Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup

24 Oct

egyptian yellow lentil soup

I stumbled across some yellow lentils (while exploring Buenos Aires’ Barrio Chino (Chinatown), a subject for another post), and as I often cook with the quite similar red lentils, I immediately bought them. Like red lentils (which you can substitute here), yellow lentils cook quickly and fall apart when cooked which makes for hearty soups that taste thick and creamy without the need to add extra fat. Confusingly, yellow split peas are also sometimes referred to as yellow lentils (and look quite similar) even though they’re actually distinct – but they should also work as a substitute here. I decided to make this Egyptian soup with simple flavors to focus on the lentils themselves. I added turmeric to boost the color (and, as a side note, turmeric actually has lots of health benefits as well) and cayenne pepper because I like my food spicy. I’m sadly lacking one of my favorite kitchen tools – my immersion blender – so I couldn’t puree the soup, as I would have liked, but cooking the soup just a few minutes longer so that the lentils fell nearly completely apart worked out just fine for me.

Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup (adapted from Dinner With Julie)
Yield: 4 – 6 servings


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups yellow lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 6 cups stock
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 3 – 4 sprigs fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • lemon wedges


  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then sautee 1 onion, diced until translucent and starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced, 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper, if using. Sautee until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Add 2 cups yellow lentils, rinsed and picked over, 6 cups stock, 1 carrot, diced, and 1 tomato, diced, and bring to a boil, then lower heat, and let simmer until the lentils are cooked and nearly falling apart, about 20 – 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in 3 – 4 sprigs fresh parsley, roughly chopped.
  5. If desired, using a blender or immersion blender, puree the soup to desired consistency.
  6. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over top.

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2 Responses to “Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup”

  1. ISHA August 8, 2014 at 3:01 am #

    I’m an Aussie married to Egyptian. I made this soup for my husband and 4 of his egyptian friends. They loooooved it and were so surprised that ‘I’ actually made it haha. Cayenne pepper is the perfect kick. I added only very little and it was just right. Thanks so much for the recipe.
    Oh I didn’t bother with the parsley but I did blend mine with a crappy stick blender I had.

    • Claire August 8, 2014 at 3:06 am #

      Great, so glad to hear it turned out well for you!

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