Persian-Style Red Lentil and Tomato Soup

"This tangy soup is low-fat, quick and easy to prepare! It is a copycat-of a-copycat recipe from the soup served at Reza's, a Persian restaurant in Chicago (so called because I have never been to Reza's, but once had someone else's imitation of it!). Sumac powder and dried limes can both be found at Middle Eastern groceries or ethnic stores."
photo by Sephardi Kitchen photo by Sephardi Kitchen
photo by Sephardi Kitchen
Ready In:


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 carrot, chopped finely
  • 1 celery, chopped (optional)
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or 4 cups chicken stock
  • 12 cup red lentil, rinsed
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped (or 2tbs dried)
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 -2 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 dried lime (strongly preferred, but can substitute with 1/4 c lime or lemon juice)
  • 12 teaspoon turmeric
  • 12 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper


  • Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened.
  • Stir in the turmeric and paprika. Add tomatoes and stock along with the dried lime. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. If the dried lime is still floating, cut it in half with a knife or kitchen scissors now that it is softened.
  • Add the lentils, return to a simmer. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
  • Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree half the soup, return to the pot.
  • Add sumac and parsley/other herbs, cook 5 minutes longer.
  • Serve hot with bread and a dollop of yogurt (optional).

Questions & Replies

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  1. Muppetcow
    Holy cow--how have I not reviewed this recipe yet? I've made this half a dozen times at least and it never disappoints. Made it for a soup potluck at work and it was just as popular as the heavy, fat-laden, cream-and-sausage soups (bleh). Proof that healthy, vegan food is delicious! My carnivorous husband likes it and so does my 12-year-old stepdaughter.
  2. flamencofay
    I tried this recipe in hopes that it would be like the lentil soup at my favorite restaurant. It's even better. I'm amazed and thrilled. This will be a staple for me from now on.
  3. Sandra L Etemad
    I love cooking Persian food, and everything in the recipes *seems* like it should make a good Persian soup, but something just isn't quite right. For one thing, I think the parsley needs to cook a lot longer -- it tasted far too "green" with the parsley barely cooked. I hope it's better tomorrow. For the future, I would put the parsley in earlier, and maybe tinker with the spices. If it's a lot better tomorrow, I'll change my rating.


I am a junior at the University of Illinois @ Urbana Champaign, studying Speech and Hearing Science with a concentration in Audiology. I grew up in a very small rural town in northern Illinois and attended a residential high school (IMSA) in Aurora. I love soccer, fishing, dissecting stuff, drawing and painting, henna, pyrography, knitting (although I am not very good at it!) cooking and prowling for recipes online, Judaism, reading, rock climbing, and the outdoors. I hope to pursue a doctorate in Audiology (AuD) after undergrad. I have always loved cooking and trying new foods, and moving into my first apartment has been a wonderful opportunity to do so. However, it has also been quite a transition getting used to actually cooking for myself everyday, without making a huge ordeal. I do believe I am getting better at fixing a meal in a more efficient amount of time :)
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