Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Lemon

This red lentil and carrot soup with lemon is a wholesome, comforting soup.  It’s simple, healthy and filling.  It has a hint of sweetness from the carrots and an earthy depth from the red lentils and some cumin.  The cumin gives it a hint of heat that’s not too spicy nor too mild – making it a warm, soothing soup.  Just before serving a squeeze of lemon and a little minced parsley is added to give it a bright, lemony kick.

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Lemon | Green Valley Kitchen

This is one of those go to soups – one that you make over and over again – and look forward to making each year as it begins to get cold.  It’s healthy, plant based and low in fat – a wonderful, nourishing soup.

Red lentils are a perfect addition to soup.  They cook faster than regular lentils and they tend to fall apart while cooking – which helps thicken up the soup. The carrots add a touch of sweetness that balances out the earthiness of the lentils and cumin.

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Lemon | Green Valley Kitchen

The final ingredients are what makes this soup so special. A squeeze of lemon and a pinch of minced parsley are added right before serving. These ingredients gives the soup a fresh and bright flavor.

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Lemon | Green Valley Kitchen

A couple of notes:

I pureed the whole soup with an immersion blender until it had a smooth, velvety texture.  If you like your soup a bit chunkier then only blended it for a bit.

I’ve added a bit of basmati rice to thicken up the soup.  If you don’t want to add rice, try adding quinoa or bulgar – either would work well.

I like to make the soup the day before – this way the flavors develop.  If making it the day before, wait to add the lemon and minced parsley until just before serving.  The bright, lemony taste is key to making this soup shine.

You’ll be adding a dollop of tomato paste and the cumin to the sautéed vegetables.  Sautéing the tomato paste and cumin with the vegetables will increase the flavor of the soup.

This soup cooks up fast, so have everything diced and prepped before beginning.  You’ll add the ingredients in as you go and the soup will come together in no time at all.

I first saw this recipe in Melissa Clark’s NYTimes column – A Good Appetite.  It was published in 2008 and I have been making a variation of this soup every year since then.  So go check out the original recipe and thanks, Melissa, for a wonderful soup.


Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Lemon

Red lentil and carrot soup with lemon. A warm, soothing, healthy soup with a bright lemony kick.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x


  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 4 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 8 twists of black pepper
  • 1 cup of red lentils picked through and rinsed
  • 1/8 cup of uncooked basmati rice
  • 8 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 half lemon sliced into 4 pieces
  • 2 tbs minced parsley


  1. In a large soup pot, sauté the diced onion in the olive oil over low heat for 5 minutes – until soft.
  2. Add carrots, celery and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste, cumin and black pepper. Sauté – stirring – for 2 minutes.
  4. Add red lentils and basmati rice and sauté for 2 minutes.
  5. Add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Puree the soup using an immersion blender to desired consistency – smooth or chunky – your choice.
  7. Just before serving, add a sprinkle of minced parsley and a squeeze of lemon to each bowl of soup. Stir to combine and serve.

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10 comments on “Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Lemon

  1. GG

    Thanks for a great soup, this recipe is a keeper! Thick, rich, delicately spiced and the lemon truly wakes up the flavors. Perfect for this cool winter evening.

  2. Traci | Vanilla And Bean

    What a fabulous recipe, Geraldine! I admit, I’m without a good carrot soup recipe, so this is a must try. I am a huge fan of red lentils so combining these with carrots sounds like a fabulous combination. Love the simplicity of this soup too.. I could eat soup all winter and never get board! The lighting on your soup is so pretty, so soft yet picks up the details of the soup. It looks so rich and hearty!! Thank you for such a delicious, comforting recipe, Geraldine! I hope it’s starting to feel somewhat like fall there!

    1. Geraldine Post author

      Hi Traci – definitely give this one a try – it’s a goodie. Thanks for your kind words as always. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving – we’re looking at temps around 85 for tomorrow – so I’ll be wearing shorts to T-day dinner :).


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