Super easy, healthy, and incredibly delicious, this cozy red lentil soup is seasoned with Mediterranean spices and a touch of harissa for some kick! This naturally vegan and gluten-free soup is perfect for chilly evenings.

This soup was one of my favorite things to cook when I was in law school. It’s go so much going for it! For one thing, it’s a pretty cheap meal (and funds were low back then). For another, the quick throw-stuff-in-a-pot-and-let-it-simmer approach to cooking was perfect during exams time.

I wasn’t the only one that was a big fan of this soup back then. At some point a mouse moved into the kitchen of the house I was renting, residing somewhere beneath my oven. Whenever this soup was cooking, he’d pop his little head out of one of the burners that weren’t then being used and turn his nose up in the air, sniffing away.

I didn’t really mind. It was cute and I took it as a compliment. I did get a little nervous at times that I’d light a burner without realizing he was approaching, so I got in the habit of banging on the stove top to scare him away before lighting up, just in case.

We eventually did have to relocate the mouse and his family. I just wasn’t comfortable with the thought of them scampering all over my dishes and utensils while I wasn’t looking. I’m happy to say that we caught them all with humane traps and relocated them to Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, where they (as far as I’m concerned) lived out the rest of their little mouse lives happily.

Why Red Lentils?

I love the flavor and texture of split red lentils, but they’ve also got the advantage of quicker cooking time compared to other types of lentils. About 20 minutes of simmer time is all it takes for these lentils to completely soften up and fall apart.

Make sure your red lentils are split. Usually the ones available at supermarkets are, but occasionally I come across some that aren’t. If your lentils aren’t split, they’ll take much longer to cook, and your soup will have a completely different consistency.

How to Make Red Lentil Soup

Start by sautéing some onions in olive oil. Give them a chance to soften up, and then add some garlic and spices. Sautéing the spices for a minute (but no longer!) brings out their flavors.

Finally, add some broth, tomatoes and your red lentils. Let everything simmer for a bit, until the lentils are soft. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. If you like your soup on the spicy side, stir in some harissa paste at the end.

FAQ & Tips for Making Perfect Mediterranean Red Lentil Soup

  • Feel free to adjust the spices and seasonings to your liking. Use more harissa if you like extra kick, or leave it out if you’re not into heat at all.
  • Is this soup gluten-free? It sure is!
  • Leftovers of this soup keep very well for about 3 days in the fridge. The soup may thicken up a bit over time, but I personally like that! If you don’t, just thin it with a bit of broth or water.
  • Can I make this soup with another type of lentil? Perhaps, as long as the lentils you use are split. If they’re not split, the tomatoes could prevent them from cooking fully.

Check out my video to see just how easy this soup is to make!

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Mediterranean Red Lentil Soup

Mediterranean Red Lentil Soup

Super easy, healthy, and incredibly delicious, this cozy red lentil soup is seasoned with Mediterranean spices and a touch of harissa for some kick! This naturally vegan and gluten-free soup is perfect for chilly evenings.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, (diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves, (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, (or to taste)
  • Harissa paste, (to taste (optional))
  • Fresh chopped cilantro or parsley, (for serving)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add the garlic, cumin and coriander, and sauté for another minute, until the garlic becomes very fragrant.

  3. Stir in the lentils, broth and tomatoes. 

  4. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and allow to continue simmering, uncovered, until lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Thin the soup with some water if it becomes too thick while simmering.

  5. Stir in the lemon juice and harissa (if using). Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Ladle into bowls and top with parsley and/or cilantro.

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Mediterranean Red Lentil Soup

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  • Mediterranean Red Lentil Soup

    Super easy, healthy, and incredibly delicious, this cozy red lentil soup is seasoned with Mediterranean spices and a touch of harissa for some kick! This naturally vegan and gluten-free soup is perfect for chilly evenings. Recipe: https://www.connoisseurusveg.com/mediterranean-red-lentil-soup/