$5 Dish: Simple Persian Lentil Soup

ng_persianlentilThis simple soup is loaded with soft celery, lentils and a lovely, mild flavor combination. A combination I would have never come up with by myself-ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric. I noticed this flavor combination in one of my cookbooks (check out my Amazon store for Arabesque) and was intrigued by it. It was in a pretty involved recipe, so I decided to try it out in an easier recipe.

And it turned out lovely!! I was worried that the cinnamon would be too prominent, but it wasn’t at all. The flavors melded together beautifully for a gentle flavor that my daughter was able to fully enjoy as well as the adults.

I will say this. My family adores simple soups like this one, but if you or your family have been partaking of MSG laden, artificially flavored soups for a while, this may not taste up to par for you. So keep that in mind.

I like to have super simple meals that are also frugal on the meal rotation. I have one lentil soup that is in this category that I’ve used for years, and this soup is going right along side it in my recipe box.

And, it’s oh so frugal.

Cost Analysis

    Organic Lentils- $1.40
    Organic Onion-$.40
    Organic Apple Cider Vinegar-$.25
    Coconut oil-$.70
    Garlic and Spices-$.25
    Organic Celery-. $.40-$.50
    Sea Salt-$.25

Total Cost: $4.40

This makes 8 servings, so that would be only $.55 cents per serving!

You can add chicken broth for extra nutrition and flavor (and cost), but I didn’t have any on hand, so I made it without.

Enjoy this simple soup with some muffins or bread on the side and a nice salad.

Simple Persian Lentil Soup 8 servings
I am sure that you can add lots of different types of veggies to this soup with good results. Or add potatoes to make it more filling! If you use chicken broth, it will be even more flavorful, just make sure to use homemade, as the salt in the store bought kind will make your lentils not cook all the way. It’s vegan without the chicken broth, and using coconut oil or olive oil

    2 cups of lentils
    1/4 cup of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or whey.
    10 cups of water, chicken broth, or a combination.
    2 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee, or olive oil
    1 onion
    4 large celery sticks
    3 garlic cloves
    1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 -1 tablespoon sea salt, plus more to taste

1-The night before (or at least ten hours before you want to start making the soup), place the lentils in a medium size bowl and over with water to an inch or two above the level of the lentils and add the lemon juice, vinegar or whey. When ready to begin the soup, drain and rinse the lentils.

2-Prepare the vegetables. Peel the onion, and chop. Wash the celery, cut off the ends and cut into 1/4 inch pieces. Crush the garlic with the side of a large chopping knife (place the flat side of the knife on the garlic and with your fist give it a good hit to crush). Peel and then slice into small slices.

3-In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat until hot. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring, until they are starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two more.

4-Add the lentils, water/broth, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a low simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Add the sea salt and taste. You will probably need a little more salt.

And serve!

This post is pleased to be part of Real Food Wednesdays

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!


  1. Dr. Allison Low says

    Um, YUM! I love lentils and I love soup. This sounds like a lovely combination.

    What kind of cinammon do you use? I have recently confused myself since I learned about all of the different ones available.

    Thanks again!

  2. says

    This sounds wonderful and just in time for chilly fall weather. Felt the first chill today and made a huge pot of Turkey soup- Needed to clean out my freezer so threw all kinds of frozen misc in the pot and oh it’s yummy!

  3. Christina says

    I tried this out tonight and it is delicious. I will use a little less salt next time, as it was a little salty for my taste. I used half homemade chicken stock and half water for the liquid. I also added two bay leaves to the simmering soup. Great recipe, and easy. Thanks for sharing!

    • KimiHarris says


      Thanks for the comment! I am glad you liked it. The hint about the salt was helpful, because it made me realize that I use a very coarse sea salt that, because it’s not ground fine, will not be as much salt as a fine salt. So I adjusted the recipe. Thanks!

  4. Christy says

    My husband was just asking me when we were going to be having lentils again. Yippee for a new recipe to try out!

    Did you use fresh turmeric or dried? Just a random use for turmeric I thought I’d share — when I have it on hand I love to mix fresh turmeric into my scrambled eggs. It’s a nice change from plain salt and pepper.

    Thanks for all your great recipes!

    • KimiHarris says

      Dried. Great question. I also adjusted the recipe to clarify that. I have never been able to find fresh turmeric. Where do you get yours at?

      • Christy says

        I had never been able to find fresh turmeric anywhere until a huge, new Whole Foods opened up. I knew it wasn’t not local or sustainable, but I just HAD to try it out since I always check the markets for it. Now I pick it up every once in a while if I happen to find myself at Whole Foods and keep it in the freezer until I need it.

  5. Michele says

    Kimi, I have a question and I’m not sure where to ask it, since it doesn’t have to do with this post! I apologize in advance.
    I started a sourdough starter today per NT recipe using organic grapes for the wild yeast, and rye flour. Once it’s done and I set some aside for my next batch, I know I keep it in the refrigerator but how often do I feed it, and WHAT do I feed it?

    • says

      I use 3/4 cup of water to a cup of flour and feed it at least once a week, but it’s even better to it more often. 🙂 Feed it and let it double in size right after you’ve used some (6-8 hours?), or just take out a portion and feed it if you haven’t baked with it recently. Hope that helps. 🙂

  6. says

    When I studied abroad in Senegal, West Africa, our house cook served lentil soup once a week for dinner. It had a good taste but I soon realized I just couldn’t digest it. I wonder if it was because she didn’t soak the lentils as you suggest. I’ve steered clear of lentils ever since then, but I think I will give then another shot. The cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric sounds intriguing!.

  7. Robyn says

    Emeril has a very similar recipe to this that my family adores. The main difference is that we also use a few chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on). I brown them in the stockpot first to make some fond, then simmer them with the stew. Then I shred the meat and toss it in at the end. Just 2 thighs goes a long way to deepen the flavor. Here’s the link:


  8. says

    I’m a little confused by the liquid ingredients … 10 cups seems like a lot, so I assumed that was for soaking.

    In step 4 it says: Add the lentils, water/broth, and seasonings

    How much water/broth to use?

    • KimiHarris says


      The ten cups of liquid is actually for the soup! So that’s how much you use when the water/broth is mentioned. 🙂

  9. says

    I am making this today. I started some orange lentils soaking a couple of days ago and they are just slightly sprouted now, and they’re going into the soup, as will the chicken bone broth I made 2 days ago also. Yum!

  10. Misha Siirala says

    Thank you for all the great recipes. I am having a hard time figuring out a way to print recipes off your blog without getting all the adds and other stuff as well. Is there a “print” option I am missing?

  11. says

    I tried this recipe this week and love it. I added a little hot sauce to it, because I like my lentils with a little zing but loved the taste of cinnamon. Delish!

  12. amanda says

    this sounds wonderful! i make a soup almost exactly to this recipe, but using carrots instead of celery (since they are dirt. cheap.) and a curry powder. but i am very excited to try the cinnamon combination :). thank you for this website, it is so nice to be able to come here when i’m stumped over my menu plan.

  13. says

    Thanks for this recipe! I enjoyed it, although I accidentally left it alone for too long and burnt a layer on the bottom… 🙂

    I do have a question — I would have enjoyed this even more had I not had to keep convincing myself it didn’t have pickles in it! (I hate pickles.) Do you know what could be giving a pickle-y taste? I was thinking mayyybe the vinegar combined with the celery, but not sure such a small amount of vinegar would do that….

  14. Betty Dotson says

    I just found your Blog today & it’s an answer to prayer, for both my finances & my health, as I’m having some life-threatening allergic reactions, including a new allergic reaction to the drug I always used to counteract the allergic reactions until now!

    Thank you so much for taking the time and making the effort to share what you’ve learned in your life journey.

    My question is – I’m HIGHLY allergic to onion & since you’re already using the celery that I would normally substitute, do you think I could use some finely chopped apple for a little flavor that will be missing without the onion? If so, how much should I use to not overpower the other flavors?


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