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 one pot, home-cooked meal in January. You can have this on the table in 30 minutes and perfect to serve 4 people.
Lemon & 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 this lemony soup going with the aromatics: onion, carrots, cumin and turmeric.
Oh SO 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 soup and substitute the thyme 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.
- 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 preferably in a very powerful blender until obliterated 😉
- If you find that your soup leftovers have thickened a little too much just add a little splash of water or veggie stock to thin it out when reheating.
How Long Does Homemade Lentil Soup Last ?
Most homemade soups keep well for one week in the refrigerator. Leftovers can be frozen and stored for up to six months in freezer proof mason jars or containers. Make sure to thaw them out in the refrigerator before reheating.
Do You Have to Soak Lentils Before Cooking Them ?
Unlike beans, lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking. Specifically red lentils have a very quick cooking time of about 15 minutes which makes them ideal for quick, last minute meals.
P.S. As always, if you make this recipe remember to come back here to rate it, snap a photo and tag us with #VeggieSociety on Instagram.
Lemon Lentil Soup Recipe
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 cup red lentils (rinsed and picked through)
- 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 (omit oil for WFPB & Plantricious diets)
- 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.