Red Lentil Soup Recipe

A single-pot lentil soup with brown rice. Made by browning some onions, adding the rest of the ingredients, and simmering until the whole lot until its done.

Red Lentil Soup

I tend to follow the sun around the house each day. From room to room, not unlike a cat. I like how it warms cushions on the couch in the morning, streams into my breakfast bowl at the kitchen counter not long after that, and then beckons me to the office through our west-facing window later in the afternoon. On particularly nice days I like to take my lunch out onto the back porch, settle into one of the mossy, rain-damaged chairs, close my eyes, and let the sun shine through my eyelids for a minute or two. And well, that was the plan when I made myself a pot of this unassuming (but tasty!) red lentil and brown rice soup last weekend. Then, bowl in hand, I opened the back door and walked straight into a four foot spider web.

Red Lentil Soup Recipe

It is spider season here, and if you forget, you pay. I can't count how many times I've walked into spider webs in our back yard. It freaks me out every. single. time. In part because the spiders that live in those webs are so large. Too large to smash with a paper towel large - not that I'm in the spider smashing business. I find the ones with the bulbous golden-yellow bodies particularly alarming.

Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Without going too far down the spider track here, I'll just say, my outdoor lunch quickly became an indoor one after I counted five spiders, webs in full span, within a ten foot radius of my desired lunch spot.

Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Spiders aside, I thought this soup was good enough to share. It's a single-pot soup made by browning some onions, adding the rest of the ingredients, and cooking the whole lot until its done - however long that takes. The rice is the component that takes longest to cook, and mine was tender in about 25 minutes. I topped each bowl with what I had on-hand at the time: toasted almond slices, some crumbled feta, and a few oil-cured olives that I chopped into little black flecks.

I used red lentils, but as you can see in the photo, the soup is actually more yellow-orange than red. Red lentils (unlike black lentils, or lentils du Puy, or yellow split peas) collapse and lose structure quite quickly - and in this case they shift color a bit. Don't let that throw you. And it's actually the rice that retains it's texture here, while the lentils provide the body for the soup. So don't be alarmed when your lentils stop looking like lentils after about ten minutes in the pot.

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Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Be sure to pick through your lentils carefully. I somehow always find pebbles or clots of dirt hiding in their midst. Better to catch them on the front end, before you chip a tooth. And to make this soup vegan, just skip the feta at the end i bet some chopped avocado would be a good alternative.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

6 cups good-tasting vegetable stock (or water)
1 1/3 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 cup brown rice, picked over and rinsed
as much fine grain sea salt as you need

slivered almonds, toasted
black oil cured olives, chopped
feta, crumbled

In a big soup pot, over medium heat, combine the olive oil, onion, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Let them brown, and caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the broth, bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and rice. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is very tender, and not at all toothsome. By this time, the lentils will have collapsed into a thick slop of sorts. If you need to add more water/broth at any point do so a splash at a time, until the soup thins out to the point you prefer.

Unless you used a salty broth, you will likely need to salt generously, until the the soup no longer tastes flat. Serve each bowl topped with almonds, olives, feta, and a slight drizzle of olive oil if you like.

Serves 4 - 6.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 30 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Heidi, love your recipes. I made the Red Lentil Soup for dinner tonight and it was great. Thanks for sharing all of the recipes, everything I make from you turns out great!


We made this soup last night and it was absolutely wonderful! Thank you for the great recipe. We also tried the avocado alternernative as a garnish and it tasted great.

Atlanta Web Design

I made this soup tonight. It was easy and delicious. I love the photos you posted. Thanks Heidi!

amy shirar

This was delicious, the boyfriend liked it as well. I especially liked how thick it was. The feta was a great addition. It’s a keeper. Thanks Heidi!


I just made this wonderful soup and it was delicious! Perfect for a winter day, and as Mariela says, I had all the ingredients already! My family loved it and ate it all. Thank you for your wonderful recipes and photos. My son gave me your book for Christmas! So beautiful! I love it!


Thankfully, I have all of the ingredients on hand and can make this today! Can’t wait to try it.


I’ve been wanting to try this recipe since it was first posted and finally made it last night. It was the first time I had tired cooking with lentils, and my dubious friends were won over as soon as they tasted it. I’ll definaltely be making it again, thank you so much!!


I just made this – absolutely delicious!! I used white rice, because that was what I had, and found that the liquid evaporated quite quickly for me, so I had to use more. I wasn’t sure if the olives and feta would go with the lentils, but they were perfect. I also used Imagine Organic vegetable broth, which is nice and flavorful.
I’ll definitely be making this again. Very budget-friendly too!


hello! this is my second time tasting one of your recipes and i think i am hooked. i am an wannabe vegan(i still eat eggs) and i made this soup, after searching for many lentil soup recipes. since i had no vegetable broth so i added mushrooms and a jalapeno to the first step. i also added some sort of herb mix seasoning. also instead of rice, i added noodles. also i added half brown lentils and half green split peas.
i guess this is what you do when you don’t have all the ingredients, you improvise.
thank you and i look forward to cooking more from here.

amber sackett

hello! this is my second time tasting one of your recipes and i think i am hooked. i am an wannabe vegan(i still eat eggs) and i made this soup, after searching for many lentil soup recipes. since i had no vegetable broth so i added mushrooms and a jalapeno to the first step. i also added some sort of herb mix seasoning. also instead of rice, i added noodles. also i added half brown lentils and half green split peas.
i guess this is what you do when you don’t have all the ingredients, you improvise.
thank you and i look forward to cooking more from here.

amber sackett

Turned out amazing, can’t wait to make it again and experiment with adding different things. Love all your recipes!


Thanks for sharing this, Heidi, it’s a very tasty soup! This one has quickly become a regular in our house. I only recently found your site, and have made several recipes I found here. All good, but this one is my favorite to date. I bought a copy of your cookbook today, and look forward to trying the recipes there as well.


Just made this last night. It was pretty good, but I found a teaspoon or two of balsamic vinegar splashed in at the end before serving took it into “fantastic” territory. Really excellent suggestion for a cold night!


I just have to echo what everyone has said here and say that this recipe is fantastic. It will definitely become part of my regular repertoire. I appreciate recipes that can be thrown together with pantry essentials I typically have on hand. Thanks Heidi!


YUMMY, this was a huge success. Hearty, healthy, comforting, and really easy.
Fabulous recipe, Heidi! A keeper, in my book.


I made this soup the other night when it was snowy and very cold. It is wonderful! Definitely a keeper!

Melodie G.

I forgot to mention that I have made it with barley instead of the brown rice. That is really nice as well-just a little more chewy.

Susan Beale

I have made this soup several times since it was posted and have given the recipe to several friends. It is very delicious and I haven’t even used the almond/olive/feta garnish. It is true comfort food that is good for you!

Susan Beale

Heidi, a word note: “Toothsome,” when referring to food, means delicious or appetizing. So if the rice is not at all toothsome, well, that’s a bad thing!

andrea m.

I made your red lentil soup for dinner last night as a last minute change. We are meat eaters & I planned on making some greek inspired chicken burgers. Turns out my chicken had turned bad and the weather here is uber cold right now!! Soup just sounded like the perfect dinner food. Had your soup recipe waiting around waiting for the perfect weather, so I whipped it up using chicken broth & a little bit of chopped red pepper I had in the fridge from another meal. Didn’t have any shallots so I added about 5 cloves of minced garlic — let’s just say it was one of the MOST AMAZING soups we have ever had!!! I swear the end product was so much more delicious than the sum of the ingredients!!! My husband just adored it after coming home from Tae Kwon Do class 🙂 The soup, some spring mix and toasted ciabatta — it was a huge hit!!! And I didn’t even do the olives, feta & nuts. Will have to try that next time 🙂
Thanks again for another stellar recipe that will be in our winter dinner rotations 🙂


This was great. I added one potato, cut into small pieces. It’s a wonderful, tasty soup. thank you.


look at my eyelashes now


This soup is one of my new favorites. I made it with green lentils the first time since that was all I had on hand. Very tasty, but SO much better with the mushy red lentils!


I bought some red lentils for the first time today! Can’t wait to try your recipe. Thanks for always inspiring us!

Oscar Mango

I made this last night but cooked the rice and lentils with some tumeric first and then browned the onions and shallots with cumin and a bit of cayenne and added that at the end. Very tasty!


I just made this for dinner tonight and it was FANTASTIC. Super quick and easy, and I’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunch and dinner…until Thanksgiving hits, and then I’ll have to start eating those leftovers 🙂
Seriously though, this was incredible. I used white rice instead of brown, because it was what I had on hand… I also chopped up and added 1/2 of a sweet potato, which I cooked with the onions at the beginning, and some tumeric and curry powder.
I didn’t have any of the awesome toppings you mentioned on hand, so I just threw on a dollop of sour cream but I can’t wait to try it with feta and almonds.
HS: Thanks for the nice comment Kristina – I’m so happy so many of you are liking this soup 🙂


I just made this soup on a grey almost rainy day in London, this was so delicious. I have been reading your recipes for over a year now and I adore them, you are making it so much more enjoyable to be healthy. I will make this all winter I can tell.


My grassfed meat supply in the freezer is slowly getting depleted and I am trying hard to make it last until next fall when I get more. So I’m looking for more vegetarian options that have protein because I can hardly make it more than a few hours without eating if I just eat veggies. I never like the lentil soup recipes I make but yours looks really yummy. I’m going to try it! Thanks for sharing. (And I know what you mean about those spider webs!)

Marcia Davis

My mom canned some peach chutney over the summer, made from her CSA, it is amazing over this soup. I told her about it and she made the soup and was impressed. Than the unthink-able happened, my husband liked it. He usually teases me on my big batches of lentil soups that noone eats, but this soup has been a huge hit.
Thanks again!


Hi, I’m from South Africa and I was wondering if anyone could tell me what beautiful flower it is that I see on the picture?


Had some red lentils hanging out in the house for a couple of months not knowing what to do with them. Then this recipe came along. It has basic ingredients that anyone has in the house. Made it last night and the everyone loved it! The red pepper flakes brighten the otherwise bland soup (I used half of what you recommended). Here’s a great soup recipe that goes into my repetoire and it’s easy to make in no time at all. Thanks!!


Amazing. This was really tasty, almost like a potato soup but 100% healthier. I doubled the recipe and added a 1/4 cup of green lentil that I had left over from another recipe. I also added garlic when cooking the onions and garnished with parmesan. Thankfully you recommended the salt, something I don’t normally add if I can help it. It really made a difference. It is truly one pot and super simple to make. Thank you for your inspiration.


I made this last night, with a leek instead of shallots, which I didn’t have. I found that the brown rice needed to be cooked for just under an hour. It was great, not unlike a leek risotto in taste. A good one for kids who like their food plain without chunks in it. I made bread to go with it which always goes down well in our house too. I think it would benefit from some greens added in the last few minutes so will try that next time too. Thanks.


I love the opening about following the light around the house. What a beautiful image! The soup looks fantastic as well


Heidi – The red lentil soup was fabulous – the addition of kalamata olives, feta cheese and toasted almonds gave it some zing. I loved it! Thanks for the great website.

Anne Ryder

Seriously, I made this soup and it was SO amazing. Really. Words cannot describe it. I gave it to some friends for a first course at a dinner party and they devoured it. It was fun to pass little bowls of toppings so everyone could customize their own bowl. Fabulous.


This is the perfect fall day soup. So quick and the red pepper gives it a subtle kick. Love the color too. Just what I was looking to make today, thanks Heidi!


I made a version of this soup (a combo of the recipe and what Jo posted on Oct 16th) this past week and really, really enjoyed it. It was my second time cooking red lentils, which are tasty although slightly disappointing in the way their vibrancy fades to a yellowish mush when cooked.
I didn’t add rice (trying to be carb-conscious), but snuck in some ancho chili powder and smoked paprika in addition to cayenne – the flavor was great!
Thanks for the inspiration and beautiful photography, Heidi!

Katherine @ NightOwlChef

I’ve made this twice since you posted it (which is actually a lot for me, because I try as many new recipes as I can)! The first time I made it as is with homemade stock, and just yesterday I made it with water, a bit of red onion and garlic, about twice as much red pepper flakes, and I cooked the rice seperately. I might add some spinach and tomato next time and make it a little more like the daal my mom makes…
Thanks for the great recipe, Heidi!


I’ve never had lentils before but this looks interesting…


Hi Heidi,
I was just looking for some lentil recipes so this comes in just in time. Belgians are crazy about their soup; it is a good antidote to the crap weather. Made a vegetarian cream of Endive the other day – divine. Looking forward to trying this one. Hope you are well – it has been a while since Puglia! x


I only discovered your site a few months ago and have quickly fallen in love with making your recipes. Tonight made this soup and I can tell you it is already a family favorite. We don’t cook a lot of soups at our home, but THIS one will change that. It’s incredibly flavorful and has a wonderful texture!
I followed the recipe very closely only adding a pinch or two of dried basil and topped it with a slight drizzle of olive oil and feta as per your suggestion.


Delicious! This was exactly the dinner I needed tonight. I made mine with the toasted almonds and feta, but then added in some sauteed kale at the end and it was wonderful. Thanks so much!


Ive been eating this at work for lunch as leftovers for days now – I didn’t have any almonds or olives to top mine with, but I’ve done the poached egg and that was good…. but today I put in some sour cream and some dill that a coworker is growing in a pot outside — the dill took this soup to another level!

Matthew F

yeah, here in Florida, we have banana spiders. They are 2-3 inches across, and have thick enough webs to throw sticks into, and then have then get stuck, not to mention, they are highly poisonous, and everywhere you turn. The most I’ve ever seen was, 12 banana spider webs completely blocking a dirt road, and a bat was caught in one =/ scary!!!!
nice soup, i made it and it tasted great. If you are not a vegetarian, but you love meat, just add some crumbled bacon to it, it adds flavor, and texture. I always love to top with corn chips to make it almost southwestern. To fix the bland taste of the vegetable broth, just add about half a cup to a cup of any salsa of your choice

Nick the cook

I tried this recipe last night for dinner and it was wonderful! I was afraid there would be too much onion for me (I’m not very keen on them to begin with), but it turned out fine. Topped it with the feta and it was just perfect!


Just made this soup. YUMMY!!!
The only thing I changed was instead of adding red pepper flakes which I didn’t have on hand. I added an italian mix that had the flakes in it. The mix I have has sliced dried garlic, red pepper flakes, garlic salt, basil and oregano. It tasted divine!

Amy Miller

Great soup! I made it this weekend and loved it so much I even had a bowl for breakfast instead of my usual oatmeal. Perfect for this autumn season. Thanks so much for your website!


Fantastic soup Heidi. Made a batch Friday and just made another – testimony to how much we loved it. Master 2-and-3/4s loved it and wanted MORE.
Added a clove of garlic and it browned off nicely with the shallots and onions.
I look forward to reading your posts and trying your recipes. Great work – please don’t stop.


Heidi – I have been following this web site since I discovered it early in 2009, but have not posted before. This soup was WONDERFUL though – my skeptical husband loved it, and I can see using it as a base recipe for lentil soups / stews throughout the winter. Thank you for another winner!


I just made this soup tonight also, and I loved it! Super easy too! Thank you!


Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I just made this tonight, and my entire family loved it (even my Nana, who is a bit picky with food). My rice took about 10 minutes longer, but the feta and almonds were a fabulous addition!


this is a classic Chilean dish, if you add carrots and some paprika. nice.


so yummy! my rice took a lot longer to soften, maybe cover while simmering. i added some cabbage to some of the soup too, it was a nice addition.
i’ll be eating this all of the san francisco winter!

Shana Astrachan

I love soups. Soups, soups, soups. Could eat them everyday and am always looking for a good recipe. This is absolutely the yummiest! I couldn’t get enough and because I had leftovers I couldn’t wait until the next meal or day to have it again. It is also in the category of ‘comfort food’. I have not tried it with the feta yet. Next time. But it is fabu with the avocado instead.


Red Lentil Soup=Yum!
I made this last night as my first attempt at soup, and am so happy with the result. I cook often and generally with good results but had yet to attempt a soup. My husband (a non-soup eater) was even quite impressed. Keep the soup recipes coming!


I made this for dinner last night and it was so delicious. It’s getting chilly here, so warm hearty soup was really welcome. I even made veggie “smart pigs in a blanket” to go with it for my boys. good combination.


Heidi: your style is understated and real. I love your food, your photography, your writing.
I make lentil soup very often. I tend to add some very tiny diced carrots and celery in the beginning (they melt in the soup) and at the end I “dunk” some curly endive, a very Italian way to serve it. A dash of chili pepper makes sure you are extra warm inside! Also, I make mine a bit “soupy” so I can dunk a slice of good crusty bread in it. 🙂


Hi Heidi,
I also never comment, but I use your recipes all the time. This soup was delicious. I didn’t have any onions/shallots on hand, but used the leeks I got from my CSA and it came out so nice. So comforting in this chilly fall we are having in New England. Your blog is beautiful. ~Nicole Harter
HS: Happy to hear it Nicole, love the leek substitution idea – glad it worked out.


oh dear, I know exactly what you mean by these spiders. This spring we saw a bunch of baby spiders scatter from their eggs on some Ivy…thought it was quite a thing to watch at the time – but through the year they have grown into these fat arsed beasts and most days I get a web in the face from them.
Sincere sympathies!


This was delicious! Made it for dinner tonight topped with the feta and tamari roasted pepitas.


Thank you for this recipe!!!! I made it this weekend and it was lovely. I made a few changes and it still turned out fabulous. So versatile. Thanks for sharing your awesome talent with the world…your recipes never do me wrong! I will blog about the version I made tomorrow morning.
Angela 🙂

Angela (Oh She Glows)

This soup is simmering on the stove right now, and it smells so good! I added a few spices: bit of black pepper, some cumin, pinch of ginger, and a bit of paprika, and I stirred the lentils and beans in with the onions for a bit before adding them to an already-hot salty veg broth. This is my first time using red lentils so it’ll be cool to see how it turns out.

Reluctant Foodie

I made this soup for lunch yesterday and it’s even better today!
John Michael
“Preserving the memories so others will remember…”(tm)

John Michael

Yum! Talk about ‘pantry soup’–sometimes I think literally ALL I have in the cupboard is an onion, some brown rice and half a jar of brilliant orange lentils. Don’t know why I’d never thought about this before, it seemed like a no-brainer! Great recipe, Heidi. The suggested toppings (feta, olive oil, kalamata olives and almonds) were particularly inspired–they elevated this from wonderfully satisfying to completely amazing.
A couple of notes: I added a chopped clove of garlic, a good heaping of black pepper and a teaspoon of cumin to my onions for a minute or so before I added the broth/water and I was glad I did. This soup definitely benefited from additional salt too–if you feel it’s ‘tasteless’ and falling a bit flat hit it with another 1/2 teaspoon or so of salt until you get it to tasty.


i thought red lentils were like other dried beans & i left pot simmering for almost 2 hours & came back to a bloated mass of beany lentil mush.
tasted good but the absolute lack of texture was offputting.


Hi Heidi:
You will be pleased to know that here in Connecticut,the State of Inventive Minds, a small factory grows a large gray spider. His/her webs are so strong they are harvested to make cross hairs in myriad instruments.
About to cook the lentil soup in white rice. Ain’t got no brown rice. Barney

Barnett Laschever

Love this recipe… just add a side of salad a glass of wine…dinner is done!


This is a favourite of mine, at home but especially when hiking.
I like its versatility, you can put almost any vegetable in it (at which point it is renamed Lentil Trash Soup), especially starchy ones.
One of my favourite things to add is orange juice instead of some of the water, and a little bit of lemon (usually when it’s already in the plate).

Yuval Kogman

Made this soup this week. Super easy. I loved it and my husband loved it. It just tasted so good! This soup will go into favorites pile! Thanks again!


YUM! I made the vegan version of this soup earlier this week (just left out the cheese garnish). Had just the right amount of red lentils hanging out in the cupboard (left from more than a year ago …) I threw in some cumin with the sweating onions, as a few readers suggested, but my favorite part was the finely slivered olives and a drizzle of truffle oil to finish. Delicious and so sustaining! The leftovers were even better.


Hi Heidi,
I’m a friend of Bobby Rullo’s and he told me about your blog. I was recently in SF and took a picture of a similar spider which freaked the hell out of me because I’ve never seen anything like that in NY. We were around the corner from Universal Cafe.

Jessica Lee Binder

this is yummy soup! i was a tiny bit skeptical about sprinking feta on top, but the flavor was great. my husband and i enjoyed it a lot- simple, warm, and filling. thanks!


I looks absolutely delightful. i can’t wait to try it.


This soup reminds me of Ramadan meals with my Family. My mum used to make something very similar, except she’d finish it off with a drizzle of olive oil, and some lemon juice. I still have random cravings for bread dipped in this soup! it has a taste not quite like anything else.
Anyway, as for the spiders — these are called crab spiders. Beautiful creatures, really, they come in all sorts of exotic colors, and normally live in or near flowers (rose bushes, in particular seem to be their favorite abode).


Hey Heidi!
Love the site! I made this soup for dinner tonight and it was delicious. I never would have put olives on lentil soup, but it was a yummy addition. My husband even requested that I put this in our regular weeknight rotation! (I think he also likes the one pot aspect since he does most of the dishes!) Thank you for sharing your recipes!


I am positively the same with spiders…and I am allergic to them. But that soup….oh how wonderful! I have been looking for other lentil recipes than the one I make almost every week. Thank you!

Helene - Tartelette

mmm…………looks tasty might try it


Can I post a comment here about the Green Soup with Ginger recipe? (Sorry, by the time I tried it, this past weekend, the comment section was closed !)
I loved this soup up until the point I added in the carmelized onions. Then, after adding the 2 additional cups of vegetable broth, it became just way too soup-y /liquid-y. I was with you, Heidi – I thought it was so pretty and tasted so good as was, that it totally didn’t need to be pureed. But after the addition of those 2 cups of broth, it was so drippy liquid-y that I thought it might thicken up if I pureed at last part of it, but it didn’t – I guess because it was mostly greens, as opposed to something more thickening-ish like potatoes. And, the queasy green color post-immersion blender was not very appealing at all!
Did anyone else find this?
ps – the rustic cabbage soup is FANTASTIC, as is the other lentil soup recipe with the saffron yogurt. I’ll try this red lentil one this weekend …


Hey, don’t know whether anyone said. You’ve got a Common Garden Spider, not an impressive name. But she’s quite a web-builder, I’d swear ours was trying to catch us this summer so she wouldn’t have to work as hard. Very industrius and they can live up to 2 years. Sorry, I’m a nerd! Love your recipes!!!


This is fantastic! So simple, so good. I like it kinda thick, so it feels like tadka dal. YUM!


Made it. LOVED it. Even my kids liked it- Heidi you’re a genius! It was extremely filling and would be great to have at a dinner party with crusty bread and a little salad. I added a little more red pepper for extra spice.


this soup is SO good. a friend made it for me and i begged for the recipe. i thought the flavor of the soup was so good that i ate the almonds/feta/olives separately!


This soup is soooo good! I had never tried the oil cured olives before, they really add so much depth alongside the almonds and feta. I have had a cold red lentil salad at a local health food store, but when I tried to make it-I just couldn’t figure out how to get the texture right. This soup gave me the right to cook the Lentils to mush! It is so delicious, my 5 kids loved it too. Thanks-and I also want to say that your photos are always the best!


Hi Heidi,
My mom is a soup lover and just recently had a mix up with too much sage in her squash soup she made last week. To make sure she keeps up the momentum, i was happy to send her this blog. Perhaps you’ll have another subscriber soon. Thanks for all that you share!

Lauren Ashley

Made this last night and it was wonderful. Even my 14-month-old loved it! We added some celery with the onions, didn’t have shallots…. definitely a keeper recipe!


I made this soup last night and it was excellent! The soup itself is very flavorful and the sliced almonds give it a great crunch factor. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us!


Mmmm – made this for lunch and it was lovely.
The toasted almonds and feta gave it a really nice lift (wonder what it would be like with the olives?)
Perfect for an autumn day.
Thanks Heidi!


This looks really good! Thanks for the recipe. It reminds me of dhal soup. There’s one Indian restaurant in my hometown that garnishes its dhal with coriander leaves and lots and lots of lemon juice. I always have a craving for it this time of year!


Looks delicious and just what we need here in the cold North-East! I usually do red lentils and carrots in soup together, flavored with ground coriander and with a splash of buttermilk for tangy creaminess.

Maya @ Maya's Kitchen

As I sit here with the sniffles, I’m contemplating the flavor and healing powers of this soup. I have no doubt it will be my elixir to flu-free days. Thank you.

tom | tall clover farm

This is a comment for this recipe of yours (Great Chocolate Chip Cookies) at but there is no comment form on the page, so I’m posting here.
i just did the cookie recipe, but they came out very flat and thin (they’re good but not looking like the pictures in the article or any standard cookie, much more flat and large).
I think I’ve followed the recipe quite well, so… I wanted to ask if you had any idea why that happened.
Thanks a lot


Although this recipe looks good, I think your “Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup” looks better. I make lentil soup just about once a week and I’m going to try this new one. I often add potatoes in my–both white and sweet. It is a great use of left over baked potatoes. Try adding some freshly cooked garbanzo beans too. The corn relish from Traders adds a little spice to the soup and I usually add this to each bowl before I heat it. That way I can have it spicy and my grandson (who is 4 and loves lentil soup) can have it not so spicy.


Just wonderful! Congratulations!!


That is one freaky-looking spider! The lentil soup, on the other hand, looks delicious. Great idea to put the chopped olives on top.

Cookin' Canuck

It’s hard to go wrong with red lentils, no? They are a must have for my pantry! Spiders on the other hand, i can do without. But I’ve been seeing a lot lately too, including a great big black one on my porch that scared the living daylights out of me!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

Do you have a recommendation for a good-tasting vegetable stock? (Commercially available?)
Thanks! This looks so delicious.


Heidi, it is so lovely reading your stories and imagining life over on the other side of the world!
I can’t wait to give this a go, it looks great! Thanks!

emma. our kitchen

deeelicious soup but try adding some red curry paste and some fresh green daniyah and a chilli or two and enjoy.


I’m just sitting here enjoying my last little bit of this delicious soup for lunch… I absolutely love it! Thanks for sharing!


Heidi, get those backyard spiders under control because even though they might not be the venomous type they are heavy carriers of bacteria and they’er bite can make you very. very sick or even death from the infection of the spider bite. Humans have a very hard time fighting off the spider bacteria because our immune system gets overwhelmed because the spider bite is so strong. This happened to me.


heidi i make this soup too!! i was inspired to experiment with lentil soups after a month in turkey eating it everywhere!
a delicious middle eastern twist is to squeeze a lemon wedge in, and garnish with some coriander.


Yumm, I love lentil soup! I tend to add Harissa paste and a carrot, puree it, and top it off with an aromatic mint olive oil. That’s my attempt at replicating the soup I had in Turkey. P.S. I love your blog!


yet another wonderful soup, heidi! i used a dash of yuzu-flavored pepper flakes in place of the red pepper for a little citrus twist. after browning the onions, i deglazed the pot with a local sake before adding the broth. served with a dollop of yogurt on top and some freshly baked cream biscuits on the side. my meat and potatoes hubby happily cleaned his bowl of 2 servings and never even missed the meat. keep ’em coming!!!


LOVE the spider photo.
Also a fan of red lentil soup – reds cook much faster than brown lentils, and tend to fall apart more, so the soup is nice and thick.


When I saw this recipe, I knew I would like it. Since I had all the ingredients on hand (except the olives), I made it, and it’s even better than I anticipated. I halved the recipe (still made about four servings for me), and I used half a cup of leftover cooked brown rice (I guessed at the amount) instead of uncooked rice. I don’t know if that altered the cooking time or taste — I just let it cook until everything was soft. I also added at least a cup and half additional broth, (a splash at a time), since that’s how I like my soup. I didn’t have the olives that were called for, so I substituted kalamata olives. I’m looking forward to trying it with oil cured olives, and with a little chopped avocado, as suggested. I’ll bet the poached egg that one poster suggested would be excellent, too. I can’t explain exactly what about this simple soup makes it hit the spot the way it does, but I am so glad to have this added to my repertory.
I have enjoyed lentils ever since my Aunt Em fooled me into eating them by adding them to canned cream of tomato soup when I was about 10 years old. One of my favorite recipes is Lentils Monastery Style, from Frances Moore Lappe’s “Diet for a Small Planet.” I mention it because I’m guessing that the combination of lentils and feta cheese in this recipe makes a complete protein, similar to the lentils and Swiss cheese in Lappe’s recipe. Also because both recipes are delicious. If you can find the recipe, try it! Everyone I’ve ever served it to has loved it.


I made this soup for dinner this evening and it was so delicious! I added a small amount of tumeric and cumin to the onion and shallot mixture, and served it with sliced avocado. The avocado is PERFECT with this. Looking forward to leftovers for lunch!


I love the way you explain basic things, like the red lentils breaking apart. It makes your blog so much more approachable–and it’s the type of information I’m trying ot incorporate into my blog as well.


This looks delicious. I love this recipe because it seems so simple and perfect for us who are traveling on the road. We are in Australia now and have been cooking at hostels so I am always looking for easy simple meals that I can make with minimal ingredients. And, after being here for a month, I think nothing of spiders in the U.S. because the ones here are incredibly venomous. I am looking forward to making this one.


I read every posting sent to my email box, I have tried many recipies & love them all.
As for the red lentil soup, i didnt do the garnish on top, and added a poor tomatoe that would have been trashed if it wasnt ued asap, otherwised i followed ur recipe & LOVE IT! even meat eating steve loved it! I will make it again! thanks for all ur wonderful ideas, ect!


If you want to deter web-making near your doors and windows, this is a great product:
It won’t harm the spiders, it will just make sure they build their webs somewhere else. We have lots of spiders in the Pacific NW and this works great.
Love your recipes, thanks for the great website!


I always add a little lemon juice to my lentil soup. Adds some sweet tang to a hearty good soup.


Howdy! I’m glad to see you post another soup recipe, because about a week ago I got into a soup kick that’s still going strong. 3 of the 4 soups I’ve made are from your site (and written up on my website, with pictures, including the chestnut that I exploded in my oven) and all have been just fantastic. Next up is the garlic soup.
Another note–I can attribute most of my cooking successes over the past couple of years to this site. It was on your recommendation that I sought out Mangoes and Curry Leaves, then Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, and then the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Your book is on my Christmas list this year! Thank you much.


I am feeling a little under the weather right now, and wishing for a bowl of this soup with all my heart. In mexico lentil soups are often topped with chopped banana…. it adds the sweetest, unassuming touch.


Eeek! Spiders totally freak me out. At least they didn’t spoil your lunch! I love lentils… I usually put a little bit of goat’s cheese on top of mine. Looks yum!


Delicious! The soup is fantastic as is, and adding curry powder and a dollop of sour cream made me a very happy girl on this cold Sunday. Cheers!


Hi Heidi –
I just made your soup using organic chicken stock because that’s what I had in the house! I also added two dashes of cumin, to give it a bit more depth of flavor. Delicious…
Thanks for the recipe!

Emily Meadows

I agree with Joana: if there is something I like about your blog, is that your recipe are a safe bet 🙂 I cooked a red lentils and brown rice stew yesterday (but with coconut milk), so I run out of red lentils. I have to buy more and try your recipe too:)) Red lentils are my favorite: they cook very quickly, are easier to digest and always taste great!


I don’t normally like red lentils but something about this recipe made me want to try it. I think it was the raw cold weather and the possibility of warm, salty soup.
This was was fantastic. Just a tiny bit of heat from the pepper flakes and warmth from the salty broth. Whole Foods had an oil cured mix of green olives, black olives and feta. I put all in the soup as a garnish and it was fantastic.
I am no longer a red lentil hater. Thanks!


I just bought all the ingredients today and will be making this soup for dinner later this week – can’t wait to try it. I love easy and healthy recipes! I just found your site a month or so ago and I love it. Thank you for the great recipes.


Just an interesting note on the spiders. I heard just today that there is a VEGAN spider living in Mexico and Costa Rica. How amazing. It lives on the acacia plant, dodging ants as it eats the succulent tips of the plant. I bet they would love this soup!!


Years ago I read a research study in which spiders were observed spinning their webs and the webs photographed. Then some of the spiders were given some alcohol (arachnotinis?) and others were not. The next round of webs revealed the effects of inebriation on some and more symetrical webs from the others. Now, when I go out my front door in the morning the web atchitecture is always interesting. They seem more grounded in cold weather. Looking forward to making the soup when the cold weather comes back. Love your site, Heidi, your recipes and the spirit of the postings. Your trip to Paris really made me Happy!


I like the idea of the chopped black olives and almonds. Adding some ginger would also be good..


Thanks Heidi, I just made the soup last night and I loved it!! I did have 2 small kipfler potatoes i had to use up so I added them in too, tastes fantastic.
Despite the heat and constant sunshine of Brisbane, Aust. I can still never go past a great soup.


I’m cooking in a temporary kitchen on a one burner campstove while my kitchen undergoes major reconstruction. This soup is just the thing to get me through the weekend.


yum! i bet a t-spoon of cumin will do some good to it also 🙂
i love this soup and i usually make it this way but with some celery and cumin… YUM!
thanks for reminding me!


I made this today for lunch and it was a hit with kid & adults. I used organic chicken stock because it is what I had… and toasted pine nuts instead of the almonds. It was a bit spicy because I used 1/2 tsp of dried chillis instead of pepper flakes but we loved it.
Wonderful combination of flavours and great texture. Thanks!


We have some big spiders lurking in our backyard. Bumping into the spider webs when I’m out doing the gardening creeps me out too! (gives me a shiver just thinking about it)
For a moment, I thought you might suggest a lentil recipe with spiders for some extra texture and protein? Now that’s a horrifying thought … lol
I love red lentils, and the feta combination sounds delicious. I think I’ll add the avocado too!

Family Cookbook

This looks yummy AND easy! My favorite kind of recipe. Any recommendation for a good pre-made veggie stock?


I love that so many of you know about this type of spider. You’re right about their webs being beautiful, and I can testify that yes, they are quite efficient bug catchers. Some of them are catching bugs larger than they are, and it is fascinating to watch. And yes! I’ve seen them eating their webs as well.
After the storm last week, they were all working hard to restring their webs. I’m definitely not as squeemish about them now that you’ve told me a bit more about who they are. So thanks for that. 🙂


I love golden orb season! For us on the chilly East coast, it’s usually August. We refer to ours as “the girls” & usually have about four big webs on our front porch each year, cleverly strung just outside the reach of our door and above our heads.
Can’t wait to make some red lentil soup to battle this dismal fall weekend! I love your blog… 🙂


I made this soup last night and topped it with some sauteed honey mushrooms foraged from the woods near my house. Really great!


Last night I made a variation of Anna Thomas’s Squash and Red Lentil soup, which I was reminded of when I checked 101 Cookbooks this morning! So very delicious, and I’m sure yours is too!
Just wanted to let you know I got Anna Thomas’s Love Soup because of your site. I am so in love it’s not even funny! I live in Pennsylvania and it is definitely soup season! I have quite a collection of stand by soups, but I was looking for something new and substantial. I feel Anna’s have the depth and breadth to really bring diversity to the art of soup as I had known it. Thank you for writing her up!
Also thanks for all the love you put into your site! I know that my family and I eat from your blog, or are inspired by it, on a weekly basis! It’s so nice to have a simple approach, (that still tastes like a home cooked meal), to healthy vegetarian that is not simply stir fry or something that takes 3 or 4 hours to complete. I recommend your site to friends, and they are always pleased.
Thanks again for all you do, it is appreciated!

Alice Louise

If you worry about the loss of colour when red lentils are used in the soup, add a roasted red pepper before you puree it.
HS: Great idea.


The red lentil soup is one of the best comfort food I can think of! Not to share with spiders, though (but the one in the pic looks nice!)


Hi Heidi,
You are looking so nice and your soup is also very nice.
thanks you.


I follow your site and have made quite a few recipes from your site. This is the first time commenting on it.
Excellent recipe adding the brown rice. Definitely going to try it this weekend. I have never made lentil soup with brown rice added to it. I make lots of Indian spiced lentil recipes with all kinds of lentils.
I am impressed with your recipes – healthy, tasty and nutritious. I love pancakes and have made quite a few recipes from your blog and your cookbook.


Thanks for sharing your recent spider encounter. I’ve forgotten how spidery the bay area can get. Last year, when we were living in Marin, which felt like the spider capital of the world, my husband got into his car headed for work when a spider that looked similar to the one you photographed strew down towards his lap, and he responded by violently waving his arms in a circle to rid the spider. It was a freak out of sorts. The neighbor caught a glance, and quickly averted his gaze when my husband saw he was being watched. My husband rolled down the window to release the spider, and casually informed the neighbor, “Bad day in the stock market.” LOL!
Thank you for sharing such a healthy and simple recipe. I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate lentils into my meals.


Red lentils caught my eye in the bulk/bin aisle months ago and have been “waiting for a sign” to make them.
The weather has just turned cold and rainy here in Richmond, Va, dampening my small birthday plans for a morning 10K and lunch with friends. Now, I will have a wonderful soup to warm us all up with! Thank you Heidi!


Tis the season for creepies and crawlies, aint it? But you have to learn to love those crazy webweavers for the Green Insect control they do. I really wish folks would learn to appreciate and not fear garden spiders and pollinating bees. We really really REALLY need these creatures to have a healthy eco system to support the production of all those delicious Organic fruits and vegetables we all crave in Heidi’s recipes!!! FEAR NO (garden) SPIDEY!!!!!! And Love your Lentils as yourself!
(I paraphrase) :>)


Have you tried Turkish Ezo Gelin soup? Very similar to your recipe, but with bulgar instead of brown rice, and with a bit of tomato paste, dried mint and red pepper flakes. It’s a classic Turkish dish. Ayla Algar has a tasty version in Classical Turkish Cooking. Made it today when I woke up to snow…
HS: Sounds absolutely delicious.


A comment from an Ethiopian friend of mine who cooks red lentils regularly: they take longer to cook if you add the salt early. She recommends putting salt only at the end. She makes a red lentil stew by sauteing onions, garlic and a red chili spice similar to cayenne pepper, fries the lentils in the mix for a minute or two, adds water, and simmers until tender. At the end, she adds a little tomato sauce and salt, and it is unbelievably good.


Yum. This reminds me of the mujadarah that I often make. The differences, I guess, are that 1) I’ve made it with regular brown lentils 2) You just cook the lentils and rice together with enough liquid to absorb, not making it soupy and you caramelize/almost-burn sliced onions in a separate pan. Once the rice and lentils are done, you mix a portion of the onions in and then you top with more of the onions and some plain yogurt or sour cream. Also you season with salt and pepper. It’s so simple and wholesome. It’s one of my favorites. I’ll look forward to trying this one, too.


Heidi, thanks for this lovely, mellow recipe. I am always looking for another way to utilize my favorite oil-cured olives. This looks divine!

The Diary of an Epic Failure

Hmm. Large autumn spinner spiders, lentils and garnishes for the soup. I cleaned out my kitchen window of the cobwebs and webs, and I have one persistent spider that spins a masterpiece each night. I guess they catch flies and moths, and dine on them for their fertility rites or last feasts. I feel kind of guilty brushing away the corner architecture when I see it. What a lot of work. These webs go really well with Halloween. Thanks Heidi for another simple, nutritious supper idea. You’re a gem.


Heidi, the spider is harmless–it’s a female jewel spider, and my guess is that at night you have light somewhere near their webs (patio window, porch light?), which is what makes the spot so attractive to them. They start out small, like other spiders, but grow and grow until the fall. Just let it be; it will be gone by first frost.
HS: Yes Zoe, they seem to string their webs near the windows that are lit up at night 🙂


Love your blog and this really looks delicious!
Great spider photos!

Something's Dishy

Big spider season just ended in the DC area a few weeks ago and I was happy to see them leave.
I have a Red Lentil Soup recipe from Deborah Madison’s cookbook that I like, but I’ve recently discovered the depth that shallots bring to any dish so I’m going to have to give this a try.


sorry for the double posting… I just saw a few other comments to respond to.
Mine is similar to Wendy’s, and similar to Meera’s addition of lime juice, except I use lemon. I will have to try the lime and cilantro combo next time!


Coincidentally I just made my own version of this soup last night, and posted about it today as well! It is yummy!


Decent variation which has worked for me:
abandon red chilly flakes
replace with: two chopped tomatos (blanched and skinned), 3 green chillies (regular kinds), one good tsp grated ginger. When all the boiling and mushing is done, add the juice of a small lime (= 3 tsps, more if you like your soup tangy), but remember to add a pinch of sugar. It takes the edge out. Always. Top off with cilantro… these red lentils particularly respond to this!


love the soup and the spider!


Well, this soup is a big hit in my house! Smelling the onions for so long, and then having the smell and warmth of soup emanating from our kitchen…
I threw in some more spices that we had laying around (pepper, paprika and some spice blend we’d made the other day with rosemary, long pepper, and cilantro seeds), and topped with olive oil and parm.
Absolutely fantastic!


I make a similar soup using sweet potatoes, red lentils, carrots, a little celery, onions…I mash everything once all the ingredients are soft, and then throw in some spinach. It’s really yummy!


Looks divine, as usual. I call every spider I see “gandmother spider”, and this makes me genuinely appreciate them, somehow spiders always leave me alone, though sometimes they set up the ‘central line’ to a web right where I was going to sit. If you can envision how a spider can become an eight-spoked wheel of Buddhadharma: the Buddha’s teachings that lead to liberation, then you might find your spiders all likewise transforming..they might not be where you want to go, having gone before you. Or something like that.
One of my favorite soups is very like yours–to the gently sweating onion you add whole cumin- about 2 T if you like it! Then to the finished soup add lemon juice, lots of it. it’s absolutely addictive.
It’s equally good with ground cumin, tasted and added later. And what about with a little yogurt with saffron threads? I think I first read about that reading your blog. mmmm.


That soup sounds easy enough for me to make in my spartan Brooklyn kitchen. I like the fact that I don’t have to puree it, just add toppings. A creamy dollop of Greek yogurt seasoned with turmeric, paprika and a little cayenne? Cilantro? I will try it this winery weekend.
HS: Wish I was there to share a bowl with you Hadley! xo

Hadley Fierlinger

When you say shallots do you mean the small onion-like root that the french call eschallot or the long tall white and green plant?
Love the soup recipes. It’s getting cold here in Montreal and the soup takes the chill off. Keep them coming!
HS: Exactly Zoe! Eschallot.


My mom made us lentil soup all the time when we were kids and I didn’t know it then, but it was when we were broke. My brother and I were sick of them and made a drawing with the leftover lentils on a plate and spelled out “NO MORE LENTILS.” I’ve gotten over my fear of them today, but my mom never served them to us again.

The Wandering Foodie

Thanks for the tip about the lentils changing shape, as I’ve never tried to cook lentils, though I’vd bought them and, after about a couple of years in the pantry, decided they were too old and out they’d go (I’ve done this more than once!). I do, however, cook beans of many varieties; just never lentils. Maybe with your recipe as an inspiration, I’ll finally buy some more and cook them (it’s got to be the same day however, because if they go into the pantry…well, you know!).


I’m heliotropic too! Love the sun and also your recipes, your photography and “conversational” prose – keep up the wonderful work.


This is similar to a recipe I make, except mine has a tex-mex flavor. I’m curious to try this version. Here’s my version:
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Large onion, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Teaspoon ground cumin
¼ Teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ Teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of chili powder or cayenne pepper, more to taste
1 Quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 Cup red lentils
1 Large carrot, peeled and diced
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
3. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
4. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
5. Reheat soup if necessary and garnish with cilantro.


I don’t know if I want to make this soup because I can’t get past the picture of the absolutely, disgustingly terrifying bulbous bodied spider! AHHHHH!!!! Seriously, I couldn’t even write out that description without shivering. Terrifying.


this sounded so good, i went out and bought all the ingredients. i was already chopping the onions when i realized i was out of chili flakes 🙁 it’s sooooo cold i didn’t want to go out again so i’ve substituted some indian spices: crushed cumin & corriander seeds, bay leaves, and a pinch of garam masla (which has some chili powder in it)
hope it turns out ok!!!

nicole b

Hi Heidi!
I just got a message in my inbox with this post and I had just decided moments before to make red lentil soup for dinner tonight. I’m going to make a savoury zucchini and goat cheese cake to go with it as I got a huge zucchini from a friends garden yesterday. I’ll have to try your soup recipe instead of making my same old red lentil and tomato soup.
Mille mercis!


Heidi, your recipes and your PHOTOS are wonderful! Would you mind sharing with me what kind of camera you use to take your photographs? Thank you so much.
HS: Hi Iris, thank you. I wrote a little bit about photography, and the camera(s) I like here.

Iris Erlingsdóttir

Oh those Orb Spinners. I’m in Berkeley and we’re infested with them this time of year too. They spin those giant webs overnight, and they span a great distance. I won’t walk to my tomato patch anymore without waving a badminton racket in front of me the whole way. I do smash them, sometimes, because I don’t want more next year! I have walked into webs in the past and have looked down to see one of them on my person somewhere and it just freaks me out!


Spider webs freak me out too every time!
In my garage every morning it seems there is another one that was made overnight, and just getting into my car I have to use a stick to whack it away.
Same thing on my bicycle in the garage if I ride my bike to work…. yuck!


Hi, I live on the Central Coast of California. Every October we get the same exact spiders as you show in your photo. It’s funny my sister & I were just talking about them & here you are writing about them as well. I always get freaked running into the webs too since they seem to be all over our yard, it’s not the kind of spider I want crawling on me. It’s strange that that same spider appears year after year at the same time during the month of October. The spooky Halloween month.


This recipe is perfect timing! My veg brother is on a low iodine diet for thyroid cancer, so I’m going to be trying many of your vegan recipes while cooking for him and his wife. No dairy, cheese, soy or iodized salt. It’s only for six weeks thank goodness – I cannot imagine a life without those staples!
I used to freak about those spiders too, the big gold ones, but then I read about them. They are orb spiders, and make the nicest most symmetrical webs. Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web would have been an orb spiders. So now when I see one I call it Charlotte and they are less scary and are allowed to remain in the garden. But if it’s a black window, I call it Scylla and run away 🙂


I’m not big into adding salt at the end of cooking a dish, unless my previous efforts haven’t made the dish tasty enough. Why do you not add salt earlier when you’re caramelizing the onions/shallots/etc.?
Re the spiders, I live in Berkeley and every time I go out in the yard to exchange my baked goods for my neighbor’s chickens’ freshly laid eggs, apples right off the tree, or herbs from her garden, I have to wave something around in front of me to break the webs that have formed overnight. I guess it’s a small price to pay to live amidst lush greenery. Having grown up in NYC, I much prefer this to chasing cockroaches when you turn on a light at night.
HS: HI Lisa, if I know I’m going to be cooking beans or pulses, I typically wait to salt until close to the end, so the beans don’t seize up. It’s tricky though, for example if you are using a salty stock…


Ah! The cat-faced garden orb. I love those spiders! Alarmingly large, yes, but harmless and fascinating to watch. I wish we had more of those and less black widows!
I just love to try out lentil soup recipes! This one looks delicious. I’m a sucker for any recipe containing red lentils, they are my favorite lentil!


Heidi, you even managed to make that spider look beautiful. We have the same golden McNasty living on our porch (on Vancouver Island). AND I woke up this morning with a giant spider bite on my ankle… our bedroom window is off the porch… shudder.
I adore lentil soup, never thought to put rice in it. It looks delicious. Just the thing for this drearblustery greydrenched day by the ocean. It will be great with some hot rosemary-aged chedder-pepper scones. hmm.
I tried your garlic scape soup, btw, on your recommendation, and got your amAZing book. The soup was SO tasty, tho the texture I ended up with was quite viscous, like raw egg. Was that right? I’ve never cooked with scapes before other than to grill them.


Little Miss Heidi sat on her tushy eating her lentils and rice. Along came a spider and sat down beside her and scared Miss Heidi away… 🙂 Not perfect but I couldn’t resist.


This may be an old wives tale (from an old wife!) but I’ve been told that, to keep spiders away, collect some conkers, split the sweet kernel open and put one in each corner of you room. Guaranteed to work – maybe! Right, I’m off to prepare the lentil soup. Just beginning to recover from flu and your soup sounds just what I need!

Charlie Girl

garden spiders? I rejoice at their presence for they take care of the pests on my kale . mmmm simple lentil soup is just what I need, thanks for the great ideas!

organic GOodness

This is wonderful ^^ I love lentils and am a vegetarian. With my busy college schedule I like to find simple nice recipes since I cook everything and time is of the essence. Stumbled upon your site and looks great. Take care and goodluck with the spiders -shudders-.


I loooooove any type of lentil soup… Thanks so much for posting this as I’ve been drinking Egyptian lentil soup for too long – its DELICIOUS but I need a change…
As for the spiders, they terrify me too, but I can’t bring myself to kill them – they are artists after all 🙂 A friend of mine has this nifty little vacuum gadget which sucks them up and then you can safely release them into the “wild” or basically away from your lunch eating corner 🙂 I’ve got to get me one of those 🙂


Hi. Great site. I would really like to do a piece on my blog about your Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash. I made it for my family this weekend and it was a huge success. I’d like your permission to link to your entry and then post my results. I hope you agree. — Thanks. Jean


LOVE your recipes, Heidi! Any recommendations for a good-tasting broth available in stores? (Whole Foods, etc?) I live in San Diego and we don’t have many specialty/gourmet/natural food stores apart from WFs. Thanks, and keep up the wonderful creations!!
HS: There are a few, but I tend to use Rapunzel brand, the herb/sea salt cubes. But I don’t do the 1 cube to 2 cups water the recommend. I typically do 1 cube to 4-5 cups water, so it is more lightly flavored, less salty. And then season myself from there.


Yikes about the spiders. We have spiders a great deal here in Texas. It surprises me that I’ve started to tolerate them, but when we first moved into our house, which was vacant for about a month before our move-in, there were these gigantic non-web-making spiders that were brown and hairy and would run (yes, RUN) across the floor if you opened the door at night and they were near. I suppose they desensitized me over time. (just so you know, they must have decided that we weren’t leaving, because they no longer invade our house.) this soup looks lovely.


Following the sun through the house. This is interesting to me because I just did some research on Sue Miller, the author, as I was presenting one of her books at book club and she said the same thing….that she follows the sun through the house as she writes (longhand). Are you a fan of hers? Good recipes, Heidi!
HS: Thanks for the recommendation Sally, I’m always looking for new (to me) authors.


Beautiful pictures! I love watching the spiders making the webs through the window out our back door, especially in the porch light… but I’ve definitely been trained to double check before walking outside. We have those same large spiders in Maryland; do you know what they are? Anyway, it is also soup weather here and I happen to have plenty of red lentils, so look forward to trying the soup!


Hi Heidi,
I made a similar soup yesterday.I had oral surgery earlier this week and I was still feeling yucky. My beloved husband, he’s American husband, I am Lebanese made me his comfort soups and I was craving my comfort food. I gathered some energy and made a lentil soup like my mother used to make when we got sick as children. It is very much like your soup except that we use whole lentil, we run it through a hand mill then we add the rice to it. the spices that we use are cumin, allspice, cinnamon and black pepper , very traditionla in our cuisine. We serve the soup with toasted or fried pita chips and a squeeze of lemon juice…..That soup made me feel much better and took me back to my childhood……….Thank you for sharing…

Randa Hilal

Hi Heidi,
Thanks for the recipe! I plan to make this for lunch. I’m sure it will be delicious!
And, I just bought your book. It is wonderful! Both beautiful and inspiring.


What a pleasant notion – being able to follow the sun around your apartment all day, and enjoy a bowl of soup in your backyard, spiders or not. I need to figure out a way to do that, instead of sitting at a cubicle five days a week. Beautiful soup, and I too think avocado would be great with it.

Allison Arevalo

Hi Heidi,
Do you think this would work well with barley? I have a feeling it would need to cook longer, and I’m wondering if I will end up overcooking everything else. Thanks!
HS: I might try a pearled barley first, and then try whole barley next if the pearled barley version was promising.


i didn’t know there was a spiderweb season — i’d probably travel a lot during that time of year! 😉
i’m housesitting for some friends for the next week and although their house (and dogs) is lovely and comfortable, their kitchen is aweful! so a nice simple recipe like this will work fantastically! thanks!


I just made a lentil soup last night, and a splash of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice at the last minute gives it a wonderful refreshing flavor. I was surprised at how “meaty” the lentil/barley mixture tasted, especially with some stewed tomatoes added. I’ll be trying the red lentils next!


Thanks, Heidi. This sounds like a wonderful and easy soup recipe. I have been collecting soup recipes this week in preparation for the cooler months so your timing is just perfect!


Mmmm lentils! Having recently won my husband over with them, I’m excited to try adding rice. Sounds simple but delicious!
BTW, Kansas spiders like to live inside the house, too, which makes lunchtime tricky no matter where you go. Fall is always fun.


I make a red lentil and brown rice soup with coconut milk and rasam masala spices:
toasted then freshly ground coriander, cumin, and black mustard seeds, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Plus some freshly grated ginger.
Topped with some yogurt, chopped cashews and grated coconut.
Comfort food with just a little kick!


Hi Heidi,
I love lentils and this soup sounds wonderful! As for the spider, I have to admit we have a little one on our back porch that has become a pet. We moved his web when it was too close to our swing but now “Monty,” as we call him, has created a home in one corner. Well, thanks for the great Fall soup idea. I will add a few sweet baby carrots.


Well I for one love the spider and web photos… I am a huge fan of spiders and all of the bugs they eat! Thanks for sharing those. And then, the soup… it sounds fantastic. Thank you!

The Gardener's Eden

I CANNOT WAIT to make this soup. We have a jar full of red lentils on the shelf begging for something like this. The initial plan was to use them for Daal, but I think we’ll try this delicious sounding treat! Thanks!!


Aside from the spider, this looks delicious! I’ll have to persuade my roommate that lentil soup is what the body needs for serious house cleaning tonight!


Hi Heidi,
My comment is about spiders. The beautiful one you have pictured is a wonderful garden spider that helps to keep down pests. That said, I have these spiders in my yard and one day I went outside to find a large, well made web draped from my favorite outdoor chair to the fence, with a spider perched upon it. I complimented the spider on the beauty and workmanship of the web, but explained that it was in a bad spot because it had been built where I liked to sit.
The next day when I went out side, all traces of the web were gone and never rebuilt. Talking with spiders has been the most effective way for me to control their populations in my house & garden.


Ah yes…when it started raining a few days ago, my girlfriend was like “oh god, here come the spiders…”. We feel your pain!

Megan Gordon

I made my first red lentil soup on Monday and was shocked to see my beans turn into a mush. Then I learned why. Still good though, and now I have a go to bean for a quick soup I want to puree. I like the spider.

Spider season here in the mountains of central Idaho. I keep finding the fast black jumpers in the house. I have a fondness for the stripy one in your picture. I call em cat spiders. For some reason these ones fascinate me, maybe their size!
I love your website and have referred many friends here. I’m never disappointed with the recipes. Thank you for your efforts, your beautiful photos and writing.


Love this recipe Heidi! So simple, so delicious! I can’t wait to try it! This is such a perfect season for soups!


I make a very similar dish about once a week in the winter. It’s so easy and it really hits the spot!

Christa Downey

Oh you make me laugh. I was just thinking I should post a word about the spiders and webs today too as I gazed outside my rain drenched window. A stay at home day, I was sipping coffee and contemplating my one day off work when I re focused my gaze outside and saw this HUGE spider. I thot…hmmmm…..Glad I didn’t step outside.
I love your soup…make something so similar and it is the time of year for warm simplicity!


I hate spiders too! I always fret about spiders when I go walking in the woods…
But the red lentil soup is definitely a Fall must 🙂


The spider pictures give me the creeps! haha! The soup looks delicious though, and I happen to have a canister full of lentils just waiting for a delicious recipe like this. I know what I’ll be making this weekend.


All of these beautiful soups are exactly what I’m craving. I’m in New York and the temperature has dropped, the rain is falling and now that its the weekend, I can’t wait to make some of these recipes you’ve been posting recently. You take such good care of us, your devoted readers.
Thank you so much.


Oh dear, I’m having the same spider here too! Wednesday evening I went out to walk the dog. Within 30 mintues this huge spider set up housekeeping across the entryway of our front porch. The husband is out of town until Sunday, so out squatter is safe for awhile. He’s far too big for me to comfortably kill!
I made red lentil soup for the first time two weeks ago. I enjoyed it so much!

The Cooking Bride

Your spider is a garden spider–one of the orb weavers that spin enormous webs like the ones you’ve been seeing. They are totally harmless and will take care of multitudes and insects around your property.
Also, the soup looks delicious.


I love how delicious and simple this recipe is. The prose surrounding it is also gorgeous.


My husband also is squimish around spiders, so he hollers at me to wrangle and release them. I holler at him to wrangle any Texas-sized cockroaches that I cross …yuk.
But really this isn’t an appetite-inspiring topic, bugs I mean. I will make the Red Lentil Soup when lovebug season is over…two things to look forward to!
PS. Thanks to you I am topping everything with sliced almonds and crumbled feta. Brilliant! (I wonder how it’d taste on this oatmeal?)


Hey, not everybody gets such big, beautiful spider webs in their backyard.
And that red lentil soup looks like another good one to add to my collection (of red lentil soups).


Orb weaver spider! They’re harmless so long as you’re not a bug and weave big beautiful webs (sometimes eating their web every night and building a new one for the next day), but yeah, walking into any spider web is creepy. We had a big Cat-Faced Orb weaver Spider living in the backyard this Fall- that may well be what you have. Alas, she died with the first snow- I used to go out in the wee hours of the night and watch her work on her web.
I believe Charlotte’s Web was inspired by watching an Orb weaver work.
The lentil soup sounds fantastic for these colder days, and I think I have everything on hand to make it. I’ll definently give it a try!


I have yet to make soup with lentils – that looks great! Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

Simply Life

As always, I can’t wait to try this soup. I do hope you’re able to avoid the rest of this fall’s spider webs. I know how that can be, with all those invisible strings in your eyelashes and hair. Not the most pleasant.

Kylie of Thin Crust, Deep Dish

I always have the worst luck walking into spider webs!
The lentil soup looks delicious! With the weather getting cold, I think I may give this a try!


You know, today is my last day off before starting a new job and…I think I may just make this for lunch!


This looks delicious! Maybe it would be a little more flavorful with a dash of curry powder, particularly for those using water? It reminds me of watery, less spicy daals my mom would give us when we were sick in childhood.
Thanks for the recipe!


There is an official “spider season” there? Yikes. I have self-diagnosed myself as suffering from arachnophobia, so I also would have high-tailed it back inside for lunch.
Soups with few ingredients are oftentimes the best tasting and most healthy – I’m sure this red lentil soup is no exception.


Heidi, this is perfect timing! 🙂 It’s really really cold in Germany right now (almost down to 0°C at night) and I feel a cold coming my way … so a big bowl of soup is what I need!
By the way, I tried your Black Bean Brownies and the Vegetarian Chili at the weekend and they both turned out AMAZING!! I even got all the meat-loving guys to dig into their chili and ask for seconds … and I guess, I’ll be cooking lots of black beans in the next weeks 😉 (you can’t get them canned here so I have to buy dried ones)


Heidi, lovely post that lentil soup looks amazing. And I am glad you are not into the spider smashing business, I get so upset when I think of garden orb weavers being killed, yeah I’ve walked through many a sticky web only to worry where the heck is the spider, but they are harmless and very very unlikely to bite you, they are scaredy cats! Take care, love your blog, Lise x


Wow, that is some spider! The browny whitey one.
Is it big or tiny?
We’re heading for winter. 0°C or below in the mornings and throughout the day during this week. Mittens and hats out of closet and no spiders in sight :). Good thing is that you can cook all that which takes forever, french stews, nice soups etc, and then dig in.


It is spring here in Melbourne but we have had a few weeks of cold southerly air right up from Antartica.
Soup still seems to be a good menu idea.
I loved the photo’s especially now as they seem to reflect time on your hemisphere and ours also.
Your post alsoreminded me of our cat who would follow the sun around the house and would often be found leaning into a brick wall which retained the heat.
Here in Melbourne we are craving summer and warmth.
Our weather patterns are erratic, 16 degrees one day, 27 four days later!
Menu’s in spring and Autumn are always flexible! Rissoto one day, salad the next!


Hi Heidi! It’s my first time commenting but I’ve been following your site for so long… I’ve tried a bunch of your recipes and they never, never, disappoint. In regards to the red lentils soup, I would add a poached egg. With such a cold weather here in Holland, a bowl of soup is all I can ask for.
Best regards,

Joana Mendes

Hi Heidi! It’s my first time commenting but I’ve been following your site for so long… I’ve tried a bunch of your recipes and they never, never, disappoint. In regards to the red lentils soup, I would add a poached egg. With such a cold weather here in Holland, a bowl of soup is all I can ask for.
Best regards,

Joana Mendes

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