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Lemony Lentil Soup with Spinach

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Lemony lentil soup with spinach gets a boost of flavor from cinnamon, cumin, and garlic.

Garnishing lemony lentil soup with spinach with fresh lemon juice.

It should come as no surprise that I love to include lemon in most of my cooking, so I also add it to my soups. My Lemony Lentil Soup with Spinach is a filling main course full of protein and fiber, minus the saturated fat and cholesterol that is typically associated with sources of protein. This hearty meal-in-a-bowl is the perfect solution for anyone looking to eat less meat. As much as a I love meat, I have found ways to incorporate other forms of protein into our diet that are a bit more budget-friendly, and who doesn’t like variety?

Ingredients

  • Carrots: Slightly sweet in taste, carrots add color, flavor, and nutrients to this soup.
  • Celery: Even when cooked, celery can maintain a bit of crunch which adds texture along with vitamins.
  • Onions: White onion adds delicious flavor without overpowering the soup with onion taste.
  • Garlic: Nutty and sweet when it’s cooked, it softens to a buttery consistency and becomes deliciously aromatic.
  • Cinnamon: A warm spice and good source of antioxidants, it can be either sweet or more spicy depending on the variety.
  • Cumin: Another earthy, rich, and warm spice that can borderline on spicy.
  • Lentils: Delicious, hearty, and quick to cook, lentils are a great source of fiber, iron, folate, and other vitamins, while being relatively low in calories.
  • Chicken broth: To keep this dish vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead as a flavorful base for the soup.
  • Bay leaf: While you wouldn’t want to actually eat it, bay leaves add an aromatic, peppery, somewhat bitter taste that balances out and enhances other flavors in a soup.
  • Spinach: Fresh or frozen, this leafy green is high in iron, vitamin C, and calcium and an excellent source of fiber.
  • Lemon juice: Bright, acidic, fresh flavor that pairs well with the spinach and lentils.

How to Make Lemony Lentil Soup with Spinach

Cutting celery

Start your soup by preparing your ingredients, including washing and chopping your celery, carrots, and onion.

Cooking onion in bottom of pot

Then in a large pot, add some oil and heat over medium-high. Add the diced onion, carrot, and celery with some salt and pepper and sauté until it starts to caramelize.

Grating garlic into pot 2

You can mince your garlic, or use a microplane to grate it straight into the pot. Cook until aromatic.

Adding cinnamon to soup

Add in your cinnamon and cumin to the cooked vegetables.

Veggies cooking in bottom of pot

Stir until evenly incorporated, and cook an additional couple minutes to release the spices flavor.

Adding lentils to pot

Then you’ll add the dried lentils to the pot, and sauté an additional couple minutes.

Adding chicken stock to pot

Add the water, broth, and bay leaf and bring to a boil.

Seasoning soup 1

Season with some additional salt and pepper, reduce the heat, and let cook for about 35 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and tender.

Adding spinach to soup

Once lentils are cooked to desired doneness, add in your spinach leaves.

Adding lemon juice to soup

Finish your soup off with the fresh lemon juice.

Lemony lentil soup with spinach 2

Remove the bay leaf, and then serve and enjoy your Lemony Lentil Soup with Spinach!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What color lentils are the healthiest?

All lentils are good for you and are pretty balanced with nutrients, but black lentils are considered the most nutritious variety.

What protein pairs well with lentils?

Lentils are high in protein themselves, but to create a full protein, they’re best paired with wild rice, sesame seeds, or nuts.

Can I freeze lentil soup?

Yes you can! Seal it in an airtight, freezer safe container or resealable bag, and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Lemony lentil soup with spinach.

More Soup Recipes

Eat It, Like it, Share it!

Did you try this soup and like it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your dish.

Liz enjoying lemony lentil soup with spinach.

Whether meal prepping for lunches for the week, or you’re in need for a new one-bowl dinner, my Lemony Lentil Soup with Spinach is sure to please.

Your spoon is waiting.

Lemony lentil soup with spinach 2

Lemony Lentil Soup with Spinach

4.72 stars average
Lemony lentil soup with spinach gets a boost of flavor from cinnamon, cumin, and garlic.
PREP: 15 mins
COOK: 1 hr
TOTAL: 1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 8

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups carrots (chopped)
  • 2 cups celery (chopped)
  • 2 cups onions (diced)
  • 6 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 cup lentils (rinsed and sorted)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 10 oz boxes frozen leaf spinach (or fresh)
  • 1 Juice of lemon

Instructions
 

  • Spray a large soup pot with non-stick spray and heat over medium-high.
  • Sautee carrots, celery, onions and garlic for 3-6 minutes or until they start to tenderize.
  • Add salt and pepper to season and help release juices.
  • Add cinnamon and cumin directly to the vegetables and stir.
  • Cook for an additional 2 minutes to bring out spices.
  • Add lentils and sautee an additional 2 minutes.
  • Season with pepper and add water, chicken broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce for 30-45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Just before serving, add spinach and lemon juice. Bring to a boil then simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Feel free to add more cinnamon, cumin, salt or pepper.
  • Remove bay leaf before serving.

Notes

Excellent source of Vitamin A and Iron. Good source of Vitamin C and Calcium.

Nutrition

Calories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 25.5gProtein: 9.6gFat: 0.8gSodium: 524mgFiber: 10.7g

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Liz DellaCroce

Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:

20 Comments

  1. Hi Liz – do you recommend a certain kind of lentil to use, i.e. red, green, yellow? I’m not well versed with the use of lentils yet but know that there are differences in cooking time, etc. thanks in advance for your response.

  2. This looks really delicious and healthy! I’ve been eating a lot of soups to increase my breastmilk supply and I can’t wait to try this. They say warm soups help with breastmilk supply and I think it’s true since my supply is now overflowing.

  3. I made this yesterday. I think it’s my first experience with cinnamon in a non-sweet dish. It may also be the first Middle Eastern thing I’ve eaten (definitely the first one I’ve made). I got and used frozen spinach in leaf form rather than chopped due to a comment up yonder mentioning fresh spinach was used. That did this no good in the end, as it was all clumpy and stringy and hard to eat and stir. One roommate (the one who wasn’t ultimately too grossed out to eat it) said it was a dish that “defied silverware,” as it seemed to call for a fork yet had too much liquid for a fork to work effectively. I’m wondering now, though, if I was too aggressive on squeezing moisture out of the spinach. I’ve never worked with frozen spinach before… It ended up in palm-sized patties after I squished out as much liquid as I could. Any advice on that? I might just have to use chopped spinach next time… But ultimately this is delicious! The flavors are gentle and interesting. It’s very hearty. I went for seconds and regretted it once the lentils settled… lol My roomie had a smaller-than-usual serving and was satisfied with it. I might just have to use lentils more often. It might make food last longer! Thanks so much for the recipe! I’m going to excuse myself to go eat dinner now… that includes leftovers. :D

    1. Hi Sherwood – I’m so glad you wrote because this is a staple in our house and one we eat and enjoy all the time. First, I highly suggest using fresh spinach if possible. We like to add it in at the very end before serving. Second, if you can’t do fresh we use frozen loose spinach, not chopped. The chopped spinach will change the texture entirely. I’ll be sure to update the notes in the recipe to make sure this is more clear! I hope you try it again!

      1. How much fresh spinach should be used? And if I were to use frozen again, how would you suggest I squeeze it to remove excess moisture? I think I may have overdone it and that’s what caused it to be so lumpy and stringy.
        On a different note, when I added the cinnamon and cumin, it burned to the bottom of my pot pretty quickly. I think that might be why my soup turned out so dark instead of the nice light-looking stuff in your photo (it does not look like cinnamon is in there… lol). I’d kept the heat at medium-high, as that was the last heat setting mentioned (I had to guess what to turn it down to when you said “reduce”… but now that I’m re-reading the instructions, I think you meant reduce the soup, not the heat. Crap.). What did I do wrong there? Is there some way I can avoid that? Thanks so much!

        1. Use as much or as little fresh spinach as you like! We love it so usually 6 cups fresh but you could go up or down from that. It cooks way down as you know. As for the cinnamon and cumin, if it burned you might need to turn the heat down a bit or add some olive oil to the pan. Hope that helps!

          1. It does. Thank you! I feel a little better prepared for giving this another shot. :) Thanks again for sharing this recipe.

  4. I enjoyed this b/c I always have lentils in the house. They’re inexpensive and substantial. And healthy! I only had one cup of celery, so I added a package of Bella mushrooms – which I think added wonderful texture. I used an organic vegetable stock, since it was all I had in the house (instead of 4 cups water, 4 cups stock, I just did 8 cups of stock). And finally, a full 11 oz package of fresh organic spinach (fresh always better for soups I think). The soup was fantastic. Very aromatic, w/ the blend of the cumin & cinnamon. I only wish I could pull the lemon juice flavor out of the soup. I had one lemon in the house, and I will next time add extra – since I too love lemon. In the end, it was a great soup to simmer in a dutch oven on a crisp fall day. Though I am not partaking right now in a fast, I think it is a wonderfully appropriate recipe to submit to a Daniel-fast type recipe book/blog, since all the ingredients are appropriate for the religious diet, if veggies are sauteed in olive oil vs butter. Thanks !

  5. oh definitely making this soon. i just put it in my weight watchers calculator and it comes out to 4 pts per serving. I’m assuming this is 1 cup per serving?

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