Lebanese Red Lentil Soup

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Total Time
15 mins
30 mins

This is a slight variation of the lentil soup my father has made ever since I can remember. He is from Lebanon and one of the best cooks I know. My version is a combination of his and the red lentil soup served at a Lebanese restaurant in Chicago, the chef of which was kind enough to share his secrets with me. It is healthy, hearty, delicious and easy to make.

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  • 10 cups vegetable stock (or chicken)
  • 1 -2 tablespoon olive oil or 1 -2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 12 cups red lentils, thoroughly rinsed
  • 12 cup rice
  • 1 12 teaspoons Arabic seven spice (available at Middle Eastern grocery stores)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 14 teaspoon aleppo pepper (also available at Middle Eastern grocery stores) (optional) or 14 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 12 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)


  1. Sautee onions in the olive oil or butter until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the stock, lentils, and rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover partially.
  3. When lentils are broken down and rice is almost cooked (about 10 minutes), add the Arabic seven spice, cumin, salt, pepper, and Aleppo pepper, if using it.
  4. Simmer soup for another 15-20 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat and then add the lemon juice.
  6. NOTE: Add more stock or water to thin it out if it becomes too thick. At the correct consistency, you should be able to pour the soup into bowls.
  7. Serve with crusty bread and additional lemon wedges.