This delicious vegan lemon lentil soup with turmeric is easy to make in under 40 minutes for a healthy 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.

About the Recipe

Inspired by Lebanese and Turkish cuisine, this lemon lentil soup recipe features fresh garlic, hearty lentils, carrot, turmeric and plenty of lemon for a delicious zesty flavor.

The hearty soup is wonderfully rich and creamy, yet made without cream and completely dairy-free. It’s also easy to make with just a few simple steps and everyday ingredients for quick one-pot meal.

Warm and cozy though bright and refreshing, this soup is wonderful any time of year and a great way to include nutritious lentils in your diet.

For more red lentil recipes, this Coconut Red Lentil Dahl, Vegan Slow Cooker Red Lentil Chili and Easy Vegan Red Lentil Tomato Soup are all easy and delicious too. For a Greek-inspired lemon soup, this Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup is amazing.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Dietary: Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free.
  • Health Benefits: Good source of plant-based protein and fiber.
  • Can easily be made oil-free.
  • 19 g of protein per serving.
  • Ready in 40 minutes.
  • One-pot recipe.
  • Light and refreshing flavour.
  • Creamy texture.
  • Great for meal prep.
  • Freezer-friendly.

Ingredient Notes

Visual list of ingredients for making a lemon red lentil soup recipe.
  • 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 the salt level in the recipe accordingly to suit your tastes.
  • Lentils: 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). Give the lentils a good rinse before use.
  • 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!

Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.

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 baby 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 potatoes, 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.
  • 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!

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat then add the chopped 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 red 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 regular 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. Be sure to avoid the white pith as it has a bitter flavor.

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

Serve with fresh parsley or cilantro and enjoy!

Recipe FAQs

Can I make lemon lentil soup in an Instant Pot?

Yes. To make this recipe in pressure cooker, use the Saute function to cook the onion, garlic and carrot in the oil for a few minutes then add the remaining ingredients, seal the Instant Pot and cook on High Pressure for 7 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes then release any remaining pressure.

You can enjoy as is or use an immersion blender to create thickness and texture.

Can I make this in a slow cooker?

Yes. Add everything to a crockpot and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours. Proceed with the blending and enjoy.

Can you freeze lemon lentil soup?

Yes. To freeze, let it cool transfer to an airtight container or freezer ziplock bag and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge 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.

How long does lemon lentil soup keep?

Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a pot on the stove top or in individual portions in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave.

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.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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.
Print Recipe
5 from 10 votes

Easy Lemon Lentil Soup

Middle Eastern-inspired lemony lentil soup with garlic and turmeric that’s sure to be a new favorite.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time32 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 4
Calories: 347kcal
Author: Deryn Macey

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin 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 cup of red lentils rinsed (285 g)
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice 45 ml
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup cilantro roughly chopped (12 g)
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

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

Video

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: 1/4 of recipe | Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 6g | Fiber: 11g