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Red Lentil soup with lemon

This is a hearty, delicious soup that I added a little extra flavor to the original recipe. Your choice of fresh cilantro or parsley is stirred into the soup at the end of cooking. I used fresh parsley because that is what we had on hand. Perfect for a cold winter night!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Pinch of smoked paprika
  • Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, or more to taste
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 1-2 large or 3-4 small carrots, peeled and diced (or grated)
  • Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste, plus the zest of about half the lemon
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley


  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot until hot and shimmering.
  2. Add onion and garlic, and saute until golden, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, curry powder, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder, or cayenne, and saute for 2 minutes longer.
  4. Add broth, water, lentils, and carrot. Bring to a simmer, partially cover the pot, and turn the heat to medium-low.
  5. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  6. Using an immersion, regular blender, or food processor, purée half the soup and add it back to the pot. The soup should be somewhat chunky.
  7. Reheat the soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice, zest, cilantro, or parsley.
  8. Optionally, serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder, if desired. I made the soup with crusty garlic bread, which was fantastic!

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