Red Lentil Soup

Several years ago, a reader submitted this recipe to Gourmet magazine.  As I recall, the woman said her grandmother used to make it all the time and that it was Armenian comfort food.  I had never cooked with red lentils before; and, since I enjoyed brown and green lentils so much, I decided it was time to give red lentils a try.

Red lentils, which are actually orange in color, are smaller than brown lentils.  They cook up rather quickly so this soup goes together in a jiffy.  The soup is surprisingly light rather than the more substantial lentil soups I am used to making.  I mention it only to let you know that it is not what I consider a hearty winter soup but rather one where you would have a sandwich along with it if you were really hungry or a salad for a light lunch.  It is a deliciously savory soup that is just right for our current cooler days.

If you like lentils, I highly recommend you make this soup.  I think it’s frantastic!

Red Lentil Soup

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  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 to 3 tbl. olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or pinch of dried, crumbled
  • 2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 7 cups chicken broth [ I used 48 oz. can (6 cups) plus 1 cup water & 1 bouillon cube to make the 7 cups of broth]
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbl. fresh parsley, chopped (optional)


Sauté onion in olive oil for 8 to 10 minutes in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Add a bit more olive oil if the onions get too dry and start to stick.

Add garlic, cumin, bay leaves, and thyme; cook, stirring, one minute more.

Add red lentils, chicken broth, water, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are very soft and falling apart, about for 30 to 45 minutes.

Discard bay leaf (and thyme sprig if you have used it).  Remove and purée 4 cups of soup in blender (use caution when blending hot liquids) and return to pan.  Adjust seasonings.  You shouldn’t have to add much, if any, salt if you have used canned chicken broth.  Stir in parsley if using.

Source:  A Gourmet magazine recipe from October 2007

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