Try this bright and zesty, vegan lemon lentil soup with turmeric for a healthy and flavourful one-pot meal.

Hand using a spoon to lift a spoonful of lemon lentil soup topped with fresh cilantro from a bowl. Another bow of soup is in the background.

This lemon lentil soup is the best! Flavourful and healthy with the most delicious bright, zesty and refreshing flavour, what’s not to love?

The texture is wonderfully rich and creamy, yet it’s made without cream and is completely dairy-free (vegan too!). It’s also easy to make with just a few simple steps and everyday pantry ingredients for quick one-pot meal.

Chances are you already have everything you have on hand, so give it a try and let me know what you think!

Recipe Features

  • Dietary Needs: Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, can be made oil-free.
  • Easy to make with simple ingredients in 40 minutes.
  • Light, refreshing, zesty flavour and creamy texture.
  • High in fibre and plant-based protein (19 g per serving).
  • Stores well for hearty meals ready to go all week (freezer-friendly too!).

Ingredient Notes

Visual list of ingredients for making a lemon red lentil soup recipe.

Complete list of ingredients with amounts and instructions is located in the recipe card below.

  • Olive Oil: Substitute with avocado or use water or broth for an oil-free recipe.
  • Vegetable Stock: Any homemade vegetable broth or stock, or store-bought carton broth or bouillon cubes/powder works. Brands and varieties will vary in sodium content, so adjust added salt in the reference accordingly to suit your tastes.
  • Lentils: This recipe is best with red lentils. It can be made with green or brown lentils but would require and longer cooking time.
  • Onion: White or yellow onion is suitable.
  • Turmeric: Can be substituted with yellow curry powder in a pinch. It’s really lovely with turmeric though!

Step-by-Step Instructions

For the complete written recipe, see the recipe card below. This section shows step-by-step photos for a quick, visual reference.

Step 1: Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat then add the onion, garlic and carrot with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Cook them for 6-8 minutes, stirring often, until softened.

Onion, garlic and carrot cooking in a large soup pot with a wooden spoon.

Step 2: Add the tomato paste, cumin, coriander, paprika and turmeric and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Onion, garlic and carrot cooking in spices with tomato paste in a large soup pot.

Step 3: Add the lentils, broth and another pinch of salt and pepper.

Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer lightly for 15-18 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Lemon red lentil soup with carrots in a large soup pot on a small hot plate.

Step 4: Either use an immersion blender in the pot or transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree.

Return the blended soup to the pot if you used a blender.

Half blended red lentil lemon soup in a soup pot with a wooden spoon.

Step 5: Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice, taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Quick Tip: If you don’t have a citrus planer to make the zest, grate the lemon peel until you have 1 tsp or slice off some of the peel with a sharp knife and finely chop.

Lemon red lentil soup with turmeric in a soup pot with a wooden spoon.

Serve with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

Hand using a spoon to lift a spoonful of lemon lentil soup topped with fresh cilantro from a bowl. Another bow of soup is in the background.

Notes & Tips

  • This recipe is best with red lentils due to their soft texture when cooked. You can use green or brown lentils but the soup will have a different texture (and colour) and will require a longer cooking time (20-30 minutes simmer time).
  • Season as you go. Add a pinch of salt and pepper with the onion, garlic and carrot and again when you add the lentils and broth.
  • If you’d like to add a bit of heat, add up to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper along with the other spices.
  • This soup makes a hearty meal on its own but can also be served as a side with fried rice and lentils, a green salad, roasted vegetable salad, quinoa beet burger or a chickpea wrap.
  • Also amazing served with crusty bread, pita or naan for dipping!

Variations

This recipe is flexible as far as additional ingredients. Here are a few ways to adapt it:

  • Stir in a few handfuls of fresh spinach or kale after blending.
  • Add up to 1/2 cup celery along with the carrot, onion and garlic.
  • Add up to 1 cup cubed sweet potato, potato or squash when you add the lentils.
  • Stir in up to 1 cup cooked orzo or chickpeas after blending or serve with roasted chickpeas.
Hand squeezing a wedge of fresh lemon over a bowl of red lentil lemon soup.

Storing

  • Allow the soup to cool before storing.
  • Fridge: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge.
  • Reheating: Reheat in a pot on the stovetop or in the microwave. The soup will thicken after storing, so stir in additional water or broth to adjust the consistency if desired.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review.

Print
Hand using a spoon to lift a spoonful of lemon lentil soup topped with fresh cilantro from a bowl. Another bow of soup is in the background.

Lemon Lentil Soup

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 32 min
  • Total Time: 42 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

A hearty, healthy and delicious vegan red lentil soup with lemon and turmeric that’s easy to make and full of flavour!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil  (15 ml)
  • 1 medium onion, diced (255 g, approx. 2 cups)
  • 2 carrots, peeled & diced  (205 g, approx. 1 ⅔ cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or grated  (27 g, 1 heaping tbsp )
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (25 g)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric 
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (1.5 L)
  • 1 ½ cups red lentils, rinsed (285 g)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (45 ml)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped (12 g) 
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil (use water or broth for oil-free) in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, carrots and garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 min, until softened.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and turmeric. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds, until fragrant. 
  4. Add stock and lentils and season with another pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-18 min, until lentils are tender.
  6. Using an immersion blender, or regular blender, blend half the soup until smooth. Return soup to the pot, if using a regular blender. 
  7. Add 1 tsp lemon zest and 3 tbsp lemon juice, then stir to combine.
  8. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  9. Serve with fresh cilantro.

Notes

Storing: Let cool then store in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge if frozen. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through, adding additional stock or water to adjust the thickness, if needed.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 347
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 61 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Protein: 19 g

Keywords: lemon lentil soup, red lentil soup with lemon