Lentil Soup for the Soul

August 2nd, 2011

It’s not Ramadan without lentil soup. When the sun sets and we hear the call to prayer, we break our fast with dates and water and move onto this soup. This is our first course for iftar, the sunset meal to break the fast.

There are as many ways to make this soup as there are Arab families. There are endless variations in seasonings, garnish and proportions. Since we eat this almost every night of Ramadan, my soup is pretty simple.

Easy Lentil Soup

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 or 2 carrots, finely chopped

6 cups water and/or stock

1 cup orange lentils

½ teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon turmeric, for color (optional)

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

pepper to taste

1 lemon

Garnish: chopped parsley

1. Over medium-low heat, sauté garlic and onions until translucent. Add carrots and continue stirring for a few more minutes.

2. Add liquid and lentils. Bring to a boil. Lower temperature and simmer gently for one hour.

3. Add salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric, if using. For a smooth soup like in the photo, puree in a blender or food processor or use an emulsion blender. Alternatively, if you like the texture, leave as is.

4. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with fresh lemon slices.

 Note: This recipe can easily be doubled. It freezes well.

What soup do you eat during Ramadan?

  1. August 3rd, 2011 at 00:05 | #1

    I just made lentil soup for the first night of Ramadan, too! We also often keep freekah soup ready and when Ramadan fell during the fall, we liked to have pumpkin soup! Not traditional, but it was a hit. I make huge batches of the soups and keep 2-serving portions frozen so you can defrost whatever your palate desires that evening! Although after a full day of fasting, even Campbell’s chicken noodle soup is pleasing 😉

  2. Holly S. Warah
    Holly S. Warah
    August 3rd, 2011 at 09:29 | #2

    @Sariya Pumpkin soup sounds wonderful–so healthy. I love the idea of the small portions in the freezer. Very handy! Enjoy your Ramadan, Sariya. Thanks for reading & commenting.

  3. August 3rd, 2011 at 12:07 | #3

    We do a lamb chorba with cracked wheat and mint. Same soup every night for 30 days. I guess it’s a North African thing. 🙂 Ramadan Kareem to you and all your followers.

  4. Holly S. Warah
    Holly S. Warah
    August 4th, 2011 at 00:41 | #4

    @Clarissa Southwick Lamb chorba sounds DELICIOUS! There’s something comforting about having the same soup every night during Ramadan. Wishing you a wonderful Ramadan, Clarissa. Thanks for the comment.

  5. August 17th, 2011 at 09:01 | #5

    hi holly,
    Soup is not part of Ramadan tradition in Egypt. We usually have lentil soup (very similar to your recipe) and chicken noodle soup (no chicken pieces only broth).
    What is very traditional during Ramadan are the desserts that are only served during this month, especially a dried fruit and nut salad called Khoshaf which is only eaten in Ramadan. here’s the link: http://themonkeykitchen.blogspot.com/2011/08/egyptian-factor-dried-fruit-salad-with.html

  6. Holly S. Warah
    Holly S. Warah
    August 17th, 2011 at 09:58 | #6

    @Soha Thanks, Soha! I will try this. Sounds delicious–and healthy, too. Happy Ramadan!

  7. March 2nd, 2012 at 08:29 | #7

    Although I occasionally switch it up, we also have red lentil soup most nights of Ramadan, though I have different versions in the rotation. I like the idea of adding seasonal soups, too!

  8. Sophia
    August 14th, 2012 at 16:41 | #8

    Thank you for the lovely recipe. I made this for an Iftar I hosted at my house and my guests loved the soup. I loved the soup and thought i cooked it well for the first time. Will definitely be cooking it again very soon.

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      August 15th, 2012 at 01:16 | #9

      Sofia, So glad the soup turned out well & you were pleased with it. Thank you for leaving the comment. Wishing you a lovely Eid. 🙂

  9. Jo
    June 22nd, 2013 at 18:10 | #10

    Thankyou! Used to eat this when we lived in Qatar. Whole family loved it and it was so easy! Jo

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      July 10th, 2013 at 19:04 | #11

      Hi Jo, it’s such an easy recipe. We eat it every night of Ramadan. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Sara
    July 15th, 2013 at 22:16 | #12

    I kid you not, I have made this soup for the past three nights — and I am about to repeat tonight. Last night son1 (age 4) said, “I wish Ramadan would last forever and ever so I can never stop eating this soup.” Every new pot I’ve added more garlic (6 smaller cloves last night) and last night I added quinoa flakes with the red lentils (we don’t eat meat, so another protein source was helpful) – and 2T cumin and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. I want so badly to make your Moroccan-style lentil soup… but we literally cannot stop eating this version. The lemon slices make it so fresh! I might add a poached egg to it before sunrise. Thank you and Ramadan Karim!

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      July 16th, 2013 at 05:23 | #13

      Hi Sara, Thanks so much for your comment. It really made my day to know you enjoy the soup. 🙂 I also liked your variations. Wishing you and your family Ramadan Kareem!

  11. imrana
    July 19th, 2013 at 06:19 | #14

    do you cover the pot when you simmer or leave it uncovered, thank-you!

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      July 19th, 2013 at 18:30 | #15

      Hi Imrana,
      Either way is fine. I made it for years without covering the pot. Now I partially cover the pot. The important thing is to simmer on low heat and stir occasionally. Enjoy & Happy Ramadan!

  12. Tej
    July 25th, 2013 at 17:25 | #16

    Hi Holly,

    A few hours off the plane, and this soup is going to put us all back together. I have been looking for this recipe all year, and there it was, on your blog all along!

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      August 1st, 2013 at 00:46 | #17

      Thanks so much for trying it out! BTW, your son likes this soup, too. Apparently he ate it when he was at my house. 😉

  13. Tej
    July 25th, 2013 at 17:25 | #18

    I am eating it as I write this…

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      August 1st, 2013 at 00:48 | #19

      I love comments that involve eating & typing at the same time.

Comments are closed.