Lemon, Carrots, Garlic, Onion, Cilantro, and Lentils make this an easy to make soup with basic pantry ingredients.

My go to meal is red lentil soup. Not only is it fast and healthy, it is also super yummy, filling, and cheap. Whenever I am in a meal rut, or want a nice big bowl of comfort food I make this soup. I got the basic idea from a New York Times recipe and have modified to make it work for my family. The best part of this soup is it is so easy to make, but has a complex flavor profile that makes you feel fancy even on a cold, blah, winter weeknight. Add a refreshing side salad or some warm and crusty bread and you have the perfect meal that will satisfy the pickiest of eaters and most dietery requirements.


  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes, or red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 1/2 sweet potato, chopped (optional)
  • 1.5 cup red lentils
  • 28 oz chicken broth (optional) – to keep this soup vegetarian you can use water or vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro


  • In a large pot heat 4 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt and saute for an additional 2 minutes or until onions are shimmering. Make sure to continuously stir so you do not burn the garlic or onions.
A simple stir of the lentils and carrots with the spice mixture before adding the broth/water adds an extra layer of flavor
  • Stir in the cumin, chile powder (or red pepper flakes), and tomato paste. Continue to saute for another 1-2 minutes. This step is important to cook the spices.
  • Add the carrot, sweet potato (if using), and red lentils and stir until it has all been mixed in with the spices and garlic/onion mixture.
  • Add the chicken broth and water and stir again. Bring to a bil and then redue to a simmer until lentils are soft. This should take 20-30 minutes. You will notice the lentils get alittle stringy and soft.

  • Once the lentils are cooked through use an immersion blender and puree the soup. I puree the whole thing because my kids like their soup smooth and creamy. If you would like more texture to your soup puree just a quarter or half of the soup.
  • Most important step – Add fresh lemon juice. Do not forget this step! The lemon is what makes the soup so yummy. Start with the juice of half a lemon and then add more to taste. (I like it lemony and usually use a whole lemon).
  • Final Steps – Add chopped cilantro. I have a heavy hand with cilantro and like more than the average person. Start with adding two tablespoons chopped cilantro and stir into the soup. Add more to taste. Wait a few minutes. Drink a glass of water to cleanse your palette and take a final taste. At this point add salt as you feel necessary.

Enjoy your soup!!!!

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