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Lentil Soup with Rice and Salad

Lentil Soup holds a special place in my heart, as it was one of the first recipes I learned to make when I first started hosting Ramadan Iftars for my friends, providing them with a nourishing meal to break their fast. It also happened to be the very first dish I prepared for my husband, making it a cherished part of our culinary journey together.

This recipe has become a beloved staple in our home because it’s not just a soup; it’s a symphony of flavours, nutrition, and pure deliciousness. What’s particularly wonderful about it is its adaptability in terms of consistency. Depending on how I plan to serve it, I can alternate between a soup-like texture, perfect for enjoying with a side of crispy croutons, or a slightly thicker consistency, reminiscent of my childhood.

When I’m feeling nostalgic and want to recreate how I enjoyed it as a child, I keep the lentil soup a bit thicker and serve it generously over a bed of rice. A basic salad on the side adds a refreshing contrast, and I love mixing everything together, allowing the flavours to meld in a delightful harmony.

To give it an extra kick and a touch of excitement, I often add a sprinkle of chilli powder and a squeeze of lemon juice, elevating the already fantastic taste to new heights. This Lentil Soup isn’t just a recipe; it’s a journey of tradition, love, and flavour that has evolved with me over the years. It’s a reminder of the cherished moments and the delicious experiences I’ve shared with loved ones during Ramadan and beyond.

Basic Ingredients for Lentil Soup with Rice and Salad

Lentil Soup:

Lentils: Serve as the primary ingredient, offering protein, fibre, and a hearty texture. They give the soup its substantial base and earthy flavour.

Onion: Finely chopped onions are crucial for creating a flavourful foundation. They add a layer of sweetness and depth when sautéed until golden brown.

Carrot: Carrots introduce a mild sweetness and are a good source of vitamins. They also add a contrasting texture to the soup.

Celery: Celery provides a slight bitterness and additional texture, balancing the sweetness of the carrots.

Chicken Broth or Water: Chicken broth contributes a savoury depth to the soup. Alternatively, water can be used for a lighter flavour, allowing the spices to stand out.

Salt and Pepper: Essential for seasoning, they enhance the overall taste of the soup.

Cumin Powder: Cumin adds a warm, earthy tone and is key in many soups for its distinct flavour.

Coriander Powder: Coriander provides a citrusy, nutty taste, which complements the earthiness of the lentils and cumin.

Cardamom Powder: A pinch of cardamom introduces a unique, slightly sweet flavour, giving the soup an exotic flair.

Lemon Slices: Lemon slices offer a fresh, acidic element, perfect for brightening up the soup’s flavours when squeezed over just before serving.

alternative ingredients

Vegetable Broth: Use vegetable broth for a vegetarian variant.

Different Lentil Varieties: Try red or green lentils for different textures and flavours.

Sweet Potato: Use sweet potatoes instead of carrots for a different kind of sweetness.

Garlic: Add minced garlic for an extra flavour dimension.

Spices: Experiment with spices like turmeric or paprika for varying tastes.

Preparation Tips for Lentil Soup with Rice and Salad

  • Thoroughly rinse lentils to remove dirt or impurities.
  • Cook onions until translucent before adding other vegetables for even cooking.
  • Add spices incrementally to tailor the flavour to your liking.
  • For a smooth texture, carefully blend the soup with a hand blender, being mindful of the hot mixture.

Serving Tips for Lentil Soup with Rice and Salad

  • Serve the soup hot, accompanied by a fresh slice of lemon.
  • For a heartier meal, cook the soup with a thicker consistency and serve with rice and a side salad. This combination makes for a fulfilling and nutritious meal.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley for enhanced flavour and visual appeal.
  • Serve with crusty bread or alongside a salad for a complete meal.

storage tips

  • Cool the soup completely before refrigeration.
  • Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
  • For freezing, portion the soup and use suitable containers. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Lentil Soup with Rice and Salad

Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 2 cups lentils
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stem, roughly chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth or water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • pinch of cardamom powder
  • lemon slices


  • cooked rice, (for serving)
  • simple green salad, (for serving)


  • Wash lentils thoroughly and drain.
  • In a medium-sized pot, sauté onions until golden brown. Add carrots and celery; sauté for 5 minutes.  Add lentils, water, salt, pepper, cumin powder, coriander and cardamom; on high heat, bring to a boil, lower heat and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Puree the ingredients with a hand blender until the soup has a smooth texture and leave it to simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  • To serve, add a generous scoop of cooked rice in a bowl. Ladle the warm, flavourful lentil soup over the rice and a generous serving of simple green salad. For an extra kick of flavour, add a sprinkle of chilli powder and a squeeze of lemon juice. This well-rounded meal balances warmth, spice, and freshness, creating a delightful dining experience.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @cookingwithzahra on Instagram and hashtag it #cookingwithzahra so we can see all the deliciousness!

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