Greek Style Red Lentil Soup
This Greek style red lentil soup is full of bold flavor and can be on your table in under 30 minutes. Red lentils are combined with onions, carrots, garlic and tomato purée and then seasoned with cumin, oregano, thyme and crushed red pepper. The finishing touch of bright lemon juice and tangy feta makes this soup one of my absolute favorites! I love making a big batch of this soup, and freezing some so I can defrost it on busy weeknights for a super quick meal. Serve this soup with a nice big salad and some crusty bread or even toasted pita!
Greek Style Red Lentil Soup
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 ½ tsp salt, or more to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 32 oz tomato puree
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained
- Zest of ½ lemon
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- Crumbled feta cheese for garnish (optional)
- Heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil until shimmering. Add onions and carrots. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the garlic, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the oregano, cumin, crushed red pepper, salt, bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Cook for 1 minute stirring frequently until fragrant.
- Add tomato purée, water and lentils. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until lentils are fully cooked.
- Remove from heat and take out the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Purée with an immersion blender until the soup is smooth.
- Return soup to heat, and stir occasionally until it is warmed up to your liking
- Turn off the flame and add lemon zest and lemon juice. Give the soup one more stir.
- Transfer soup to serving bowls and garnish with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, parsley and crumbled feta cheese.
- Serve with your favorite crusty bread!
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Published May 11th, 2021 3:28 PM
You must remove the bay leaf before you purée the soup.
I made nearly this exact recipe tonight for dinner... only I went "curry" spices (honestly, the cumin/oregano/curry powder is 100% fine, if you don't have coriander, garam masala, etc.!), and after hitting with the immersion blender, I added about 1/2 cup of 1/2 and 1/2. I tend to bulk soups out with veggies, so in addition to the carrots I actually used tomatoes (not puree), and added celery, potatoes, and several cups of chopped rhubarb (it sounds strange, but when they hit that lemon juice, it brightens the soup indescribably!!! It simply works!).
I DID find that, making 2 cups of lentils, to make it "soupy" (it was still VERY thick, with all the veggies, for sure!!!), I needed 8+ cups of water (I added chicken bouillon to make it broth). So, if folks are finding it too thick to puree well, definitely add some more broth! (My lentils were still too firm to puree with only 4 cups of water...)
It's an absolutely *delicious* base recipe, and open to variation, can be made vegetarian or vegan, Italian/Indian/Greek/Mexican - just change up the spice profile, add some crushed red pepper, or whatever! Use whatever veggies are your favorites!
I *really* want to THANK you for bringing lentils to the forefront!!! With grocery costs going up the way they are, lentils are a WONDERFUL source of protein and fiber, and a bag of dried lentils costs next-to-nothing (you can get them at Dollar Tree - a 1-pound bag, for $1.25! That's enough for a whole meal - the pot of soup I made this evening, with all the veg, lentils, etc, filled a 5-quart pot to the brim!!!). That will feed a family for more than one meal; plenty to freeze, and this soup freezes beautifully!