Simple and hearty red lentil soup

It is still winter here in the Bay Area even though spring is trying to break through. The temperature has dipped into the 30s this week. Even though it is often sunny, it is also pretty chilly.

It is also still definitely soup weather. I am happy to come upon a recipe for red split lentils soup while shopping at Trader Joe’s. My version (inspired by Trader Joe’s recipe which uses wine but I do not like wine in my cooking so I am omitting it) is very easy and quick. I am a fan of simple yet hearty meals as I do not have much time to cook with my very demanding job. I also believe that great food should not be fussy and complicated. This soup not only brings comfort to the soul but makes me feel like I am doing something kind for my body.

Red split lentils can be made simple or dressed up. I chose the simple version but I am sure that you can let your culinary imagination go wild and add more stuff. I am thinking that different types of veggies such as asparagus, spinach, kale, etc will be great additions. I also looked up other recipes on the internet and I saw that many recipes use tomato sauce. (Mine only uses broth.) What I like about my version is that it is clean almost without processed ingredients. It could be made vegan, vegetarian or low-sodium as well. This is also a chunky version. Other recipes I found recommended putting half of the soup in a blender to puree then mix it back in the soup. Like I already mentioned, I like to keep my soup “stress-free” by having less steps yet still delicious. I like mine as it is. Another thing, this is such a forgiving recipe — add a dash of wine if you prefer or a cup of tomato sauce which I am sure will make the soup more flavorful but canned ingredients also add more sodium which I try to avoid.

Here are some possible yummy toppings (which I will try myself next time I make the soup again):

  • Minced and sauteed garlic
  • Grilled Italian sausages
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Soft-boiled eggs


  • 1 cup split red lentils *I got mine from Trader Joe’s.
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium broth (vegetable, beef or chicken)
  • 1/2 c carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 c sliced celery (about 2 celery sticks)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes ( or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or rosemary or 1 tsp dry Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • black pepper and salt to taste
  • More chopped herbs for garnish
  • Paprika for garnish (optional)
  • 1 – 2 lemons
  1. Heat oil in a pan.
  2. Saute the carrots and celery until soft.
  3. Add lentils to coat for about 1 minute
  4. Add broth, red pepper flakes, herbs, salt and pepper.
  5. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat until tender (about 12 minutes).
  6. Add herbs and more red pepper flakes for garnish, and paprika (if using).
  7. Squeeze half of a lemon per serving. (This is important!)

Now, wasn’t that so simple? A hearty, quick and healthy meal in less than 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Let me know if you make it and what you think!

2 responses to “Simple and hearty red lentil soup”

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