A quick and easy lemon lentil soup recipe with fresh thyme, cumin and a touch of saffron. Vegan, plant-based, healthy, hearty and gluten free, everything you should expect from a home-cooked meal in January. You can have this on the table in 30 minutes and perfect to serve 4 people.
Lemon and herbs bring magic to a simple pot of soup!
I wanted to do a riff on our red lentil stew from last week but without using tomatoes this time. A different flavor profile makes eating lentils on the daily actually exciting.
Instead of using vegetable stock here I opted for filtered water that I infused with just a tiny pinch of saffron threads I had in the pantry. A sweet, flowery aroma and beautiful color is what you get by just letting those two hang together while you get the base of the soup going with onion, carrots, cumin and turmeric.
Flavorful Lemon Lentil Soup!
Variegated lemon thyme is a favorite herb I grow in containers year round as it pairs wonderfully with so many dishes. You can do your own spin on this and substitute with rosemary, parsley and even mint.
Bump up the nutrition profile with micro-greens or chop up some Swiss chard leaves, kale or spinach to stir into the soup at the last minute.
note worthy: I pureed about half of the soup for a creamy rustic texture, If you are looking for an extra silky and creamy finish add a splash of coconut milk and puree the entire batch.
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Lemon Lentil Soup Recipe
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 carrot -diced
- 1/2 bunch thyme
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin + more to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 strip lemon peel
- 6.5 cups water or low sodium vegetable stock - hot
- 1 pinch saffron threads (optional)
- 1 pinch sea salt + more to taste
- 2 tsp olive oil or a splash of water
- 1 lemon - cut into wedges
- 1/3 cup micro-greens, cilantro leaves or fresh dill - for serving
- Mix the hot water or vegetable stock with the saffron threads and set aside.
- Heat up a soup pot over medium low flame. Add the chopped onion with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Sautee for 3 minutes then stir in the carrots. Sautee together for another 5 minutes then stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin and chili powder.
- Add the lentils, lemon peel and thyme and give everything a good stir. Pour in the saffron stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are cooked through.
- Taste and adjust seasonings with the sea salt to your taste. Remove from heat and discard the thyme sprigs and lemon peel. Add the turmeric and using an immersion blender puree about half the soup just to give it a nice rustic texture. Totally optional but suggested.
- Squeeze in the juice from half the lemon and serve hot garnished with the micro-greens and the remaining lemon wedges on the side.
- Lentils need No pre-soaking and are usually done in 15 to 25 minutes depending on the variety. Red lentils seem to cook the fastest 15-20 minutes.
- A cup of lentils contains about 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber, they are also a great source of folate and minerals.
- Unlike beans, lentils do not contains sulfur so they don't produce gas.