I’m not cray-cray about lentil soup. It’s boring. But I tried this light brothy flavourful lentil soup full of zing from loads of lemon juice, in an Indian restaurant in Valencia years ago. Probably about 8 years ago. And I would still think about it all the time. Enter my efforts to reproduce that soup, resulting in this light lemon lentil soup with Indian flavours, both vegan and gluten-free.
This soup just brings so many benefits to the table I can’t even name them at all, but to name a few:
- It’s full of vitamins and minerals, particularly iron, and lentils are a great source of protein.
- All that vitamin C in the lemon juice increases the iron uptake
- It has turmeric, known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties.
- It’s low calorie.
- It’s quick.
- Its a one-pot meal, so less washing up!
- As I said before, it’s vegan and gluten-free.
- Super easy to prepare, just chop an onion, crush some garlic grate some ginger, throw everything in to the pot, and done!
- It’s really tasty and comforting.
- Perfect for batch cooking.
- Freezes perfectly for make-ahead light dinners or lunches to bring to work.
- It’s super cheap to make. For the price of a lemon, an onion, some dried lentils and fresh coriander, you can easily make 3 meals.
It’s not dal (that amazing thick Indian lentil curry, if that’s what you’re looking for then try my Creamy Indian Lentils (Dal tadka)). It’s much quicker and easier to make than dal. But it does have a similar flavour, as many of the spices used in dal are used here.
This lentil lemon soup is very easy to adapt to your personal preferences. I used a ton of lemon in it (after all, it is LEMON lentil soup) but you can adjust the amount upwards or downwards. I sincerely doubt upwards, I have the highest lemon tolerance/addiction level EVER.
I adore lemons and am of the opinion that absolutely everything can be improved with a touch (or half-ton) of lemon. And there is nobody in the world (except my husband, that crazy not-crazy-about-lemon man) who can deny that a splash of lemon will improve ANY lentil dish – lemon and lentils were made for each other.
You can blend the soup or leave it chunky as I have, you can even halve the amount of lentils for a thinner soup. Sometimes I also love to throw in some baby spinach to add even more nutrients and increase the iron content.
Finely diced carrot is also a win in this soup. I used split yellow lentils, which are my favourite to use because they’re quick cooking and easily available, but red lentils would also be fabulous.
I made this recipe using my pressure cooker but you can also make it in a regular pot, it’ll take about twenty minutes for the lentils to cook through. This soup would also be perfect in a slow cooker.
Finally, this is one of the few “non-spicy” recipes I love and make. There is just a touch of spice in it, in order to really let the lemon flavour stand out. Use high quality vegetable stock or stock cubes only, I made the mistake of trying to use up some awful cheap veggie stock cubes that I had bought and
I only succeeded in ruining my enjoyment of about ten different dishes. Plain water would have been far better because at least that claggy muddy taste wouldn’t have been present. So, you’ve been warned! Now go forth and make my lovely light lemon lentil soup, and tell me about it in the comment section.
- Sunflower oil, 2 tsp
- Whole cumin, 1 tsp
- 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- Ginger, about ½ inch, finely grated
- Dried split pigeon peas/split yellow lentils/toor dal, 200g
- Cayenne 1/8 tsp
- Turmeric 1/2 tsp
- Ground black pepper 1/8 tsp
- Ground coriander 3/4 tsp
- Curry leaves, one handful (Optional)
- Vegetable stock cube, half a regular one or one Maggi masala cube
- Water, 6 cups
- Lemon juice, about 3 tablespoons (42ml)
- Fresh coriander, 1.5 tbsp chopped
- Salt to taste, I added 1/4 tsp
- Heat the sunflower oil in your pressure cooker over a medium high heat.
- Add the cumin seeds, and when they begin to crackle, add the chopped onion.
- When the onion is translucent, add the garlic and ginger.
- Stir often and cook until the garlic is lightly browned.
- Add all the other ingredients except the lemon juice, fresh coriander and salt (the ingredients from the lentils to the stock cube).
- Mix well, making sure no lentils have stuck to the bottom of the pot, lock on the pressure cooker lid, and turn the heat up.
- Cook for two whistles, then turn off the heat and bring down the pressure by running cold water over the lid of the pot until no steam escapes anymore and you can unlock the lid.
- Briskly whisk the lentils to break them up more or blend if you prefer.
- Add the salt, lemon juice, and coriander. The lemon juice is really to taste, so add half the amount and test it before adding more.
Amount Per Serving Calories 137 Total Fat 5g Saturated Fat 1g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 4g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 730mg Carbohydrates 19g Fiber 6g Sugar 3g Protein 6g