Soup Fit For a Magpie

In spite of suggestions otherwise, the Magpie likes to eat low on the food chain whenever she can, and this is a great weeknight soup that’s both quick and delicious. Served with a crusty boule and some butter, it makes a comforting winter supper. And be sure to make the full recipe, because the leftovers are even better.

lentil soup

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over high heat until hot and shimmering.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until golden, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper, and chili powder or cayenne, and saute for 2 minutes longer.
  3. Add the broth, 2 cups water, the lentils, and the carrots.  Bring to a simmer, then partially cover the pot and turn the heat to medium-low.  Simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  4. Using an emersion or regular blender or a food processor, puree half of the soup (it should be somewhat chunky, not smooth).
  5. Reheat the soup if necessary, then stir in the lemon juice and cilantro or parsley.  Serve the soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted very lightly with chili powder or cayenne, if desired.

photo/recipe credit: Bliss

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