This gorgeous Lemon Lentil Soup features bright lemony flavors, creamy red lentils and plenty of fresh vegetables. It’s a naturally vegan and gluten free soup that everyone will enjoy!
Thanks to the addition of fresh lemon juice, this perfectly spiced soup is over-the-top delicious! It’s also the most beautiful yellow color, perfect for spring and summer.
Lemon lentil soup gets it creaminess from red lentils and raw cashews, but if you have a nut allergy you can leave them out or use coconut milk instead.
If you are a lemon lover like me, make sure to check out my Lemon Dill Hummus, Creamy Lemon Tofu or this Lemon Tahini Dressing.
Red Lentil Soup
This recipe calls for red lentils, which get creamy and kind of melt into the soup, which is lovely. You could use brown or green lentils, just know they will be more apparent in the soup and it will be less creamy and smooth.
Want more soup recipes?
- The Best Lentil Soup
- Vegan Minestrone Soup
- Black Bean Soup
- Easy Vegan Potato Soup
- Vegan Corn Chowder
Lemon Lentil Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large carrots, peeled and diced or sliced into rounds
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 cups red lentils
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups baby spinach or chopped kale, optional
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, optional for garnish
- salt + black pepper, to taste
- tiny pinch pinch cayenne pepper, optional for heat
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Sauté, stirring frequently for about 5-6 minutes.
- Add the red lentils, broth, cumin, coriander and turmeric and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer for 30 minutes, until the lentils are soft.
- Place the cashews and lemon juice in a high powered blender, along with 2 cups of the soup. Blend on high until creamy and smooth.
- Add the creamy blended mixture back to the pot and stir in the spinach/kale, if using. Cook for a few minutes until kale has softened, if using. If you want a thinner soup, add 1/2-1 cup of water or more broth.
- Taste and add salt/pepper and cayenne pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Leftover soup will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator, and can also be frozen. It does thicken as it sits, so add a little water or broth when you reheat it. It's also good served with a scoop of rice.
- You could use green or brown lentils if you must, but the lentils will be very noticeable in the soup. It's not really a problem, just a different take on the recipe.
- Nut allergy? Skip the cashews and use 1/2-1 cup full fat coconut milk instead for creaminess. Or leave both out for a less creamy soup.
Would dry roasted, unsalted cashews, or raw cashew butter work? I’d love to make this. The lemon makes this a unique recipe!
Yes, roasted and unsalted cashews will work just as well as the raw cashews here.
This soup is amazing! I didn’t have coriander so I added some dill instead, and I used no-chicken broth since I didn’t have veggie. Would 100% make this again, it’s a keeper!
Delicious, comforting soup. We all love lemon in our family, so this suited us very well. It was not difficult to make, and I’m sure the leftovers will make for great lunches. Thanks for a great recipe!
Hi Vivian. You are welcome! I’m so glad you loved the soup, and found it comforting! I agree that it is! Thank you for sharing your terrific review and comments!
I LOVED this soup.
I was feeling especially lazy, so threw the cashews in the instant pot with the lentils, then blended everything with an immersion blender afterwards.
It wasn’t quite as smooth as it would have been in a high powered blender, but it was good enough for me. (High pressure for 12 minutes, then waited 10 minutes before releasing the pressure)
I like my lemon flavours punchy, so I added the zest of one lemon and the juice of two
Hi Jen! Thank you for sharing your review and comments! I’m so thrilled that you loved the soup!
This soup exceeded my expectations! Normally I feel like lentil soups are one of those basic vegan meals that aren’t really that exciting but I still make them sometimes because they’re nourishing. But this one is actually delicious. The addition of the cashews makes the soup feel indulgent and the lemon flavor brightens it up so nicely. This will be my new go-to lentil soup recipe!
Hi Bethany! I’m so thrilled you loved the soup! This is one of my mother-in-law’s favorite soups! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and comments!
This was so easy and delicious! Thank you so much!
Thank you for sharing your review and comments! I’m glad you loved the soup!
So tasty! I made this for a Father’s Day dinner and served it over brown rice with some hearty bread for dipping. Everyone loved it. I didn’t make any changes to the recipe except for adding some red pepper flakes when serving for a bit of spice. Delish!
Hi Liz! I’m glad you guys loved the soup! Thank you for sharing your review and comments!
This was pretty good! I made this because we had red lentils and carrots that needed to be used up. I replaced the cashews (didn’t have any) with 1/2 cup coconut cream, and used only 1/4 cup lemon juice because boyfriend doesn’t like very lemony things (although I imagine it would be quite good with the whole 1/2 cup). I also added some frozen spinach leaves. Served this soup over brown rice/chia (because I have, like, ten boxes of this stuff that needed to be used up), and a caprese salad on the side. Would definitely make again for a cheap and tasty meal on a cold rainy day like today.
Thank you for sharing your review and comments, Marzi! I’m glad you guys enjoyed the soup!
Absolutely loved this soup, looking forward to making it again!
Thank you for sharing your review, Paul! I’m glad you loved the soup!
I’m so confused! I bought bok choy to make Creamy Red Lentil Lemon Soup with Bok Choy and somehow could only find this bok choy-less version. I even checked the new e-book in case I had seen it there (no). I subbed the bok choy for the spinach/kale, and it turned out fine anyway, but ow, my poor sanity!
Sorry about that Erin, I revisited this recipe a few weeks ago and made a few changes. It was a pretty old recipe and I felt like it needed a little improvement! But it’s definitely fine to use bok choy instead of spinach/kale, and that will make it nearly identical to the original recipe. Glad you enjoyed it!
Phenomenal! Such an easy and delicious soup. Will be making often!! Thank you, Nora!!
Thank you for sharing your comments, Bianca! I’m glad you love the soup!
Another winner! I only had 1/2 of a lemon, so used that along with the zest. Nice big batch, and great lunches for the week! Thanks for another delish recipe, Nora!
Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful review! I’m glad you liked the soup! Thank you for using my recipes, and happy cooking!
Very tasty soup and extremely adaptable for what is on hand. I more or less halved the recipe since I only had 1 cup of red lentils in my pantry. Did not use cashews but threw in some coconut milk that I had left in my freezer. Didn’t bother to blend it. Added some chopped up curly kale that I wanted to use up in the last few minutes. Delicious and hearty and will go perfectly with the bread I plan to bake tomorrow. Thanks!
Thank you for sharing your review, Sandy! I’m glad you found the soup tasty!
Another Nora hit! We somehow managed to stock the pantry with a few too many pounds of red lentils, and this is the best red lentil recipe any of us has tried. And I got to use a few of our many lemons.
The whole family loved the soup, and best of all, the recipe makes a large enough quantity for next-day leftovers…so I can look forward to lunch tomorrow too.
Aren’t leftovers great! I’m glad you guys loved the soup! Thank you for taking your time to share your great review!
I knew this soup was going to be good cuz it’s a Nora Cooks recipe…OMG!! It is so much better than good! It must be tried! Spectacular! You are brilliant, Nora! Thank you for this delicious recipe!
Thanks a lot for taking time to share your encouraging review! I’m glad you loved the soup!
Any suggestions on how long this would take in an instant pot? It looks lovely
I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it would work. I’d probably try 15 minutes in the IP, maybe only 10.
Would it be as good without cashews. Too many calories for me?
Yes, it would be just fine with no cashews at all. You could simply use an immersion blender to make it a bit smooth, or not depending on how you want it. Thanks Judi!
I made this using sunflower seeds in place of the cashews and spinach instead of bok choy. It turned out wonderfully delicious. I will reduce the lemon 2 tablespoons next time.
Just made this soup, but added fresh ginger. I didn’t have Bok Choy so added green cabbage and a few leaves of my kale picked from under the snow. It is delicious and beautiful. Thanks.
You’re welcome! So glad you enjoyed it.
I made this last night and it was delicious! My family loved it, too, which is always a bonus!
Thanks Susan! I’m so glad you all enjoyed it. It’s one of my absolute favorite soup recipes!
This sounds delicious. I love lemon flavored soups! I can’t wait to make it. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Yes please do! Anything with lemon is one of my favorite things as well.
It’s true. I eat it cold, and it’s amazing. Piece of bread, preferably toasted, for dipping, and I’m good to go.