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.
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. 😉
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.
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 love. Lemon just instantly brightens up any lentil soup, and is the starring ingredient in my version here.
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!
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.
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.
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. :)
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!