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. Lentils are a legume like beans and peas because they grow in pods. There are many people around the world for whom legumes are a staple in their diet and for good reason.
They’re high in protein and fiber, but low in fat. They’re also packed with B vitamins and essential minerals like folate, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.
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 Slow Cooker Lebanese Lentil Soup, Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes, and Lentils, Rice, and Caramelized Onions (mujadara).
How to Make Arabic Lentil Soup
You are going to start the base of the soup with sautéing onions and carrots. While you can technically skip this step, I think it adds so much flavor and is worth the extra few minutes.
While the vegetables are cooking, add in the warm spices. Your house is about to smell amazing, just trust me.
Time for the lentils! When you’re cooking them, please make sure you stir regularly so they don’t stick to the pan.
After the soup is done cooking, blend until smooth. You don’t necessarily have to blend if you prefer the soup a bit chunkier, but I like the creamy texture.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What makes this soup Arabic?
Arabic or Middle Eastern cuisine can be traced back centuries and are often filled with spices, aromatics, and variety based on various regions within the Middle East. The cuisine from the particular region that my family is from uses fresh ingredients, spices, and herbs. In particular, no meal is complete without olive oil, lemon, and garlic.
Can I use other lentils?
Yes but the texture, flavor, and cooking time will fluctuate depending on which ones you use.
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.
What type of blender should I use?
I love my Blendtec because it’s super easy to clean and does a great job smoothly blending everything consistently.
Are lentils healthy?
This is a tricky question because – it depends. Many popular diets, like Paleo, do not include legumes like lentils in their diets because of antinutrients like phytic acid and lectin which prevent your body from absorbing the nutrients of the legume in the first place. However, if prepared properly, these antinutrients lose their power, and you are able to enjoy the benefits of all the vitamins and minerals lentils have to offer.
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.
How do I make this soup vegan?
Simple! Just swap out the chicken stock for veggie stock.
How long does this soup keep in the fridge?
About 3 days.
This lentil soup really embodies some of my favorite things about Middle Eastern food. It’s warm and aromatic, it’s full of fresh vegetables 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.