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Lentil Soup


Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

Photo © Molly Watson
This basic Lentil Soup is perfect for cold nights and hits the spot on chilly winter days. It is simple and very gently spiced and is particularly tasty when topped with the optional parsley-garlic-lemon swirl.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes


  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil (divided)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
  • 1 small hot chile, minced (add more chiles for a spicier soup, but I didn’t need to tell you heat freaks that, did I?)
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 3 cups brown lentils
  • 5 thin slices ginger
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat in a soup pot. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add 4 cloves worth of the garlic and the chile and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about a minute.
  2. Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne. Cook, stirring, about a minute.
  3. Add the lentils, ginger, and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, partially cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the lentils are very soft and starting to fall apart. How long will this take? That depends on your lentils and how dried out and potentially old they are – anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes. When the lentils are done, add salt to taste (I used about a tablespoon) and more water for a thinner soup, if you like.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the remaining garlic, the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, the parsley, and the lemon zest. Add salt to taste and let the mixture sit at room temperature until you’re ready to eat. Swirl some into each serving of lentil soup.

Note: For a creamy soup and more dishes to do, go ahead and whirl the whole thing (in batches) in a blender.
Makes 6 generous servings Lentil Soup.
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