Carrot, Red Lentil, and Cumin Soup

Cumin and a blend of other spices add complexity to this carrot and lentil soup that is surprisingly simple to prepare.

Carrot, Red Lentil, and Cumin Soup

Welcome to your new favorite soup! This is no basic curried lentil soup -- this version combines Vanns Ground Cumin, Ground Cardamom, Garam Masala, Smoked Spanish Paprika, and Cayenne to create a depth of flavor that keeps each bite of this batch of soup exciting. Carrots and leeks add sweetness, while preserved lemon adds brightness. It's healthy, warming, and hearty -- everything you could ask for in a soup recipe.

Spices used in this recipe

Cumin Ground
Cardamom, Green Ground
Garam Masala
Paprika, Smoked Spanish
Peppercorns, Tellicherry, Grinder
Salt, Kosher
Cayenne Pepper



  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-size, heavy-bottomed pot. When shimmering, add the carrots, celery, onion, leeks, and lemon, and cook until vegetables are beginning to soften and onion is translucent, 6-10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, cardamom, garam masala, smoked Spanish paprika, and cayenne and stir to combine. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes more.
  2. Add the rinsed red lentils and broth or water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, reduce the pot to a gentle simmer. Loosely cover the pot and cook until the vegetables and lentils are tender. The best way to test the texture of the lentils is to taste them -- they should fall apart in your mouth.
  3. When fully cooked, remove pot from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot, or transfer to a stand blender in batches. (Allow the soup to cool further if you plan to use a stand blender to prevent any boiling hot liquid splashing around.)
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 12. Adapted from The LA Times.


You might also like

Lentil Salad with Cumin and Sumac

A simple lentil, vegetable, and herb salad, jazzed up with the addition of cumin and sumac.

Simple Red Lentil Dal

Simple, healthy, and delicious, this red lentil dal is the perfect addition to any Indian-inspired meal.

Harissa-Roasted Tomatoes with Lentils, Poached Eggs, and Dukkah

A fairly simple set of ingredients combines with a blend of Vanns spices to create a complex and hearty dish that your guests might not even realize is vegetarian. A perfectly poached egg on top means this dish can be enjoyed from breakfast to dinner.

Grilled Carrots with Cumin and Tahini

Carrots grilled over low heat take on a sweetness, enhanced by a sprinkle of cumin and a drizzle of tahini.

Red Lentil and Bulgur Spread (Kibbe)

Hummus isn't the only bean-based dip that's easy to make at home -- this red-lentil based spread is a vegetarian version of kibbe, a Lebanese dish that takes many forms, but always involves bulgur wheat and a mix of delicious spices.

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Spiced Yogurt

A different take on split pea soup, using yellow split peas instead of green, with a swirl of spiced yogurt to brighten things up.

Simple Lentil Soup

A simple but perfectly balanced lentil soup, great for lunch with a slice of buttered crusty bread.

Cumin, Sumac, and Chili Lamb Meatballs

Juicy lamb meatballs seasoned with a Turkish spice blend make for a delicious sandwich filling or appetizer.

Roasted Broccoli Soup with Spiced Pepitas

A lighter take on cream of broccoli soup, with a topping of spiced, roasted pepitas that heightens the toasty flavor of the roasted broccoli.

Tilapia & Black Bean Rice Bowl With Butternut Squash & Two Salsas

Rice bowls are starting to be a big thing these days, and there's a good reason. Take something a little saucy, something with some great texture, something with protein or some bite to it, arrange on top of rice, add the condiments of your choice, and enjoy your healthy, delicious, and filling meal!