New Year's Red Lentil Soup

A bowl full of goodness for the new year

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No one knows what to do with themselves in the abyss between Christmas and New Year’s.

We’re all too tired to clean, overfull from holiday indulgences, and sitting with the feeling of wanting to be productive yet not being able to accomplish a single thing.

If you do one thing, make this Lemony Red Lentil Soup.

My boyfriend’s dad is from Pakistan and his mom is from Palestine (he grew up in Canada), and he’s been showing me traditional ways of making Middle Eastern and Indian foods. Red lentil soup is one of his staples and we love it. Plus, it’s easy! I added the grated carrot because I had some carrots we needed to use and it turned out amazing.

Two steps are important to getting this soup just right:

  1. Cook the tomatoes with the sauteed onion and carrot until the oil takes on the red color of the tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes are perfect here, finely chop them and use the juices and all. M usually uses Roma tomatoes, but we had some big juicy grape tomatoes to use up so I used those. Or, if the tomatoes don’t look great at your store, crushed San Marzano tomatoes in a can work, too.

  2. The lemon really makes the dish so don’t skip it—and use fresh lemon juice.

I made a big pot of this a few days ago in my Dutch oven, and we let the pot cool to room temperature then I just stick the entire Dutch oven (with the lid) in the fridge and we’ve been eating this for lunch the last few days.

(My God, I love a big pot of food I can stick in the fridge to eat from all week.)

Lemony Red Lentil Soup Recipe

by Elizabeth Rider

Makes 8 servings
  • 2 tablespoons evoo (extra virgin olive oil)

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, grated on a box grater (about 1 cup)

  • 2 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped (or 10-ish grape tomatoes, whatever looks good)

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1-quart chicken stock or veggie stock (or bone broth for more protein)

  • 2 cups of water

  • 1.5 cups red lentils, no need to presoak them (you can rinse them, but I usually don’t)

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, more or less to taste (3+ teaspoons if your stock is low-sodium)

  • a few spins of freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (zest it first)

  • garnish: drizzle of evoo, freshly chopped cilantro


  1. Preheat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the evoo and onion & carrot; saute about 5-6 minutes until the veggies are soft. Add the tomatoes (finely chopped, include the juices and all) and saute another 5-10 minutes until the oil has taken on the red color of the tomatoes. It’s important the tomatoes are fully cooked before adding the lentils—you’ll know they’re done when the oil is slightly red.

  2. Add the garlic, cumin, a few spins of freshly cracked black pepper and a teaspoon of sea salt; saute 1-2 minutes until very fragrant, careful not to burn the garlic.

  3. Add the lentils and give them a quick stir into the oil, then add the stock and 2 cups of water. Add another teaspoon of sea salt and bring to a rolling simmer, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, about 30 minutes until the red lentils are very soft. No need to puree; red lentils break down a lot.

  4. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. The lemon is key, don’t skip it. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a drizzle of evoo and freshly chopped cilantro, if desired. Keeps in the fridge, covered, up to 5 days. Freezes well.

If you make it, let us know how it turns out in the comments on this post.



P.S. This is the only public post of The Edit to give you a taste of what’s to come.

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