40-Minute Lemony Red Lentil Soup

Created by Laura Wright
4.96 from 21 votes

Lemony red lentil soup with spinach and 7 spices is naturally vegan and gluten-free, comes together in one pot in about 40 minutes, and uses plenty of pantry ingredients. Satisfying, silky textured, and flavourful with Tamari, garlic, spices, and fresh lemon juice.

An overhead shot of a bowl of lemony lentil soup garnished with chopped parsley and a crust of baguette sticking out. There is a lemon slice and linen napkin nearby.
An overhead shot of a pot of lemony lentil soup with spinach. The soup is garnished with chopped parsley and chili crisp. A ladle is sticking out of the pot of soup.
An overhead shot shows ingredients for a lemony lentil soup with spinach and 7 spices.
An overhead shot shows a hand using a spoon to stir together a blend of 7 spices.
An overhead shot shows prepped vegetables, spices, and split red lentils.

I finally caught a case of covid about 2 weeks ago and it knocked me out. I basically ate bread for a week straight and felt pretty crummy for 10 days or so. When I finally started feeling better and more like myself, I was craving simple, nourishing food A lemony red lentil soup with lots of pantry-friendly ingredients and some baby spinach fit the bill. I love that this hearty one-pot meal comes together in about 40 minutes on the stovetop thanks in part to the quick-cooking nature of split red lentils. The texture gets nice and silky as the lentils cook down.

I have you make up a spice blend first. The blend makes enough for 2 batches of soup, and is also lovely on roasted veggies. Aside from that, this is a pretty simple affair featuring traditional soup-making methods. Sauté the base vegetables for a full 10 minutes to get the flavour developed, add garlic, spices and lemon zest. Then go in with the red split lentils and vegetable stock. We let it simmer away until the lentils are getting mushy, about 10 minutes. Then we go in with Tamari, salt, pepper, baby spinach, and fresh lemon juice. Pretty easy and very flavourful.

Some tips for making this lemony red lentil soup:

  • You might find that the Tamari makes this soup salty enough. I would add that in, stir, give it a taste, and go from there. Same goes for the lemon. I really love a lot of acidity in my food, so I use a full 2 tablespoons. I would start with 1 tablespoon and see how you like it first.
  • I love serving this with a bit of chili crisp on top.
  • The spice blend makes enough for about 2 batches of soup
  • If you want to make this ahead, I recommend making it right up to the point of adding the Tamari. Cool it down and pack into containers. Then reheat portions with fresh lemon juice and the spinach. This keeps the flavour of the lemon intact and the spinach from getting too squidgy.

I have a history of lemony soups! For more inspiration within this flavour profile, check out my Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale and my Lemony Chickpea Soup with Spinach & Potatoes. Like this lemon red lentil soup, these recipes also come together in about 40 minutes with simple ingredients.

An overhead shot of a bowl of lemony lentil soup garnished with chopped parsley and a crust of baguette sticking out. There is a lemon slice and linen napkin nearby.

40-Minute Lemony Red Lentil Soup

Lemony red lentil soup with spinach and 7 spices is naturally vegan and gluten-free, comes together in one pot in about 40 minutes, and uses plenty of pantry ingredients. Satisfying, silky textured, and flavourful with Tamari, garlic, spices, and fresh lemon juice.
4.96 from 21 votes
An overhead shot of a bowl of lemony lentil soup garnished with chopped parsley and a crust of baguette sticking out. There is a lemon slice and linen napkin nearby.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 21 minutes
Total Time: 41 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

7 Spice Blend

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • ½ teaspoon ground chillies/chili flakes/Aleppo pepper

Lemony Lentil Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, small dice (about ½ cup diced shallots)
  • 2 sticks celery, small dice
  • 2 medium carrots, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons 7 Spice Blend (see above)
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 ¼ cups split red lentils
  • 5-6 cups vegetable stock (depending on how thick/thin you want your soup)
  • 1 tablespoon Tamari
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups baby spinach, lightly packed
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • chopped parsley for serving (optional)

Notes

  • You might find that the Tamari makes this soup salty enough! I would add that in, stir, give it a taste, and go from there. Same goes for the lemon. I really love a lot of acidity in my food, so I use a full 2 tablespoons. I would start with 1 tablespoon and see how you like it first.
  • I love serving this with a bit of chili crisp on top.
  • The spice blend makes enough for about 2 batches of soup
  • If you want to make this ahead, I recommend making it right up to the point of adding the Tamari. Cool it down and pack into containers. Then reheat portions with fresh lemon juice and the spinach. This keeps the flavour of the lemon intact and the spinach from getting too squidgy.

Instructions

  • Make the spice blend. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, coriander, dried thyme, sumac, and ground chillies. Stir together until combined and set aside.
  • Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once it's hot, add the olive oil and swirl it around. Add the shallots, celery, and carrots to the pot and stir. Sauté this mixture for 10 full minutes, or until vegetables are soft on the edges and shallots are translucent. If the vegetables are browning too fast, lower the heat.
  • Add the garlic, 7 spice blend, and lemon zest. Stir and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the red split lentils and stir. Add the vegetable stock and stir. Place the lid on top of the pot, slightly askew and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer until lentils are soft and breaking apart, about 10-12 minutes. Keep checking in and stirring it up here and there.
  • Add the Tamari to the soup and stir. Give it a taste and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Stir in the lemon juice and check the soup for seasoning one more time. Serve the soup hot with chopped parsley, extra pepper, extra lemon etc!
An overhead shot of a bowl of lemony lentil soup garnished with chopped parsley and a crust of baguette sticking out. There is a lemon slice and linen napkin nearby.
15/02/2023 (Last Updated 09/08/2023)
Posted in: autumn, carrots, creamy, gluten free, lentils, main course, nut free, quick, refined sugar-free, salty, soup, sour, spring, summer, umami, vegan, winter

15 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Mia

    I j ust made this soup added mushrooms as well; I should have stopped at 4 cups of broth for thickness…The 7 blend spice mix do you use in other recipes? ( I have left over).

    How’s this for freezing; a lot of soup for one person…

    Thank you for the recipe…

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Mia,
      The soup freezes really nicely and I recommend using the leftover spice mix for roasted potatoes and other roasted vegetables!
      -L

  • Fernanda

    5 stars
    So, so, so yummy. I’m usually not a fan of lentils but this recipe is so perfect. The spices give it a delicious flavor, the combination of lemon zest and all the veggies are just on point. Thank you for a great new recipe to add to my list <3 Best lentil soup I’ve had.

  • Michelle

    5 stars
    This actually blew my mind. I made it with no expectations because how exciting can lentil soup really be? It is so delicious and definitely a new favorite for me.

  • Sherryn

    5 stars
    Off the charts excellent! This thick, luscious and perfectly lemony soup hit the spot after what seems like an endlessly gray, cold Winter (and Spring, despite the calendar, is nowhere in sight!). It perked me right up after I inhaled a bowl. Wondered if I could forego the spinach it tasted so good but the spinach definitely adds a nice contrasting texture. Had a nice warm naan to go with it and ready to take on the rest of the day!

  • Adri

    5 stars
    Lentils and seven-spice are such a good combo! I substituted the baby spinach with Tuscan kale because it’s what I had and it still turned out great.

  • TalThom

    5 stars
    This recipe is delicious, but it’s the SPICE BLEND that doing it for me. I’ve made it in a big batch and am putting it on everything!

  • Claudia

    5 stars
    OMG – this is my new go-to for a quick, super scrumptious lentil soup. The 7 spices give this a complex flavor without any effort. I didn’t have sumac and used lemon zest toasted on the stove top.

    PS Happy that you’re back to 100%, Laura.

  • Jessica

    5 stars
    This is super yummy. I had everything but sumac. I also added in some broccoli to clean out my fridge. I will definitely make this again to use up the spice mix and thaw when I get more spinach in my CSA box.

  • Jennifer M

    4 stars
    Made this tonight for our family of 4, my husband grabbed a second bowl everyone enjoyed it! I did have to substitute a couple things because the store new me didn’t have them but I don’t think they impacted it much differently then the intent

  • Gina

    I make a version of this soup, but love your spice blend recipe here (Love sumac, Love Aleppo pepper, Love thyme) and will try that next time. I usually make it with leeks and spinach, and use Herbes de Provence, to season. Will be nice to try a new take on a much loved standard in the monthly recipe rotation. Thanks!

  • Stephanie B

    5 stars
    Laura did you read my mind posting this today?! This is just what my soul needed! So so nourishing yet easy to throw together!

    My 9 month old also enjoyed it – I just made the recipe with salt free broth, half tamari and no seasoning until I pulled her portion out and blended, a full family meal!

  • Erika

    So glad you’re on the mend! This soup sounds delicious, especially the spice blend. Amazingly, I have all the spice ingredients in the house, but no red lentils. How do you think this would work with yellow split peas? I think they would “perform” similar to red lentils, versus small brown lentils (which I do have but sound less creamy and comforting than yellow split peas)

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Erika!
      I think yellow split peas would be great here. They will probably need a full 25 minutes of simmering time though. And because of that, they may require more vegetable stock (which you can add as you go). Let us know how it goes if you try it!
      -L

  • Helen Davenport

    Making TODAY! Have everything and was wondering what to do with the carrots and spinach. Sounds scrummy. Can’t wait.