Spiced Lentil Soup With Walnuts and Cilantro


Simple ingredients, complex flavor—that’s the name of the game with this easy lentil soup, which comes together easily from everyday kitchen staples. The best part is its flexibility, you can use whatever lentils you have on hand—the cooking time will vary, but they all break down into a warm and comforting dish. Then, you’ll top each bowl with a rough-chopped gremolata made from walnuts, cilantro, and lemon to brighten the earthy flavors of the soup. Note: This recipe cuts down on prep time by making use of a food processor to chop the vegetables—but if you don’t have one, just chop finely by hand.

Spiced Lentil Soup With Walnuts and Cilantro Recipe
Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
6 serves


  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped

  • 1 carrot, chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped, divided

  • ½ cup olive oil, divided

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 cup red, brown, or green lentils, rinsed and picked over

  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice plus 1 tsp. zest (from 1 lemon)

  • cup chopped walnuts

  • cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems


  1. Combine onions, carrot, and 3 cloves garlic in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped.

  2. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add onion mixture and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add spices and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add lentils and stir to coat. Add broth, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, 20 to 40 minutes, depending on type of lentils (red will cook fastest; brown and green could take 10 to 20 minutes more). Stir in lemon juice.

  3. Meanwhile, combine walnuts with remaining 2 cloves garlic and ¼ cup oil in a small skillet over medium-low. Cook, stirring, until walnuts are toasted and garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro and lemon zest. Serve soup topped with walnut mixture.

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