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Middle Eastern Lentil Soup Recipe – just a few basic ingredients to make this delicious, flavorful and nutritious soup. Great as a side soup or a light meal. Packed with Middle Eastern flavors, due to the combination of two very distinct spices – turmeric and cumin.

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup Recipe in a bowl, garnished with parsley.

This Middle Eastern Lentil Soup Recipe requires just 30 minutes to make. I use red split lentils that cook fast and taste delicious. You can either puree the soup after it is cooked for a smoother, lighter and creamier texture, or leave it chunky as it is.

I’m hoping you are not getting tired from the soup overload lately. But having a toddler, that stays at home with me (no daycare yet!), I have to cook something every day. Thankfully my whole family loves lentils and I cook them almost every week. This is why I often alternate between green, brown and red lentils.

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup Recipe, yellow color made with red lentils.

Cooking red lentils is the easiest and I can say that they are my favorite! I’ve also made amazing appetizer dip with them, but I most often use them in soups.


It is the combination of cumin and turmeric.

I do have some Bulgarian lentil soup recipes, that often call for cumin. Cumin is a great seasoning for lentils. But after trying a similar red lentil soup, seasoned with cumin and turmeric I was amazed by its taste and flavor! There is a Middle Eastern restaurant by my house that offers a similar soup and it is the most-popular item on their menu.

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup Recipe, yellow color, topped with lemon.

This Middle Eastern Lentil Soup is very easy to make on the stove top.

All you need to do is cook some onion, garlic and carrots for 2 minutes. Then add seasoning, rinsed red lentils and water (you can use chicken or vegetable stock). Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are fully cooked. Garnish with parsley and lemon and serve. Fast to make, simple and delicious!

What kind of lentils should you use for this Middle Eastern Lentil Soup Recipe?

Quick cooking, red lentils work best, they save time, take a lot of flavor from the seasoning and create a creamy texture, without the need of blending the soup.


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5 from 10 votes

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup Recipe

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup Recipe – just a few basic ingredients to make this delicious, flavorful and nutritious soup. Great as a side soup or a light meal. Packed with Middle Eastern flavors, due to the combination of two very distinct spices – turmeric and cumin.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6



  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped, optional
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • lemon juice for serving
  • parsley for garnishing


  • Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch Oven. Add onion, garlic and carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened, stirring frequently.
  • Add in the turmeric, salt, pepper, cumin and turmeric. Add lentils and water, stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are cooked. Add more water if needed, to thin the soup.
  • Add more salt and pepper, if needed to taste. Serve with lemon juice, (adding 1 tsp per bowl makes it taste amazing). Garnish with parsley.


Calories: 207kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 217mg, Potassium: 485mg, Fiber: 14g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1800IU, Vitamin C: 3.1mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 3.8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soups
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookinglsl or tag #cookinglsl!

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Hi! I'm Mira.

I share simple, mostly low-carb and Keto recipes, that don't take a lot of time to make and use mostly seasonal, easy to find ingredients. I'm a supporter of healthy eating, but you'll also find some indulgent treats too.

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  1. For myself it was really good! However I did not add water I added only vegitable broth and 1 veggie bouillon. If you found it bland, I would try it like this.

  2. Delicious.  Definitely as good as, if not better than, my Kuwaiti mother in law’s version.  I serve it basmati rice and a little yogurt for some extra tang.  So yummy.

  3. Delicious super easy. No need to blend. Added more tumeric and cumin when stirr frying onions, then added more dashes at end of cooking. Used stock.

  4. Thank you! This is basically my favorite lentil soup from our local Middle Eastern restaurant. I bloomed the spices a bit before adding the lentils and water, otherwise made it as written. I blended it until smooth with the immersion blender; next time I’ll leave it with more texture. The lemon makes it. Love love love this soup. I will make it often. Thank you so much!

  5. This soup is absolutely delicious and incredibly easy! I go a little heavier on the spice and if I have grape tomatoes that need using up I toss them is as well. 
    I have made this so many times and am constantly sharing this link with the recipe! Love it! 

      1. I’m so confused. I followed every step and ended up with a very water soup with almost no flavor. Is it definitely 12 cups of water when you double the recipe?

        1. Sorry, not sure what went wrong. Red lentils lack flavor. You can add some move seasoning if your choice, lemon juice, spicy seasoning or anything you desire.

  6. This soup is lovely – made it tonight! What would you suggest as a side dish if eating it for lunch? So good!