A cold winter night calls for a bowl of one the simplest yet most scrumptious soups you're ever going to come across: authentic Lebanese red lentil soup. This Lebanese lentil soup recipe takes me straight back to my childhood and evokes memories of cold evenings spent with the people I love most.
There's something about its simplicity and warmth that's so special. I am so excited to share it here because this recipe has always been a go-to in my home and I am pretty sure it's going to become one in yours too once you give it a try. So here goes!
Ingredients You’ll Need:
I call this a staple soup because the majority of its ingredients can be found in our home pantries. These include:
- Red Lentils: You guessed it right! It's our star ingredient here.
- Chopped Onions: You don't need to worry about any fine chopping work because you're going to blend the soup up once it's cooked.
- Water: Yep, lots and lots of water so it does count as an ingredient here.
- Bay Leaves: These are super important because they help to balance out the flavors.
- Ground Cumin: I've never had this soup without this ingredient and I always end up adding more before I eat.
- Salt: Because no dish works without it.
- Olive oil: We add this after we take the soup off the heat and it adds an incredibly rich flavor.
- Lemon Juice: A little goes a long way and gives this a wondrous acidic kick. Just remember to adjust this to taste.
- Pita bread (optional): Some toasted crushed pita bread can be sprinkled on top of this soup before serving (I highly recommend it).
What's so beautiful about this soup is that you can completely make it your own and add a few things to shake it up. Here are a few different versions you can make out of it:
- You can create a slightly heavier version of this soup by adding in some carrots and 2-3 potatoes right after you pour water over the lentils.
- Add a little rice to this dish and you've got yourself a gorgeous moujadara soup.
- Instead of plain water, use vegetable stock. You can also add in a teaspoon of turmeric for some more flavor.
- Some people fry the onions before adding them into the soup. This makes the soup a little heavier and also makes the color a bit more brown. A friend of mine does make it this way and says it adds a great oniony flavor to it so why not give it a try.
What to Serve With This Soup
- This is delicious when served alongside some oven-toasted garlic bread.
- Most people in Lebanon serve this with toasted pita bread that's often crushed and sprinkled on top of each serving plate.
- I know many friends who eat this soup with some amazing pita chips (they basically dip the chips right into it).
- Try this soup with a nice side salad or some chopped-up veggies.
To Blend or Not to Blend
This is always up to personal preference. I know people who serve this without blending because they like the texture more like that. Personally, I prefer blending it up using an immersion blender because it makes for a smoother texture and you also guarantee no one is going to discover what veggies went into the dish (always a plus if you've got any picky eaters around).
Tips & Tricks
- Make sure you add the olive oil and lemon juice a few minutes after you've taken the soup off the heat. This prevents the two flavorful ingredients from heating up too quickly and losing quality (which happens if we add them in during cooking or right after). So always remember to allow the soup to cool down just a little bit before you add these in.
- After you add the salt and cumin, make sure you give the soup a quick taste to make sure you've added just enough to please your tastebuds.
- Bring the lentils to a boil on high heat but then turn it way down and stay on low-medium heat until the lentils are tender.