Red Lentil Soup With Lemon
Adapted from In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite, by Melissa Clark

Basically, here’s the deal – this soup is pretty much perfect straight from the book (and I rarely just follow a recipe verbatim). That’s just how this book goes though. The only thing I really changed is water. I don’t add water in addition to broth here. I prefer my soup to be a little bit on the thicker side, but you should see how the soup feels to you when you make it. Melissa has you add about a cup to a cup and a half water to the soup in addition to the stock. Also I add the Aleppo pepper because I’m slightly obsessed with it. If you can’t find any in your local grocery store/spice shop, a light dusting of cayenne or even chili powder (for that smoky effect) should do the trick.

3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (vegetable to keep the soup vegan)
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Aleppo pepper (for dusting the soup)


In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add broth, lentils and carrots. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt if necessary.

Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.

Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with Aleppo pepper if desired.

Serves 6 to 8

© 2024 Olga Massov