Arabic Lentil Soup is made with hearty vegetables and brown lentils simmered with warm spices like cinnamon and cumin then blended until smooth.
My Lebanese family has made many variations of this Arabic Lentil Soup over the years. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods because it’s warm, nutrient-dense, and protein-packed. I love using lentils as a protein substitute for meat. They’re high in protein and fiber, but low in fat. Since lentils are common in Middle Eastern cooking, I tend to use them in different ways on a regular basis. Some of my favorite recipes with lentils include Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes, and Lentils, Rice, and Caramelized Onions (mujadara).
- Olive oil: Used to sauté the vegetables before they finish cooking in the broth.
- Onion: I use a white onion for mild onion flavor that caramelizes quickly for a bit of an added punch.
- Carrots: Adds a hint of sweetness to the soup, along with some brighter color and added nutrients.
- Celery: Doesn’t add much flavor, but adds a lot of vitamins and fiber.
- Garlic: Aromatic and intense flavor that is almost always used in my cooking.
- Warm spices: Cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne give this soup the warm, comforting, deep flavor.
- Lentils: I usually use brown lentils, but you could use red or green lentils as well. They’re packed with packed with B vitamins and essential minerals like folate, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Chicken broth: Makes for a flavorful base for the soup, you could easily swap for vegetable broth to make this soup vegan and vegetarian.
- Lemon juice: Adds a bit of acidity and bright flavor that helps to balance out the dish.
How to Make Arabic Lentil Soup
You’ll start your Arabic lentil soup by sautéing your onions, celery, and carrots in the bottom of a large pot, just until the onions start to look translucent. This adds a extra bit of flavor to the finished soup.
While the vegetables are cooking, add in the warm spices, garlic, and some salt and pepper to taste.
Next add the lentils and toast for a couple minutes, then add the broth, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes until the lentils are tender.
The final step for a deliciously smooth and creamy soup is to blend it once everything is tender and soft. You can do this either in a typical blender, or you can keep it in the pot and use an immersion blender.
Once smooth, you can garnish with fresh parsley or other fresh herbs.
Then serve and enjoy your Arabic Lentil Soup!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to blend the soup?
You don’t, but I prefer the creamy texture when it’s blended. Many people enjoy this soup in its unblended, chunky form as well.
Where was lentil soup invented?
Versions of lentil soup are eaten in Greece, France, and all over the Middle East, and has been eaten for centuries.
Can I freeze this soup?
Absolutely. Just let the soup cool completely before adding to freezer safe bags or containers. If you use bags, I like to double bag just in case. This soup keeps in the freezer for about 3 months.
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- Lebanese Lentil Soup with Greens
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- Lamb Vegetable Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
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This Arabic lentil soup really embodies some of my favorite things about Middle Eastern food. It’s warm and aromatic, it’s full of fresh vegetablesG and healthy proteins, and it’s best served with your family around the table.
Your spoon is waiting.
Arabic Lentil Soup
- Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add in the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until they become tender, about 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the garlic, cumin, and cinnamon. Heat until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add lentils to the pan and heat 1-2 minutes to slightly toast. Pour in the chicken broth, water and lemon juice then bring pot to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30-45 minutes.
- Right before serving, place soup in a blender and pulse until smooth and creamy, about 90 seconds. Return soup to the pot and season with additional, salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste before serving warm.