simple red lentil soup

It’s no secret I’m a fan of soup.  Love it.  Love it.  Love it.  It’s one of those meals that gives me a sense of accomplishment.  Maybe because I don’t just assemble a bunch of ingredients and then slam the oven door shut behind them until the timer goes off.  No, soup requires near constant attention from start to finish.  I actually see the progression as the dish comes together – because I’m right there stirring.  It’s sort of a symbiotic relationship: I need the soup, the soup needs me!

This recipe came to me via the fine ladies at the North Scottsdale Farmers Market, but it originated at a wonderful site called Umami Girl, which is chock-full of amazing recipes!  This one is no exception.  The lentils are beautiful and nutty, the arborio rice gives the soup great texture – a thick, hearty meal.  A squeeze of fresh lemon adds a bright finish.  Everyone loved it!  Well, Kat ate it and put on a happy face, but she’s in the midst of a 30-days-of-complaint-free-meals campaign to earn herself an American Girl doll.  Minus the opinion of a marginally picky 6 year old, the soup was a major hit.  It’ll definitely be going into the rotation.  Enjoy!


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
2 carrots, diced
1 cup dry red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/4 cup arborio rice
3 cups water + 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving


In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to prevent browning. Add lentils and rice and stir to coat with oil. Add water, salt, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, lifting the lid occasionally to stir, until lentils and rice are completely tender and the soup is of uniform and moderately thick consistency, about an hour. Serve hot with lemon wedges to squeeze overtop.

Kitchen Notes:  The original recipe called for 6 cups of water, which made it a truly vegetarian dish.  I opted for 3 cups water and 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock.  The option is yours.


4 responses

    • I hadn’t used red, either, but they’re wonderful in this soup. I’m not sure, though, how much they’re supposed to cook down. They’re very small and by the time the soup was finished, there was little left in the way of the lentils. The arborio rice is really what gives the soup the texture. Either way, it was delicious!

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