Soups & Stews

My Grandma’s Red Lentil Soup

April 6, 2011 (Last Updated: December 30, 2019)

After the popularity of my Armenian Meatball Soup recipe I shared last week, I decided to share another of my family’s favorite soups. This time, it’s my grandma’s red lentil soup, studded with cubes of potato, grains of rice, and spiced up with a bit of ground cumin. Anyone who has worked with red lentils before knows that unlike other lentils, these break down and do not hold their shape. Thus this soup is very thick, almost stew-like, because the lentils break down and thicken the broth. The rice and potato add some nice additional texture and between those starches and the lentils, this is definitely a filling bowl of comfort. Thanks, grandma!

My Grandma’s Red Lentil Soup
Serves 6

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
5 cups water
2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/3 cup medium-grain rice
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the chopped onion, cook until softened. Add the broth and water, raise the heat and bring to a boil. Then add the lentils, rice, potato, garlic, cumin, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. When the mixture returns to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick, for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils, rice, and potatoes are tender. Readjust seasonings as needed and serve.

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