soup sundays: lemony lentil soup

eat, Quick Meals, Soup, Vegetarian Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.  As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

[dropcap]I [/dropcap]think I have stated I could eat soup any time.  It can be the dead of summer and 90 degrees out and I could have a bowl of soup.  My dad used to make my sister and I soup all the time when we were little.  I still remember that we must have been 9 and 10 years old and we could polish off BOWLS of my dad’s soup.  When I lived with my dad in high school he would go on afternoon shift and before he left he would make me a big pot of soup that I would come home and heat up every night for dinner.  I also don’t get sick of eating the same thing every day either.  When I was single I would make a big pot of soup on Sunday, have it for dinner that night and then have it for lunch for a few days in a row.  By Thursday I would probably be sick of it and if I had any left freeze it.  

IMG_6814Soup is a way for me to pack a ton of veggies into a meal (in case you can’t tell I do like my vegetables).  Also since I am a picky eater my soups often don’t have meat in them because I hate the way meat tastes in the microwave.  All of the veggies help give the soup substance.  

There is a local restaurant chain in the Midwest that has nothing but soups.  I would sometimes pick it up for lunch but after taking one bite you knew how much sodium was in it.  I recently looked up their chicken broth ingredients and the words “natural flavors” are in it.  Natural flavors?  What is SO natural that you can’t flat out list the ingredient?  That term baffles me.  And also makes me stop buying products that have those words listed on them.  This company DOES have a great lemon lentil soup though that I have been conceptually trying to replicate.  It’s not an exact but I like the way mine turns out.

My soup is a combination of lentils (a few different kinds for variety), bell peppers, celery, onions, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, TONS of lemon juice and spices.  I do not like carrots, at all.  But I have found if you grate the carrots instead of dice them you can reap the nutritional benefits without having to taste them.  I use heirloom carrots when they are available which come in a variety of colors so it makes your food look more colorful and pretty.  Also if you are in a time crunch Trader Joe’s has already cooked lentils in the refrigerator section that you can use instead of dried lentils which will cut the cooking time down by 25 minutes at least.  In this version I used a combination of dried lentils and the already cooked ones. 


The “secret” to this soup to help make it thicker is using beans.  Not whole beans in your soup but pureed beans (thank you Evie for this trick that I now use all the time).  You just take a can or box of beans with all that liquid they come in and put it in a blender (if you have a single use smoothie maker like a Magic Bullet or Ninja this works great!) and the juice of a few lemons and puree. 
Once you add that into your soup it helps really thicken everything up.  Plus it’s another way to get more protein into your meals especially when it’s a veggie soup.  I use chicken broth in my veggie soups because I personally like how chicken broth tastes and I am picky, not vegetarian but if you were vegan or vegetarian a quick swap of veggie broth would make this 100% animal free.

Reading ingredients is important so you know what you are consuming.  This soup is quick to make, a wonderful replica of the original and the only “natural flavors” are the ones coming from the vegetables!

It looked so good that @westelmmaplerd reposted it on Instagram! 🙂
















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lemony lentil soup

  • Total Time: 21 minutes


  • 2 bell peppers diced (I prefer the sweet peppers, red, yellow or orange)
  • 1 yellow or white onion diced
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts only) sliced thin
  • 6 stalks of celery sliced thin
  • 34 carrots (if they are big just 3) grated or diced
  • 2 medium sized zucchini diced
  • 3 cups of baby spinach roughly chopped (this will wilt down, if you don’t like spinach you won’t be able to taste it)
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 16 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 quarts of chicken or vegetable broth (2 boxes)
  • 1 c of dried lentils (you can use all red, half red/half green, all green)
  • 1 box or can of either cannellini or garbanzo beans
  • 4 lemons
  • 1 box of already cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s (if you do not have these add one more cup of dried lentils to your recipe)
  • 23 TBS oregano
  • 3 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
  • 3 TBS olive oil


  1. In a large soup pot combine olive oil, onions, peppers, celery, garlic, bell peppers and bay leaves – heat on medium-medium high heat to cook vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and 1 TBS of oregano. Cook 10-12 minutes until vegetables are soft stirring occasionally. Add in tomatoes, dried lentils, 1.5 boxes (6 cups) of broth and zucchini and bring to medium high heat to get a gentle boil. Once boiling turn the heat down to medium again.
  2. In the mean time in a blender or food processor combine beans with their liquid and the juice of one lemon. Puree until smooth.
  3. Once lentils are cooked all the way add the bean puree (look at package instructions, some take 20 minutes, some take 35 minutes). Taste your soup broth. Season accordingly. If the soup is too thick for you add the remaining ½ box of broth. Add salt and pepper if necessary and the remaining TBS of oregano if your soup needs more seasoning. Add in the spinach and fresh lentils. Wait 5 minutes until the spinach wilts into soup and the flavors combine. Juice 2 lemons into the soup, if it is not lemony enough juice your last lemon, stir and serve.
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 1


  • Serving Size: 6



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