Lentil Soup with Spinach

This Brown Lentil Soup is the first lentil soup I ever made, and the first time I made it was over forty years ago. Lentils were made for Middle Eastern seasonings, lemon, garlic and cumin. I always like a little heat in my food, too, and I almost always use hot paprika for that. I keep this brown lentil soup somewhat milder, though, and just use enough paprika to make the soup interesting, though still comforting. Spinach is a traditional Middle Eastern addition to the basic soup, and it makes the soup a nice meal in a bowl.



  • Brown lentils, dried, 1 lb. (about 3 scant cups)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • Spanish onion, 1
  • Carrots, 3 or 4
  • Celery, 3 or 4 stalks
  • Garlic, 1-2 TB, minced (6-8 large cloves)
  • Cumin, 1 TB
  • Salt, 1 TB (then to taste)
  • Hot paprika, 1 tsp.
  • Water, 6-9 cups (note: always start with less water – it’s easy to add during cooking to get the consistency you want)
  • Lemon, juice of 1.5-2 lemons
  • Cilantro, 1/2 bunch, minced
  • Spinach, 1/2 lb. – 1 lb., rough chopped
  • Other veggies, opt. (see note below)


  1. Mince the garlic, and petite dice the carrots and celery.
  2. Add extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of your soup pot. Add prepared veggies and garlic and saute until softened.
  3. Add the lentils and four cups of water or veggie broth per cup of lentils (about 12 cups of water).
  4. Add optional veggies, petite diced. I don’t usually do this, but if I happen to have something appropriate that I want to use up, this soup is a good place. For this batch, I had the cores of a lot of zucchini and summer squash that I had used for zucchini “pasta,” so I petite diced it and tossed it in.
  5. Add the remaining seasonings: salt, cumin, hot paprika and lemon juice.
  6. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils soften and begin to blend. I prefer to see actual lentils in my soup, so I don’t want to over-cook.
  7. With a potato ricer, mash the lentils a little to thicken the soup — again, not completely. It’s good to see those lentils!
  8. Add the finely chopped cilantro and rough-chopped spinach. Sometimes I cut the spinach in ribbons.
  9. Remove from heat. Serve with a little extra lemon and olive oil.

Lentils are a great food for vegetarians and vegans, and they can be used in so many ways. This Lentil Soup is just a good, basic recipe, and it’s quick and easy to make.

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Ideas? Would like to hear from you!