Lebanese Lemon Lentil Soup

This easy Lebanese Lemon Lentil Soup is a one-pot meal that can be made in 30 minutes! Serve it with hummus, veggies, and pita bread for dipping. 

lebanese lemon lentil soup in a turquoise bowl on a wooden table with a side of hummus and raw veggies.

The inspiration for Lebanese Lemon Lentil Soup with red lentils comes from my favorite restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s called Taza, and it’s run by a local Lebanese family.

Their hummus, schawarma, fattoush, and falafel are must-trys, but I come back to this red lentil soup every time.

When I moved to Chicago, I had to re-create the soup. Over the years I’ve tinkered with a recipe, and finally landed on this version.

It’s easy to make and only uses one pot. It’s quick cooking too, thanks to the red lentils. The whole soup cooks in just about 30 minutes.

Lebanese Lemon Lentil Soup also happens to be vegetarian and vegan, and high in protein. It’s some seriously comforting (and healthy!) soup for a chilly day.

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links support Gift of Hospitality at no additional cost to you. I receive a commission if you choose to make a purchase through these link.

Jump to:

How to make lentil soup taste good

Red lentils are relatively bland with an earthy flavor. As a result, they need other ingredients to taste good.

Spices such as cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper add a nice flavor to lentil soup. However, the best ingredient for making lentil soup taste good is a lemon—both the zest AND the juice.

The bright, acidic citrus contrasts really nicely with the earthy flavor of the lentils, making this soup seriously delicious.


ingredients for lemon lentil soup on a white table
  • Yellow onion, carrot, and garlic add lots of great flavor.
  • Red lentils are key here—they break down as they cook, resulting in a creamy soup.
  • Turmeric adds a beautiful golden hue, and cumin adds a warm earthiness to the lentils.
  • Veggie stock or chicken stock will work well here (obviously use veggie stock if you want this to be vegetarian).
  • We’ll use both the zest and the juice of a lemon for lots of bright, fresh citrus flavor.

How to make Lebanese lemon lentil soup

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and carrot until soft.

carrots and onions sauteeing in a pot

Add the garlic, cumin, and turmeric, and sauté for 30 seconds.

Sautéing the spices before adding liquid helps them “bloom”, which releases their flavor. And the aromas are heavenly!

spices and garlic on top of sauteed carrots and onions in a pot.

Then, add the red lentils and chicken stock, and cook for 18–20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

cooked lentil soup in a pot

While the lentils cook, chop some veggies, get out some hummus, and warm up some pita bread to serve with the soup. To warm pita bread in the oven, wrap the pita in foil and place in a 350°F oven for 5–8 minutes, or until warm.

Finally, add the zest and juice of one lemon. The lemon really brightens the flavor, perking up the modest lentils into something amazing.

Garnish it with cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil. Crushed pita chips on top are delicious, too!

lebanese lemon lentil soup with a spoon in it, in a turquoise bowl.

The verdict? This Lebanese Lemon Lentil Soup tastes just like it does at the restaurant! It’s such a comforting dish on a chilly day.

I love serving it to friends who come for dinner, or for a book club. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and meat-free, so it pleases a variety of eaters while still being hearty and delicious.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do lentils need to be soaked before cooking?

Lentils do not need to be soaked. Rinse the lentils in cool running water before using. This will remove any debris.

Can I use brown lentils for this soup?

Red lentils taste the best, as they are milder tasting than other lentil varieties.

Is lentil soup vegetarian?

Lebanese lemon lentil soup is vegetarian, provided that you use vegetable stock (and not chicken stock). It’s vegan, too!

Is lentil soup gluten-free?

This recipe for Lebanese Lemon Lentil Soup is gluten-free. As always, check the labels on all store-bought products to make sure.

Make it ahead: storage and freezing

Store the soup in a covered container in the refrigerator. It will keep there for up to five days.

To reheat, place the soup in the microwave, or in a saucepan on the stove, and heat until warm.

To freeze lentil soup, let it cool and ladle it into resealable plastic freezer bags. Seal the bags and lay flat in the freezer. The soup can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.

To defrost, place the bag in the refrigerator overnight, or place the bag in a bowl of warm water, and let sit until defrosted. You may need to add more hot water as the water cools down.

green bowl full of lebanese lemon lentil soup next to a platter of crudite.

Serving suggestions

Lebanese Lemon Lentil Soup is creamy (despite not having cream in it), so it’s nice to add garnishes that contrast with the soup.

Chopped cilantro adds a fresh flavor, and crushed pita chips contrast nicely with the soup. I also like to serve it with warm pita for dipping.

You can also add crushed red pepper flakes to the top for some spice.

This is crossing cultures here, but it would also be delicious with Garlic Butter Naan or Homemade Potato Rolls.

And speaking of other cultures, if you love red lentils, you’ll love this Vegetarian Red Lentil Dal!

lemon lentil soup in a turquoise bowl on a wooden table with hummus and veggies

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!

📖 Recipe

bowl of lemon lentil soup topped with red pepper flakes in a turquoise bowl

Lebanese Lemon Lentil Soup

Published by Kate
This one-pot, Lebanese soup with red lentils is ready in 30 minutes!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Course Appetizers, Side Dish
Cuisine Lebanese
Servings 4 servings
Calories 275 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot (or 8 baby carrots), finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • For garnish: chopped cilantro and olive oil


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot. Sauté until the carrot is soft and the onion is translucent, about 4–5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, rinse the lentils in a colander under cool running water.
  • Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.
  • Add the lentils, chicken stock, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 18–20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the lentils are tender.
  • Stir in the lemon zest and juice.
  • Divide the soup among 3–4 bowls. Garnish with chopped cilantro and olive oil. Crushed pita chips are nice, too!


You do not need to soak the lentils before cooking. Just rinse them under cool running water to remove any debris. 
While the soup is cooking, chop up some raw veggies and get out some hummus. Warm some pita bread in the oven (wrap it in foil and heat for 5 minutes at 350°F). Serve the veggies, hummus, and pita with the soup! 


Calories: 275kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 16gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 513mgPotassium: 696mgFiber: 15gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2565IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 4mg
Keyword lemon lentil soup
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a star rating and comment below!

More global recipes

Similar Posts


  1. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for dinner. Followed the recipe exactly except used 4 cups chicken broth. So tasty delicious! Was amazing before lemon was added and even better after! Looking forward to the tiny bit of leftovers tomorrow and to making again soon!!

    1. Hi Jennifer, that is so great to hear—thank you! It’s one of my favorites. I’m so happy you enjoyed it.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight and was told it was the best lentil soup I’ve ever made. Paired it up with your creamy hummus recipe and raw veggies… perfect. Thanks!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve been looking for a recipe to copy my favorite restaurant lentil soup (Taste of Lebanon), so I just made a double batch of yours. It’s delicious! I only had half of a carrot in the fridge, so I supplemented with butternut squash. A few bites are sweeter than they’d otherwise be, but it’s still tasty. Thanks, Kate!

    1. Hi Courtney, that’s so good to hear! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your feedback!

  4. 5 stars
    I love the lentil soups on restaurants! Looking forward to making this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating