Red Lentil Soup With Smoked Paprika

Smoked Paprika Lentil Soup
Molly Watson
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
345 Calories
6g Fat
54g Carbs
21g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 345
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1264mg 55%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Protein 21g
Calcium 105mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Red lentils are perfect for plant-based weeknight dishes. They are hulled and split, which means they cook up fast. In this soup, they are cooked with vegetables and seasoned with cumin and smoked paprika to highlight their earthy flavor.

Use your favorite fruity olive oil to garnish this soup as a nice contrast to the smoky flavor and hearty texture.

Note: Smoked paprika is a Spanish staple. Look for pimentòn ahumado in specialty food stores, spice shops, Spanish food stores, or buy online here.


  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (fine sea salt, plus more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked)
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken broth ( vegetable broth, or water)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pick over the lentils—pulling out and discarding anything that isn't a lentil (bits of grit or even small rocks can sometimes make it into bags of lentils). Put them in a sieve and rinse them with cool running water until the water runs clear. Set aside.

  3. Peel and finely chop the onion. Trim and finely chop the celery. Trim, peel, and finely chop the carrot. (Note: It's more important to chop this onion-celery-carrot mixture evenly so they all cook at the same rate than finely so they all cook quickly since the soup gets puréed.) Peel and mince the garlic.

  4. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, celery, carrot, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cumin and paprika, cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  5. Add the rinsed lentils and 6 cups of broth or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook until the lentils are soft and falling apart— about 20 minutes. Use a large spoon to skim off and discard any foam that forms on the surface of the soup. Add up to 2 cups additional broth or water if the soup seems too thick.

  6. Use a hand-held blender to purée the soup. Or, whirl the soup in batches in a blender or food processor (cover the top with a kitchen towel to avoid potential burns). However you purée it, make sure to do so thoroughly, so the soup is truly smooth. Add water to thin, if needed. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil, if you like.

  7. Enjoy!

Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.