Coral lentil soup with lemon

Springtime coral lentil soup (v)

Healthy and refreshing

Cool mornings and warm afternoons can be a bit of a puzzle when it comes to figuring out what to eat. It's too warm for hearty winter fare yet, too cold for summer food. If you're the go-to cook at your house, you know the happy medium can be frustrating to achieve. Well, here's a wonderful little recipe to the rescue: this coral (or red) lentil soup will warm your bones and give you a taste of summer all in one healthy bowl-full. The secret ingredient? Lemon!

Ingredients and preparation - springtime coral lentil soup (vegetarian)

  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped small
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped bell pepper (paprika) - trio (red, green, yellow)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/4  to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I use 1/2)
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 lemon, rinsed, zested and juiced
  • Optional: 1-15oz can diced tomatoes - the soup will be a truer representation of the coral. Without the tomatoes the soup is more green with a coral hue. I love it either way!
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Garnish: fresh cilantro, chopped, or freshly chopped spinach, or roughly chopped young celery leaves
rinsed coral or red lentils
Rinse lentils in a sieve
vegetables in coral lentil soup
coral red lentils added to soup vegetables
coral lentil soup prep with red pepper flakes


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot to medium-high
  • Add the onions, carrots, paprikas (bell peppers) and celery and sauté until tender (about 5 - 7 minutes), stirring frequently
  • While this is happening, add coriander, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper - do not walk away, stir frequently so it doesn't stick
  • Add the minced garlic cloves and stir for 2 - 3 minutes - at this point you'll have a fragrant mass
  • Add lemon zest (I zest the entire circumference of the lemon), tin of diced tomatoes (if you choose to use them), and lentils - stir well
  • Add the broth and red pepper flakes, and heat to a boil
  • Reduce heat to a simmer for about 35 - 40 minutes until the lentils have mostly disintegrated (20 - 25 minutes if you want them to be visible). Stir occasionally to make sure the mass isn't sticking to the bottom.
  • Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed
  • At this point you can use a hand mixer (immersion blender) to puree the soup a little bit. I omit this step as the lentils give the soup a nice consistency and I like this soup to be more broth-like. It's up to you, it's your kitchen!
  • Stir in the lemon juice and freshly chopped parsley, simmer a few minutes
  • Garnish: with chopped cilantro, or some chopped spinach, or chopped baby celery leaves, and/or a swirl of olive oil

Serving suggestion
Serve with a little crumbled feta cheese and crusty baguette.
Pair with dry white wine or ice tea.


    Coral lentil soup with lemon
    Coral lentil soup without tomatoes
    Coral lentil soup with tomatoes, lentils and cilantro
    Coral lentil soup with tomatoes