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Healthy family recipe: Red lentil soup with lemon

Try this hearty and healthy soup for dinner tonight!

A hearty and healthy soup for dinner sounds like the perfect dinner these days…at least at my house. This recipe from Melissa Clark from the New York Times is a favorite of my girls and husband, and easy to make! The soup freezes well so I always make a double batch. It's a recipe that can easily be reworked for your tastes. You can add potatoes, additional spices, and more. I usually double the tomato paste and add in more chili powder and cumin than the original recipe below. Then I top it with some toasted pine nuts and a dallop of Greek yogurt. I serve the soup with multigrain bread, and small things to munch on like cheese and olives.

Red lentil soup with lemon


  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling

  2. 1 large onion, chopped

  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced

  4. 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  5. 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  6. ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

  7. ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  8. Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, more to taste

  9. 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth

  10. 2 cups water

  11. 1 cup red lentils

  12. 1 large carrot, peeled and diced

  13. Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste

  14. 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


1. 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.

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

3. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.

4. 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.

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

Recipe from the New York Times.

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