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This fragrant Mediterranean lentil soup uses basic ingredients and it’s deliciously thick and full of warming ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and fresh aromatic herbs.
It’s also vegan, healthy, and economical. Serve it with crusty panini bread and fresh lemon juice and everyone will come back for seconds!
This easy everyday recipe is inspired by the Moroccan Harira soup that I discovered a few years ago during a charming trip to Fez.
The texture and the complex spicy flavor, the fresh aromatic herbs, everything in this soup was amazing. And we loved it so much that I have been cooking it regularly for my family ever since.
The recipe is quite straightforward, 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 the busy weeknights.
We simply love it.
List of the ingredients
- Brown or green lentils
- Canned tomatoes
- Tomato paste (optional)
- Onion (any color)
- Broth (or water)
- Spices: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper
- Herbs: flat leaf parsley, cilantro
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
How to make Mediterranean lentil soup
(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 by using a chef 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.
- Saute’ the onion in olive oil until soft and translucent.
- Stir in the spices.
- Add lentils, tomatoes, tomato paste, celery, and herbs.
- Pour in the broth, bring to the boil, and cook simmering for about 35 minutes.
- When the lentils are done, shake some water and flour in a jam jar. This is called tadouira, and it’s basically a thickening mixture to use at the end of the cooking time. Feel free to skip this step if you want to keep it gluten free.
- Stir this mix of water and flour in the soup and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Serve with chopped cilantro and fresh lemon juice to taste.
Mediterranean lentil soup ingredients
Lentils: both brown or green lentils are fine. Make sure to pick out any bad lentils, debris, and rinse them well.
Onion: use one large onion, any colour.
Celery: the recipe uses ribs and leaves to bring more aromatic flavor.
Spices: the mix of turmeric, ginger and cinnamon makes this soup so delicious. 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 as I did here.
Herbs: parsley and cilantro add extra aromatic flavor and they really 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, just make sure you adjust the seasoning to taste.
Flour: the original recipe calls for a mixture made of water and flour (called tadouira) and it’s basically a thickening mixture to use at the end of the cooking time. I use it too in this easy Mediterranean lentil recipe, but feel free to skip this step if you want to keep the soup gluten free.
Salt & pepper: I think that 1 1/4 tsp of salt is fine when using low-sodium broth, but again, make sure you adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Looking for more lentil recipes?
Here are a great collection of 25+ green lentil recipes to chose from, plus a few of our fav family staples:
- Spicy lentil soup
- Lentil tabbouleh
- Spicy tomato lentil soup
- Italian pasta with lentils
- Red lentil pasta recipe
- Green lentil soup
- Swiss chard lentil soup
- Vegan lentil soup
- Lentil kale soup
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!
Mediterranean Lentil Soup
- 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
- 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)
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges (to serve)
- chopped cilantro
- Finely chop the onion, the celery and its leaves, the cilantro and parsley. You can use a food processor or a mini chopper to prep the ingredients quicker. If so, I would advice 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 is turning translucent (5 minutes).
- Add the spices and stir to enhance all the flavors for about 1 minute.
- Stir in the tomatoes, the lentils, the celery, the herbs, the broth and the 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.
- Turn the heat off, taste and make sure 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.