Simple Lebanese Lentil Soup (Vegan Lentil Soup)

5 from 6 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

For this Lebanese lentil soup recipe (Shortbet Adas), simplicity is key. All you need are a handful of ingredients, two pots, and under 30 minutes to create a hearty yet healthy Middle Eastern vegan lentil soup. Plus, this recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and sodium-adjustable!

A serving of lentil soup and a piece of bread

When it comes to soup recipes, this red lentil soup is one of those super “versatile” options. There are variations made all over the globe, including this super simple Lebanese lentil soup! This vegan lentil soup combines several pantry staples, including red lentils with vegetable broth, onion, cumin, and parsley for a light, hearty, nutrient-dense vegan lentil soup.

Surprisingly, while I’ve shared DIYs for lentil flour and pasta made with said flour, actual lentil recipes are lacking on my blog. So, alongside a healthy lentil rainbow chard soup, mushroom lentil meatballs, and a red lentil dal, this Lebanese red lentil soup with lemon proudly sits as my third lentil recipe. Hopefully, there are many more to come with this budget-friendly, nutrient-dense ingredient.

A large saucepan with red lentil soup

Lentils are rich in fiber, protein, and several vitamins and minerals, including iron. However, this Lebanese lentil soup recipe doesn’t taste “healthy.” Instead, it’s slightly creamy, flavor-packed, and can be enjoyed year-round! More so, lentils are incredibly affordable, and this soup is particularly budget-friendly while also nourishing.

Best of all, this easy red lentil soup requires just minutes of prep and is incredibly versatile. So much so that I’ve included a list of recipe variations below. You can also make a large batch to save for later – either in the fridge for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to three months! If anything, this healthy lentil soup tastes even better on the second day!

Are you looking for more vegan soup inspiration? You might enjoy this summery Gazpacho, cream of mushroom soup, vegan potato leek soup, Thai pea soup, Creamy Roasted Garlic Potato Soup (GF | Vegan Optional), or Japanese-inspired ramen noodle soup!

The Ingredients

Ingredients for red lentil soup

This healthy lentil soup requires just a handful of low-cost, everyday ingredients, including:

  • Red lentils: red or yellow lentils are best for this soup as they break down easily for a creamy, wonderful texture.
  • Vegetable stock: I used homemade vegetable stock. You could also use bouillon cubes or a stockpot combined with water. I recommend using low sodium, so you can adjust the salt to your liking.
  • Olive oil: or another neutral cooking oil like avocado oil. For an oil-free option, use a little extra vegetable stock.
  • Lemon: fresh lemon juice helps to brighten the vegan lentil soup and add dimension of flavor. Adjust the amount to personal taste.
  • Cumin: cumin and lentils are a match made in heaven. Don’t omit this! Optionally, you can add 1 tsp turmeric.
  • Onion: you can use yellow onion or shallot for this Middle Eastern lentil soup.
  • Parsley: fresh parsley helps to add a little extra dimension to this vegan lentil soup. Cilantro would also work.
  • Salt: this may be optional, depending on how salty the stock you use is.

Optional add-ins and Variations

  • Grain: Lebanese lentil soup typically adds rice to the soup. So, if you’d like a heartier soup, you can add rice (basmati, brown, and jasmine rice work well), quinoa, or another grain of your choice. I prefer to use leftovers so I can mix them into the soup in the last few minutes.
  • Kale: thought spinach would also work; I like that kale stands up better in soups. Shred some kale leaves and then add to the simmering lentils 8-10 minutes before they’re ready, to soften. Swiss chard would also work.
  • Carrot: carrots and lentils go together like milk and cookies. To make carrot lentil soup, finely dice 2-3 medium carrots and add to the pan with the lentils. You can optionally sauté them for several minutes before adding the stock and lentils.
  • Other vegetables: as I said before, this Lebanese lentil soup recipe is incredibly versatile. So feel free to experiment with other vegetables too. For example, peas, broccoli, and green beans would work. Potato (sweet potato or regular) would also work well and will make for an even heartier soup.
  • For heat: you could add a pinch of chili/cayenne powder or red pepper flakes to the healthy lentil soup.
  • Bay leaf: adding 1-2 bay leaves to the lentils as they simmer is a great way to infuse a little extra flavor into the vegan lentil soup.
  • Other spices: I particularly like adding curry powder (adjust the heat mild, medium, or hot to personal taste) and paprika when I want a more warming Middle Eastern lentil soup. Alternatively, you could add a bit of Lebanese 7-spice.

How to Make Lebanese Lentil Soup?

Step 1: Prepare the lentils

First, rinse the red lentils well. Then add them and the stock to a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. You can skim any foam off the top with a spoon during this time – though it isn’t 100% necessary.

Steps for preparing red lentil soup

Step 2: Prepare the onion parsley mixture

Meanwhile, finely chop the onion (or shallot) and parsley.

Heat the oil in a small pan and add the onion, sauteing over medium heat for several minutes until softened and translucent. Then, stir in the chopped parsley.

Steps for cooking onion and parsley

Step 3: Combine the ingredients

Add the onion mixture to the pot of lentils along with the cumin and lemon juice. Then give the soup a quick taste and adjust any ingredients – add salt if needed, more lemon juice, parsley, etc.

Then turn off the heat and serve, garnished with extra parsley and lemon wedges.

Steps for making red lentil soup

How to Store?

Storing: store any leftover Middle Eastern lentil soup in an airtight container in the fridge for between 4-5 days.

Freeze: allow the soup to cool completely, then freeze in a freezer-safe container or silicone bags (lay flat while freezing, then you can store upright). Once frozen, you can keep them for up to 3 months. Allow thawing in the fridge (or a bowl of warm water) before reheating.

I recommend storing it in individual portions, so it takes less time to thaw and can easily be reheated in the correct portion. 

Reheat: reheat the red lentil soup either in the microwave (2 minutes, stir, then in 20-30 second increments until it’s at your desired heat) or on the stovetop until warmed through. Add some more parsley and a little additional lemon if desired.

A ladle with lentil soup over a pan

How to Serve Vegan Lentil soup?

You can enjoy a bowl of Lebanese red lentil soup alone or with a simple side such as:

A serving of lentil soup and a piece of bread

FAQs

Can I use green/brown lentils?

Technically you can, though it won’t have the same “crushed lentil” texture that’s classic for a Lebanese lentil soup recipe. The main difference is that red lentils soften a lot more, whereas green/brown lentils hold their shape. As a result, the time it takes to simmer the lentils will also increase. I recommend 30 minutes but keep an eye on it to cook them until tender and the soup has thickened slightly.

Can you make this lentil soup in an Instant Pot?

Yes, you can, though I don’t own one, so I can’t guarantee results. To use an Instant Pot, you can sauté the onion first, then add the lentils and stock, cook on high pressure for 15-20 minutes, and then, once ready, add the parsley, lemon, and any additional seasonings.

Can I make easy lentil soup with a slow cooker?

Once again, this isn’t a method I’ve tried – though I’ve made similar soups in one previously. I recommend adding all the ingredients except the parsley and lemon juice. Cook on high for between 4-5 hours or low for between 8-9hours. Then add the parsley and lemon juice and serve.

A bowl with lentil soup

Recipe Notes

  • To adapt the texture: I left this red lentil soup with lemon unblended for a light and refreshing lentil soup. However, if you’re in the mood for something a little more creamy, blend some or all the soup. I like to use an immersion blender and blend it into my desired texture. However, you could also use a blender. Pureed lentil soup will be super creamy.
  • Make this into a onepot meal: to adjust this Lebanese red lentil soup recipe to a single pot, sauté the onions in the large pan for several minutes before adding the lentils and stock. Then, add the finely chopped parsley to the soup right before serving. The flavors will blend more this way, so the onion won’t “stand out” at all, but it will still taste delicious.
  • Bloom the spices: you can bloom the cumin for extra flavor by adding it to the small pan when sautéing the onion. The same goes if you decide to use any additional spices.
  • Adjust the liquid: depending on how brothy vs. creamy you prefer your red lentil soup with lemon.
  • The best pan to use: I recommend using a heavy-bottomed pan/Dutch oven for more evenly distributed heat and a reduced risk of burning the lentils to the bottom of the pan due to “hot spots.”

More Simple Lebanese Recipes

If you try this vegan Lebanese red lentil soup recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Simple Lebanese Lentil Soup (Vegan Lentil Soup)

5 from 6 votes
By: Samira
For this Lebanese lentil soup recipe (Shortbet Adas), simplicity is key. All you need are a handful of ingredients, two pots, and under 30 minutes to create a hearty yet healthy Middle Eastern vegan lentil soup. Plus, this recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and sodium-adjustable.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 
 

  • 17.5 oz red lentils 2.5 cups
  • 12 cups vegetable stock or bouillon cubes/stock pot with water
  • 4.7 oz onion or shallot
  • 2 lemons 5 Tbsp juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 oz parsley
  • 2 tsp cumin optionally also use 1tsp turmeric powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions 

Step 1: Prepare the lentils

  • Rinse the red lentils well.
  • Add the lentils and the stock to a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. You can skim any foam off the top with a spoon during this time – though it isn't 100% necessary.

Step 2: Prepare the onion parsley mixture

  • Meanwhile, finely chop the onion (or shallot) and parsley.
  • Heat the oil in a small pan and add the onion, sauteing over medium heat for several minutes until softened and translucent.
  • Stir in the chopped parsley.

Step 3: Combine the ingredients

  • Add the onion mixture to the pot of lentils along with the cumin and lemon juice. Then give the soup a quick taste and adjust any ingredients – add salt if needed, more lemon juice, parsley, etc.
  • Turn off the heat and serve, garnished with extra parsley and lemon wedges.

How to Store?

  • Storing: store any leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for between 4-5 days.
    Freeze: allow the soup to cool completely, then freeze in a freezer-safe container or silicone bags (lay flat while freezing, then you can store upright). Once frozen, you can keep them for up to 3 months. Allow thawing in the fridge (or a bowl of warm water) before reheating.
    I recommend storing it in individual portions, so it takes less time to thaw and can easily be reheated in the correct portion.
    Reheat: reheat the soup either in the microwave (2 minutes, stir, then in 20-30 second increments until it’s at your desired heat) or on the stovetop until warmed through. Add some more parsley and a little additional lemon if desired.

Notes

  • To adapt the texture: I left this soup unblended for a light and refreshing lentil soup. However, if you’re in the mood for something a little more creamy, blend some or all the soup. I like to use an immersion blender and blend it into my desired texture. However, you could also use a blender. Pureed lentil soup will be super creamy.
  • Make this into a onepot meal: to adjust this lentil soup recipe to a single pot, sauté the onions in the large pan for several minutes before adding the lentils and stock. Then, add the finely chopped parsley to the soup right before serving. The flavors will blend more this way, so the onion won’t “stand out” at all, but it will still taste delicious.
  • Bloom the spices: you can bloom the cumin for extra flavor by adding it to the small pan when sautéing the onion. The same goes if you decide to use any additional spices.
  • Adjust the liquid depending on how brothy vs. creamy you prefer your soup.
  • The best pan to use: I recommend using a heavy-bottomed pan/Dutch oven for more evenly distributed heat and a reduced risk of burning the lentils to the bottom of the pan due to “hot spots.”
 
Check the blog post for serving suggestions and answers to top FAQs.
Course: Appetizer, Main, Side
Cuisine: Arab, Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Freezer friendly: 3 Months
Shelf life: 4-5 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups, Calories: 445kcal, Carbohydrates: 62g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Sodium: 1891mg, Potassium: 910mg, Fiber: 27g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1448IU, Vitamin C: 31mg, Calcium: 74mg, Iron: 7mg

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating