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Yellow lentil soup recipe

Yellow lentil soup recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Soup
  • Bean and lentil soup
  • Lentil soup

My favourite Middle Eastern restaurant serves a brightly coloured and flavoured yellow lentil soup with lots of lemon. I have tried to recreate it and this recipe comes pretty close! You could also use red lentils for this soup.

Greater London, England, UK

13 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 225g yellow lentils, rinsed
  • 900ml chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or pressure cooker. Add the onion and cook and stir till soft, about 3 minutes. Add the yellow lentils and stir for a minute, coating in the olive oil. Pour over the chicken stock and add the bay leaf and cumin.
  2. If cooking in a saucepan, bring to the boil, covered, then reduce to a simmer and cook till the yellow lentils are soft, about 25 minutes. If cooking in a pressure cooker, cover and lock pressure cooker. Place over high heat until steam begins to escape. Lower heat to medium-low; cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat; allow all the steam to naturally release. Remove lid.
  3. Remove the bay leaf from the soup, then add the lemon juice and seasoning. Leave chunky or puree till smooth with a hand-held blender. Stir in the parsley and serve.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)

Reviews in English (1)

Excellent quick and easy recipe. I cooked it in electric pressure cooker for 13 min (it was on of the default settings). The soup was so nice, next time I will cook double.-27 Aug 2015

Spicy Yellow Lentil Soup

Spicy Yellow Lentil Soup with Crispy Coriander & Phylo Croutons (Serves 2-4)
Pic cred: Ruhana Ebrahim Rec cred: @mama_taught_me_well
Ingredients: ½ cup yellow moong (mugni dhar/lentils) 1 teaspoon dhana jeeroo powder ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon chilli powder ½ teaspoon red ginger garlic masala ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder ½ teaspoon white pepper Chopped shallots Chopped coriander 1 large tomato (liquidized) 1 tablespoon Aamli sauce 1 tablespoon white vinegar 1 satchet tomato paste or 2 tablespoon tomato sauce ¼ cup fresh cream (optional)
Vagaar: 1 onion (sliced) ¼ teaspoon Jeeru (Cumin) seeds ¼ mustard seeds Few curry leaves
Garnish: Phylo pastry Rough red chillies Fresh coriander leaves

Omnipresent soup

Millennia later, lentil soup remains a staple in much of the Middle East. And certainly in Turkey, where I live. Rare is the restaurant, small or big, which doesn’t offer a bowl of lentil soup on its menu.

The Turkish version is usually a fairly thin affair. It’s rarely eaten as a main dish on its own. Rather, it’s served as a little appetiser to warm you up before diving into the main course, be it lunch or dinner.

Conveniently, most restaurants and cafeterias happily sell you yarım, or half portion, of soup – whether the menu explicitly states so or not.

Soup also plays an important part during the fasting month of ramadan, where the nightfall iftar meal often starts with a bowl of soup. Preferably mercimek çorbası, the much beloved and omnipresent lentil soup.

Persian Yellow Lentil Soup Recipe


  • 200 g Chicken Meat chopped and marinated in lime juice for a couple of hours
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Fresh Tomato crushed
  • 3 tbsp Apple Vinegar
  • ½ cup Yellow Lentil soaked in water from the night before
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth or Legumes Broth
  • ½ cup Spinach / Half of an Average-Sized Cabbage chopped
  • 2 Garlic Grains finely chopped
  • As needed Preferred Spices



Learn More about Lentils

We categorize lentils are d according to their size. While most lentils in the United States are green or brown, other types of lentils are usually orange, red, yellow, or black. Round, oval, or heart-shaped lentils have a small size, sometimes smaller than the tip of an eraser, usually sold in bulk or retail.

Green or brown lentils do not lose their form and shape after being cooked, while other types get soft or crushed during the process. Also, their taste is different from each other, just like their appearance.

Lentils are one of the groups of plant legumes like other grains. But they will be ready sooner and easier than other grains and legumes. They absorb flavors from other food ingredients and stuffing quickly, have high nutritional values, and are available throughout the year.

Persian Yellow Lentil Soup

The Benefits of Lentils

Lentils are a small, and yet a nutritious member of the plant legumes family. They are a great source of cholesterol-lowering fibers that not only help in reducing cholesterol but also are a blood glucose regulator due to their high fiber level. They prevent increasing blood glucose after consuming a meal. Lentils also contain 6 essential minerals, two vitamins B, and fat-free protein.

How Much Is Its Calorie?

In one cup of cooked lentils, these delicious grains, there are only 230 calories.

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The Best Lentil Soup Recipe

In this recipe, I used dried green lentils, but you can use almost any kind of dried lentils brown lentils, red lentils or yellow lentils.


Yes, you can use canned lentil to make lentil soup. Remember to drain and wash your lentils before adding to the soup. You probably will need less time to cook them, about 15-20 cooking time in total, after boiling. If you are using canned lentils your soup will be mushy, so my recombination is to use dried lentils.


Cool the soup to room temperature, then place in the fridge, covered, up to 4-5 days.


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Moong dal lentils are much quicker to cook than beans—and even regular lentils—when cooking from scratch since they're so tiny, and, as an added benefit, lentils are ridiculously cheap (you can usually buy them in the bulk foods section) and are a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Yellow lentil dal isn't quite a full meal on its own, but it can be a light dinner when paired with steamed white rice (or another whole grain, if you prefer). You can store the leftovers in individual serving-sized containers to take into the office to heat up for lunch, paired with a small green salad instead of rice.

Worried about fat? Omit the oil and heat the onion and spices in a non-stick pan with a touch of water instead to make this recipe virtually fat-free and reduced in calories too.

This recipe is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free (check your ingredients to be 100% sure, particularly the vegetable broth and spices).

  1. Dice brown onion, carrots, celery, garlic into small pieces and chop up parsley
  2. Measure out all wet ingredients olive oil, vegetable stock, lemon
  3. Measure out all dry ingredients short grain rice, turmeric powder, cumin and lentils
  4. Sort through lentils and discard any unwanted pieces
  5. In a large pot heat olive oil on med-high heat. Add garlic, spices and onion and slightly brown.
  6. Add lentils, stir through until coated in olive oil.
  7. Pour in stock, give a thorough stir.
  8. Add in rice. Cook until rice and lentils are nearly done (about 20min)
  9. Add in veggies and lemon juice. Stir all ingredients together and then allow to simmer until all is tender (about 10min).
  10. Take pot off heat. Blend with your hand held mixer or blender until soup is part smooth, part chunky. (I like mine mostly smooth with just a little bit of a chunky texture)
  11. Serve with added parsley as garnish.
  • You can omit the lemon if you're not a citrus fan
  • Use red lentils, you can mix it with yellow lentils. This is what gives this red lentil soupits distinctive taste and colour.
  • Avoid other types of lentils as it will change the look and taste of this soup
  • Allow the soup to completely cool down and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Absolutely. Once fully cooled, store in a snap lock bag and place bag flat in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost as required.

If you don't have all the veggies, no problem. I have made it before without some of the veggies and it tasted fab!

Classic Lentil Soup With Ham

Danielle Centoni is a Portland-based, James Beard Journalism Award-winning food writer and cookbook author whose idea of a perfect day always includes butter, sugar, flour, and an oven.

The Spruce Eats / Nita West

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 199
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 906mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 8mg 39%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 501mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Your family will love this classic, slow-simmered lentil soup. Hearty and filling, it gets flavor and texture from carrots, celery, and onions, while meaty cubes of leftover ham or ham hock add a smoky profile. Our easy-to-make homemade croutons are a great way of repurposing stale bread, and they add creaminess and crunch to the soup. A bowl of this recipe makes an excellent lunch with a sandwich or salad, or just a piece of crusty bread is a great accompaniment. Alternatively, offer freshly baked biscuits or cornbread.

Lentils are a great legume to add to your recipes, as they cook faster than other dried legumes and are very nutritious. For a vegetarian-friendly version, cook with vegetable broth and keep the meats outside of the pot serve them on the side so each guest can take a portion and add to their soup if wanted. The lentil soup by itself is delicious and filling, serving all the goodness of lentils in a bowl: high fiber, high protein, and high folate and iron  . For meat lovers, add extra diced leftover ham, sliced smoked sausage, or diced cooked bacon in addition to or in place of the ham.

Our recipe is very forgiving and leaves room for you to experiment with the seasonings and vegetables: more garlic or spring onions for pungency mint, parsley, thyme, or sorrel for an herbal fragrance or a handful of chopped fresh spinach, kale, or Swiss chard for color and nutrients. By skipping the croutons and checking that your broth doesn't have any added wheat or wheat-based thickeners, this dish is actually gluten free.

What You’ll Need To Make My Favorite Lentil Soup

The first time I had lentil soup I wasn’t really expecting to like it. I thought it was going to be bland and boring, but thanks to a combination of spices and fresh lemon, it tasted amazing (almost addictive) and so comforting. I make this soup during every season, it’s that good!

The ingredients needed to make lentil soup are simple and most are probably sitting in your kitchen already. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Lentils — I use brown, red, or French lentils to make the soup and add them uncooked. The lentils cook up to be soft, plus I love the nutritional benefits of lentils. They are high in fiber, B vitamins, iron, protein, and are low in fat.
  • Garlic, onion and carrots add nutrients, texture, and color to the soup.
  • Ground cumin, ground coriander, and ground turmeric add spice and color.
  • Broth — For a vegetarian/vegan lentil soup, use veggie broth (here’s our recipe) or use chicken broth (here’s how we make it).
  • Kale or spinach add even more nutrition to the soup.
  • Fresh lemon is a must for this soup. It makes all the flavors really pop. I even add slices of lemon to the bowls when serving.
  • Fresh herbs are optional, but when I have it on hand I love adding a handful of fresh dill or parsley.

Love lentils? We love lentils and have devoted an entire article about them. Read all about the different varieties of lentils as well as how to cook them. See our Ultimate Guide to Lentils.

The Steps for Making The Best Lentil Soup

Like quite a few of the soup recipes on Inspired Taste, this lentil soup is very simple to make. Let’s quickly walk through the steps:

Step 1: Cook onions and carrots in a large pot (I use my Dutch oven) until they begin to soften and are starting to smell sweet. If you have them in the fridge, celery or fennel would be lovely added to the pot, too.

Step 2: Stir in garlic, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. I only cook the aromatics for 30 seconds or so. This short time allows the garlic and spices to warm up, which I think helps them release even more flavor to the soup.

Step 3: Rinse and pick through the lentils. I add the lentils dry (uncooked) to the pot, but before doing that, I make sure to rinse them under running water. I also quickly look through them to make sure anything that isn’t a lentil is removed (sometimes other beans or grains sneak in, especially when you get them from the bulk aisle).

I add uncooked lentils that have been rinsed under cold water.

Step 4: Add the lentils and broth. With almost all the soup ingredients in the pot, I bring the soup to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the lentils are soft. This takes 30 to 40 minutes.

Step 5: Taste and season the soup then stir in greens. Whether you use kale or spinach in the soup, you only need to cook them for a few minutes before serving.

The greens (like kale or spinach) only need a few minutes of cooking in the soup before you serve.

Step 6: Add fresh lemon juice and fresh herbs. Just before serving, I squeeze lots of fresh lemon juice into the soup. This brightens all the flavors and really makes the soup taste fresh and fantastic. Fresh herbs like dill or parsley are also a nice touch.

As you can see from our photos, I add slices of lemon to the soup, too. This is completely optional, but it does add even more lemony flavor and cues whoever you are serving the soup to that we’ve added lemon.

Should I Blend Lentil Soup?

Whether you blend the soup is entirely up to you. Lots of recipes for lentil soup call for blending all or part of the soup the thicken it. I don’t usually do this since I think the soup is thick enough and I enjoy the combination of broth and the texture of whole cooked lentils.

If you do want to blend the soup, use an immersion blender or a stand blender with the stopper removed and a paper towel placed over the hole. This way, as you blend the hot liquid, steam can be released (not doing this can cause quite a mess).

Make Ahead and Storing

Lentil soup will keep well for up to four days in the fridge and in my opinion, gets better over time. You might find that the lentils absorb some of the extra liquid in the soup as it sits in the fridge. To bring it back to more of a soup-like consistency, simply add a splash of water or broth before reheating.

You can also freeze the soup. It should keep for several months. Simply defrost and reheat before serving.

Possible Variations:

Feel free to get creative and customize this Turkish lentil soup recipe however you prefer! For example, feel free to…

  • Make a chili sauce drizzle: Some of the lentil soups we tried in Istanbul were drizzled with chili oil, which was delicious. To make it, simply melt a few tablespoons of butter (or olive oil), stir in a teaspoon or two of Aleppo chilis until combined, then drizzle over the soup in serving bowls.
  • Add garlic: Garlic doesn’t seem to be as traditional in authentic Turkish lentil soup, but I like adding an extra clove or two (pressed or minced) to the veggie sauté for extra flavor.
  • Omit the potato: Some places told us that they thickened their soup with a roux instead of a potato, which you are welcome to do instead if you would like to omit the potato.
  • Make it vegan: Just opt to use olive oil, and vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and you’re good to go!