This soup is easy to get excited about as it is delicious, satisfying, comforting, and beautiful--but it's also, thanks to the lentils, kinda meaty. When you're eating this, it really doesn't seem like a vegetable-based soup. Garnish with thinly sliced mint.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
45 mins
total:
1 hr
Servings:
4
Yield:
4 servings
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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist
For the Lemon-Mint Yogurt:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, salt, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring often, until the onion softens and the tomato paste turns a deep brick red or brown color, 5 to 7 minutes.

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  • Add garlic, cumin, and cayenne; cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the lentils, celery, and carrots.

  • Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and vegetables are very tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, grind the mint and salt into a paste using a mortar and pestle. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and yogurt, and stir together until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  • Taste the soup and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve as-is or use an immersion blender to puree about half of the soup to achieve a creamier texture. Serve hot with spoonfuls of the lemon-mint yogurt.

Chef's Notes:

You can use vegetable broth instead of chicken if you want this animal free, or if business is slow, you can even use water. If you use a plant-based yogurt and olive oil instead of butter, you could make this fully vegan.

Other varieties of lentils will work.

If making well ahead, blanching the mint for a few seconds in boiling water and then shocking in ice water will help retain the green color once mixed into the yogurt.

If you're not into the yogurt, some crumbled feta cheese is also nice with this.

Nutrition Facts

294 calories; protein 15.8g; carbohydrates 41.2g; fat 8.2g; cholesterol 22.4mg; sodium 1654.2mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (21)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
02/24/2020
Incredibly yummy. Really good without the lemon mint sauce, but the sauce takes this to another level. Read More
(4)
29 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 24
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
02/23/2020
Incredibly yummy. Really good without the lemon mint sauce, but the sauce takes this to another level. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
02/25/2020
super good, the mint lemon yogurt was crucial for me. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
02/20/2020
Yum, turned out really tasty, although I was too lazy to do the mint in a mortar/pestle. Really felt it needed a big drizzle of olive oil on top! I had the heat on a little low and the carrots were a bit firmer and not mushy... preferred it that way. Flavors were better the next day, but carrots got softer. Read More
(1)
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Rating: 4 stars
02/20/2020
Good Soup, next time I would cook the carrots and celery with the onions at the beginning. The yogurt was not worth the effort, a good dollop of EVOO and some Parmesan was a better topper. Overall worth making again. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
03/20/2020
This is the first time for me to make red lentil anything, but I can tell you this soup has made a lentil fan out of me. My hubby and I enjoyed this tasty soup. Though have to say, not a fan of the sauce. Maybe it was the yogurt I used, but something wasn't right about it. We just topped ours with a dollop of sour cream and Aged Italian Cheese Blend...so, so good! Another Chef John winner recipe. Thanks!!!! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
02/24/2020
Absolutely Loved it. Recipe very similar but BETTER than one I’ve used in the past from The NY Times. Chef John is the best. Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/18/2020
Made it exactly as the recipe called for. My tomato paste didn't look like the one in the movie when it was cooking, maybe I didn't put as much as Chef John did or perhaps my onion amount as larger. In any case, I struggled to watch it turn to that red brick color as it was cooking. Nonetheless, the final product came out fabulous. I ground my own cumin in a mortar and pestle because I find the flavor is way bolder than with the store bought stuff. Will definitely make it again, a nice change from the brown/green lentil recipes I have made in the past Read More
Rating: 4 stars
02/19/2020
Easy, healthy. One thing, though -- 30 minutes is a long time for this simmer uncovered -- it will reduce all your liquid. I simmered for 15 minutes partially covered, -- shut off heat and just covered it to finish softening lentils. Or, you can add more stock. Grateful I had all ingredients. I get a lot of mint during summer -- I clip, rinse and freeze in vac paks to have on hand. Red lentils are great because they have none or less skin hence they do cook quicker. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
04/10/2020
Fantastic! Couldn't find mint anywhere so used parsley instead. Still had the citrusy colourful aspect of the sauce and worked fine. Read More
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