Red Lentil Vegetable Soup

Not Your Mother’s® Weeknight Cooking

The family of lentils is alot larger than one can imagine and they are prominent in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. While the humble German brown lentil is the most common one in European-style cuisine, brown ones take well over an hour to cook properly. Enter the red lentil, a bit smaller and a lovely salmon-pinkish color. And it cooks in less than half an hour. Be sure to chop the vegetables smaller than usual so they are consistent with the smaller size of the lentil and cook faster as well.


  • Cooking Method: Stovetop
  • Cook Time: About 30 minutes
  • Serves 4


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots or parsnips, finely chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro stems
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in their own juice, undrained
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 5 leaves of Swiss chard, chopped
  • 5 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped cilantro leaves, for serving


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the celery, carrot, zucchini, and cilantro stems; cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the cumin and tumeric, cook another minute. Add the tomatoes, lentils, chard, and water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and cook until soft, about 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Ladle the hot soup into bowls, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve immediately with toasted pita bread.