to substitute something else to make up for omitting the corn?

  11. This soup was my first time making anything with lentils and I love it! Super easy to make, quick and very delicious. Didn’t have curry so I added a little turmeric, ginger and chili powder, as well as a scoop of pumpkin and it tastes amazing! Will be making this one often through winter!

  12. I love this recipe, and have made it several times. Always a hit with guests. Just wondering if you have any nutrition info to share. It could be per cup, or for the entire recipe and I will do the math. Thanks.

  13. We are absolutely loving this soup. I didn’t have a lemon so it just got 2-3 tsp lemon juice. It was so creamy out of the instant pot that I didn’t blend. The texture of the corn and the visual of the carrots made it perfect. Thank you for another “keeper” recipe.

  14. I’ve been using this recipe for a few years. It’s a regular at our house. Never gets old. Healthy, filling, easy to prepare and full of flavor. It’s delivious!

  15. I fell totally lucky crossing paths great news this lentil soup recipes I included all never made before but always on my mind so thanks for the quick start ! This outta be good I actually have a pressure / slow cooker not a insta pot but rather another brand does the same thing exactly I’ve always made my split pea soup in it dries yellow or green with my chicken or veggie stock a bag of store bought coleslaw butternut squash onion grated carrot and I’m basically off 2 the races at a 15 min pressure cook no purée necessary comes out like I put it in my ancient vita mix purée directly bout of the cooker it’s really quite amazing how that works did it by mistake 1 day now every day I make it that’s the way ! Thanks again Ali ! Mark