Mediterranean Lentil Soup

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This fragrant Mediterranean lentil soup uses basic ingredients, and it’s nourishing, thick, and full of warming spices and fresh aromatic herbs. Serve with crusty bread and fresh lemon juice for the most delicious meal.

Published Feb 2022/updated Jan 9, 2024

Top view of a blue bowl full of Creamy Mediterranean lentil soup.

This easy everyday recipe is inspired by the Moroccan Harira soup I discovered a few years ago during a short yet wonderful trip to Fez.

It’s an economical, filling meal that is brilliant for the whole family. It’s hearty, packed with plant-based protein and fiber, and the complex spicy flavors warm you from the inside out.

We loved this lentil soup so much that I have been cooking it regularly ever since.

The recipe is quite straightforward and uses pantry staples, but there’s no denying there’s a fair amount of chopping involved. The good news is that you can use a small food processor and once you have all the ingredients prepped, it’s a breeze to whip up.

And it’s so worth it!

I usually double the ingredients to make a big batch: it freezes beautifully, and it’s great having a few portions in the freezer for busy weeknights.

Serve with pita or crusty bread to make a terrific weeknight lunch or dinner.

It’s guaranteed to be incredible!

List of the ingredients

  • Brown or green lentils
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Tomato paste (optional)
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Broth (or water)
  • Spices & herbs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
The ingredients to make this Mediterranean lentil soup are arranged over a white background.

How to make Mediterranean lentil soup recipe

(Note: this is a quick description with step-by-step photos; the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)

  • Prep the ingredients first. You can finely chop onion, celery, and herbs using a chef’s knife, but a food processor or a mini chopper will do the job in no time.
  • Once these ingredients are prepped, you’re ready to start.
Top view of a mini chopper full of fresh herbs and chopped onion, celery and tomatoes in the background.
  • Sauté the onion in olive oil until soft and translucent.
  • Stir in the turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cumin.
Top top view of a white Dutch oven with chopped onion over a white background.
  • Add lentils, tomatoes, tomato paste, celery, and herbs.
  • Pour in the broth, bring to a boil, and cook simmering for about 35 minutes.
Top view of a white Dutch oven full of the ingredients to make the Mediterranean lentil soup.
  • When the lentils are done, shake some water and flour in a jam jar. This is called tadouira, which is a thickening mixture to use at the end of cooking. Feel free to skip this step if you want to keep it gluten-free (see notes below).
  • Stir this mix of water and flour in the soup and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Serve with chopped cilantro, fresh lemon juice to taste, and crusty bread.
A glass jam jar pouring a mix of water and flour in the soup.

Recipe Notes

Mediterranean lentil soup ingredients

Lentils: both brown and green lentils are fine. Make sure to pick out any bad lentils or debris, and rinse them well.

Onion: use one large onion, any color. I didn’t use any garlic here but feel free to add 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves for extra flavor if you wish.

Celery: the recipe uses ribs and leaves to bring more aromatic flavor. You can also stir in chopped or diced carrots for more texture and nutrition.

Spices: the mix of turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and ground cumin gives this soup wonderful aromatic notes. You can skip turmeric if you don’t have any, but ginger and cinnamon are key ingredients here.

Tomatoes: although the traditional recipe uses fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes work fine for convenience. The smooth tomato sauce (or passata) is perfect, but you can get the same texture by blending diced or whole tomatoes in a small food processor.

Fresh herbs: Parsley and cilantro (a.k .a. coriander in the UK) add extra aromatic flavor, and they make the difference.

Lemon: the addition of some fresh lemon juice to taste brings a touch of acidity that works beautifully with the robust spicy flavor.

Broth: I used low-sodium vegetable broth, but you can use your favorite broth if you wish, make sure you adjust the seasoning to taste.

Flour: the recipe calls for a mixture of water and flour (called tadouira). This is basically a slurry that helps to thicken the soup at the end of the cooking time. Feel free to skip this step if you want to keep the soup gluten-free.

Salt & pepper: 1 1/4 tsp of salt is fine when using low-sodium broth, but again, make sure you adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Top view of a blue bowl full of Mediterranean lentil soup with chopped cilantro.

Can I make it gluten-free?

Sure! Simply skip the slurry made with water and flour and use an immersion blender to partially purée the lentil soup. That will help to thicken the soup. Easy!

Looking for more lentil recipes?

Here is a great collection of 25+ green lentil recipes to choose from, plus a few of our favorite family staples:

If you make this Mediterranean lentil soup, or if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment, send me a message, or rate it. I would love to hear from you!

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Top view of a blue bowl full of Creamy Mediterranean lentil soup.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Mediterranean Lentil Soup

This fragrant Mediterranean lentil soup uses pantry staple and is totally delicious. The lentils cook in a thick tomato broth infused with warming ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and fresh aromatic herbs.
Recipe yields 6 servings ( 1 ¼ cup each)
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Mediterranean lentil soup
Servings: 6
Calories: 181kcal
Author: Katia

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (any color)
  • 3-4 celery ribs + leaves, chopped
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 scant Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
  • 1 can (14oz/400 grams) canned tomatoes (whole, diced or sauce)
  • 1 cup (7oz/200 grams) dried lentils, rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 5 cups (1200 ml) low-sodium vegetable broth, plus more if you prefer a thinner soup
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon fine salt, or according to taste
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) water (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour (optional)

To serve

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges (to serve)
  • chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Finely chop the onion, the celery, and its leaves, the cilantro, and the parsley. You can use a food processor or a mini chopper to prep the ingredients quickly. If so, I would advise to blend the tomatoes to get a smoother texture.
  • Warm the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion turns translucent (5 minutes).
  • Add the spices and stir to enhance all the flavors for about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, celery, herbs, broth, and tomato paste. Raise the heat and bring to the boil. Then reduce to maintain a gentle simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the lentils are done. Stir occasionally.
  • Add flour and water to a jam jar and shake. Add this flour and water mixture to the soup, add the salt, stir, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to thicken the soup partially and preserve the chunkiness at the same time.
  • Turn the heat off, taste it, and ensure you're happy with the seasoning and the consistency. Feel free to add a touch of water if you prefer a thinner soup, and adjust the seasoning with more salt or black pepper if you wish.
  • Serve with fresh lemon juice, chopped cilantro, and crusty bread.

Notes

Salt: if you use regular vegetable broth or chicken broth rather than low-sodium broth, it’s important that you taste it and adjust the seasoning at the end, as you don’t know how salty the broth is.  
 
Mediterranean lentil soup leftovers: it keeps in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. To reheat, add a touch of water until it’s thinned to the desired consistency, then gently warm over medium-low heat or in your microwave. It keeps well in the freezer, in an airtight container, for up to 1 month.
Freezable: it freezes well, too, and the thickening mixture of flour and water doesn’t affect the texture once the soup is thawed.
 
Nutrition facts: the nutrition values are for one serving and are based on an online nutrition calculator.  It’s an estimate only and it should not be considered as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. Please see my disclosure policies. 

Nutrition

Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 578mg | Potassium: 572mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 203IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 4mg

6 Comments

    1. Hi Donna! I’ve never tested the recipe in a crockpot therefore I can’t give proper instructions, but I’m pretty sure you can make it in a crockpot. x

  1. Can you use red lentils?

    1. Hi Lindsay, yes, red lentils are fine. : )

  2. 5 stars
    We loved this soup! Thanks so much for the delicious recipe. Annabell.

    1. I’m so pleased to hear that, thanks for sharing your feedback!
      Cheers x

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