There's something undeniably comforting about a warm bowl of soup, especially when it's packed with wholesome ingredients and flavors that transport you to distant lands. If you're a fan of Mediterranean cuisine, you will love Mediterranean lentil soup that combines the richness of tradition with the nourishing power of lentils.
This vibrant and delicious soup is an embodiment of the Mediterranean's sunny flavors, blending earthy lentils with a medley of aromatic herbs and spices. From the zesty citrus notes of lemon to the savory hints of garlic and cumin, each spoonful tantalizes the taste buds, offering a harmonious symphony of tastes and textures.
In addition to its delectable flavor profile, Mediterranean Lentil Soup is also incredibly versatile. Whether you're a vegetarian, vegan, or simply trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, this soup has got you covered. It can serve as a hearty main course or a nourishing appetizer, perfect for any occasion or season.
In this post, we'll guide you through the step-by-step process of making this Mediterranean lentil soup. We will provide you with tips, variations, and suggestions along the way to making this quick and easy lentil soup recipe that you may want to make on repeat.
Simple Mediterranean Lentil Soup Recipe
1. Rinse the lentils thoroughly under cold water, then soak them in water for about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Combine the soaked and drained lentils with the vegetable broth in the pot, ensuring a thorough stir.
3. Once the mixture reaches a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and allow the soup to cook for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils have reached desired tenderness.
4. After the lentils have finished cooking, introduce mint leaves, onion, garlic and spices. Utilize an immersion blender or a Vitamix blender to puree approximately half of the soup until it achieves a smooth consistency. This will give the soup a creamy texture while still keeping some lentils intact.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In case the soup appears excessively thick, feel free to adjust the consistency by incorporating additional vegetable broth or water until it reaches your preferred thickness.
6. Serve the Mediterranean Lentil Soup hot, garnished with fresh mint leaves for an extra burst of flavor, and add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the lentil soup.
Tips & Notes
Rinse and soak the lentils: Before cooking the lentils, rinse them thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Allowing the lentils to soak for approximately 30 minutes aids in their softening and reduces the required cooking duration.
Adjust the spices: You have the flexibility to customize the quantities of cumin, sumac, and paprika to align with your personal taste preferences. You can start with the suggested measurements and add more if desired.
Garnish with fresh mint: Adding fresh mint leaves as a garnish before serving gives the soup a delightful pop of freshness. Tear the mint leaves into smaller pieces or chop them finely to release their aroma.
Serve with crusty bread or a side salad: Indulge in the Mediterranean Lentil Soup alongside a serving of crusty bread or a refreshing side salad to relish a gratifying and well-rounded meal. The bread can be used for dipping, while the salad provides a refreshing contrast to the warm soup.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2.2g
Saturated Fat 0.5g
Total Carbohydrate 35.2g
Dietary Fiber 16.1g
Total Sugars 3.3g
Vitamin D 0mcg
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
How To Store Leftover Lentil Soup
Allow the soup to cool, and then transfer the lentil soup into an airtight container that is suitable for storing liquids. Promptly place the lentil soup in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator as soon as possible. It is recommended to refrigerate the soup within 2 hours of cooking to ensure food safety and retain its freshness.
You can safely store lentil soup in the refrigerator for a duration of 4-5 days. Make sure to place it on a shelf where the temperature remains consistently cold, such as in the middle or lower sections of the fridge.
When reheating the stored lentil soup, use a stovetop, microwave, or oven method. Reheat the soup until it reaches a piping hot temperature, making sure to stir occasionally for even heating. Add a little extra vegetable broth or water if needed to adjust the consistency, as soups can thicken when refrigerated.
If you won't be consuming the soup within a few days, freezing is a good option. Frozen lentil soup can typically be stored for up to 3 months. For thawing frozen lentil soup, transfer the container to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Once fully thawed, reheat the soup on the stovetop or in the microwave until it is heated through.
What Ingredients You Will Need To Make Mediterranean Lentil Soup
Lentils, which are legumes available in a range of colors including brown, green, and red, offer a wealth of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Renowned for their nutty taste and aptitude to assimilate the flavors of other ingredients, lentils provide versatility in creating lentil soup. While any variety of lentils can be used, we suggest opting for green or brown lentils. Here are different types of lentils you can use:
Brown Lentils: Among the different varieties, brown lentils stand out as a widely accessible and adaptable option. They boast a subtle, earthy taste and retain their shape effectively during the cooking process, making them an excellent choice for soups. Brown lentils add a hearty and slightly nutty taste to the soup, contributing to its overall richness.
Green Lentils: Green lentils have a slightly peppery and robust flavor. They retain their shape even after cooking, making them a great choice for salads or stews. When used in Mediterranean Lentil Soup, they provide a pleasant texture and a slightly firmer bite.
Red Lentils: Red lentils are renowned for their rapid cooking time, as they are the quickest-cooking variety of lentils. When cooked, they have a tendency to break down and develop a creamy texture. They have a mild, slightly sweet taste and a vibrant orange color. Red lentils add a smooth and velvety texture to Mediterranean Lentil Soup, making it thicker and more comforting.
Yellow Lentils: Also known as split yellow lentils or mung dal, these lentils have a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Due to their quick cooking nature, red lentils easily turn soft and mushy, making them an ideal choice for thickening soups and stews. Yellow lentils add a creamy and smooth consistency to the soup, enhancing its overall creaminess and richness.
Incorporating diced onion imparts a savory and subtly sweet essence to the soup. Onions are a staple ingredient in many dishes and provide essential nutrients, including vitamins C and B6 and dietary fiber.
Adding minced garlic to the soup not only imparts a distinct flavor and enticing aroma but also enhances the taste profile. Beyond its flavor-enhancing qualities, garlic is renowned for potential health benefits, such as bolstering the immune system and mitigating inflammation.
The soup's foundation is built upon vegetable broth, which supplies a savory and flavorsome liquid. Look for a vegetable broth made from natural ingredients, or make your own by simmering vegetables, herbs, and seasonings in water.
Aside from vegetable broth, you can also opt for vegetable stock. Vegetable stock can add a robust and savory taste to the soup, elevating the overall flavor profile of Mediterranean lentil soup.
The bay leaf, a fragrant herb frequently employed in soups and stews, introduces a delicate earthy and mildly floral essence to the soup. Typically added in its whole form, bay leaves are removed before serving due to their tough texture, ensuring a pleasant dining experience.
Ground cumin adds warmth and earthiness to the Mediterranean lentil soup's flavor profile. Cumin is a popular spice in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, known for its distinct taste and potential digestive benefits.
Sumac is a tangy and slightly fruity spice often used in Mediterranean cooking. By infusing the soup with its distinctive sourness, sumac elevates the overall flavor profile. This spice not only contributes to taste but also boasts a rich antioxidant content and has been employed in traditional medicine for its potential health benefits.
Paprika, a lively spice crafted from dried and ground bell peppers or chili peppers, imparts a gentle yet smoky and subtly sweet taste to the soup. Not only does it elevate the flavor profile, but it also enhances the visual allure of the dish with its vibrant hue.
Salt and Pepper
Salt and pepper serve as indispensable seasonings, working harmoniously to augment the overall taste and achieve a balanced flavor in the soup. Utilize these seasonings to fine-tune the seasoning according to your personal preference.
Fresh Mint Leaves
Mint leaves are used in the soup and as a garnish in this recipe, as they provide a refreshing and aromatic touch. Mint leaves have a cooling effect and add a pleasant, herbaceous flavor to the soup.
Tomato paste brings a concentrated tomato flavor to the soup, enhancing its overall taste. It adds a hint of natural sweetness and a pleasant tanginess that complements Mediterranean cuisine's earthy lentils and aromatic spices. The tomato flavor helps balance the richness of the lentils and adds a delightful complexity to the Mediterranean lentil soup.
How To Elevate This Recipe
Before adding the lentils, onions, and garlic to the pot, sauté them in olive oil on medium heat until they are caramelized and golden brown. This will add depth of flavor to the soup.
Add Fresh Herbs
In addition to the mint garnish, you can include other fresh herbs like fresh parsley, cilantro, or basil. Chop them finely and add them to the soup during the last few minutes of cooking to enhance the herbal aroma and freshness.
Use Homemade Vegetable Broth
Consider making your own vegetable broth from scratch using a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices. This will impart a richer and more complex flavor to the soup.
While the original recipe does not include specific vegetables, you can add diced vegetables like carrots, celery, bell peppers, or zucchini to the soup. These vegetables will contribute additional textures and flavors to the dish.
For a more pronounced flavor profile, consider roasting the vegetables before incorporating them into the soup. Start by tossing diced vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them in the oven until they become caramelized and tender. Subsequently, include the roasted vegetables in the soup while it is being prepared.
Use Spices and Seasonings
Feel free to explore and experiment with additional spices and seasonings to elevate the taste and flavor of the soup. Consider adding a pinch of cinnamon, turmeric, or smoked paprika for added complexity and depth.
Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Just before serving, generously drizzle the soup with high-quality extra virgin olive oil to add a final touch of flavor and richness.
Serve with Toppings
Provide an array of optional toppings for individuals to customize their soup. These can include chopped avocado, crumbled feta cheese (if not following a vegan diet), toasted nuts or seeds, or a dollop of yogurt or vegan sour cream.
Pair with Fresh Bread
Serve the Mediterranean lentil soup with warm, crusty bread or pita on the side. This will complete the meal and provide a satisfying accompaniment for dipping.