Oriental Lentil Soup

Mar 4, 2022all recipes, lunch, winter

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What is a vegan food blog without a lentil soup? After all this time I had to create a decadent recipe for oriental lentil soup. It could be just a classic European-style lentil soup, but I think that’s a little boring.

This recipe was created for Spar Slovenija.


overhead shot of oriental lentil soup

Spices create dimension

I have to say that I’ve been a fan of spices ever since I started cooking. At the moment I have over 40 different spices and spice mixes in my kitchen. No, I don’t use them all at all times. Yes, I have already used them all. There are those that are in constant use and those that I use for special dishes. But I want and need them all; *don’t judge*.

This recipe doesn’t call for many spices. We only need cumin and curry powder (and salt and pepper ofc).

Cumin is one of my favourite spices. It’s also called oriental caraway because it resembles caraway, but it has a distinct aroma of its own, which is why I like it a lot more than caraway. Curry powder is a very general notion. There are as many different curry powders as you can imagine. But for the sake of simplicity, I’ll call this curry powder and you choose whichever you like or whichever you find in the store.

Cumin is the spice that really gives dimension to the food. I always use it in the dishes which would traditionally be prepared with meat. Cumin and caraway both have the aroma that is usually used with meat and therefore create a meaty taste of the dish. Paired with some smoked paprika and sumac, they create a lovely umami flavour.


oriental lentil soup on the table, verticalphoto


Lentil soup on repeat

I’m not joking when I say I could eat this soup on daily basis. If I were you, I’d cook a huge pot of this soup (think doubling or tripling the amount) and freeze the leftovers. They will certainly come in handy on busy or lazy days.

The magic of this soup (as well as many other one-pot soups) is that it becomes even better with time. I’m not talking about aging it for a month. But it tends to be better the next day when all of the tastes have combined and the soup developed its own taste.

You could also cook it and store it in the fridge. If you’re a busy mom or someone on a busy schedule, this kind of meal prep can save your ass. Add different kinds of carbs to it (amaranth, quinoa, rice, naan or pitta bread, potatoes) and some fresh veg or salad and you have yourself a full abundant meal. The soup is highly nutritious on its own, so no need to add other foods to it if you don’t want to or don’t have the time.


oriental lentil soup for whole family on the table


Ingredients Q&A

There’s always something with ingredients, isn’t it?

Lentils: the recipe calls for green lentils. I haven’t tried other lentils, but I think it could work with brown or red lentils. Red lentils tend to overcook and fall apart quickly, which is why I love working with green lentils that keep their form for longer. Don’t use urad dhal as, in my opinion, it doesn’t really work in this recipe.

Tomato pieces in their own juice: you could use tomato purée or peeled tomatoes. You can even try with fresh tomatoes, but you’ll need quite a few.

Spinach: you can use any other greens you’d like. Kale works great in this dish.

Spices: please use all of the spices. They are what makes this dish special and different. If you don’t use cumin or curry, this dish will not be what it was supposed to be.

Carrots and leek: you don’t have to use it, but mind that if you don’t use it the taste of the soup won’t be the same, therefore the whole dish won’t be that good.

I can only say that when you’re making a dish for the first time, follow the recipe (unless you’re allergic or really don’t like one of the ingredients) closely. Only this way will you know what the dish was supposed to be like and the next time you can make changes that suit your taste better.


taking a bite of oriental lentil soup

If you like simple recipes, you should try my rainbow buddha bowl, oven-baked creamy pumpkin pasta, or sweet potato gnocchi with mushroom sauce. Craving a simple snack? Try my vegan sandwich or homemade protein bars.

Are you recreating any of my recipes? Don’t forget to take a photo and tag me on Instagram @littlekitchenvibes



overhead shot of oriental lentil soup

Oriental Lentil Soup

When it's cold outside we all want something warm to eat. This oriental lentil soup is created to warm you up and keep you full.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine oriental
Servings 6 people


  • 250 g green lentils
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 200 g leek
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cans tomato pieces
  • 100 g spinach fresh
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • lemon juice


  • It's best to soak lentils before cooking them. Soak them for at least one hour, even better if it's 4 hours. You can also soak them overnight.
  • Let's start by preparing all the ingredients. Chop onions and garlic. Peel and cut carrots into small pieces. Clean leek and slice it into circles. Wash spinach and chop it roughly. If your spinach leaves are small, there's no need to chop them, otherwise it's nice to make them a bit smaller.
  • On to cooking. Warm-up olive oil in a large pot. Sautée onions for a few minutes along with carrots. When carrots start softening and onions start getting a bit of a brown colour, add curry powder, cumin, and garlic. Sautée for another 2 minutes, then add leek. Sautée a bit more until leek softens a bit.
  • Then add soaked and strained lentils and tomato pieces. Add salt, stir well, cover with a lid and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. The time it will take for lentils to soften depends on how long they've been soaking. Green lentils take up to 45 minutes to soften, but if soaked, it can only take 15-20 minutes. Soaking also helps with digesting them and eliminates bloating and gases.
  • When lentils are cooked, add spinach and stir it in.
  • A minute or two later, when spinach softens, add freshly ground black pepper. I add at least 2 tsp, but it really is up to you how much you add as black pepper is a bit spicy. Then squeeze a bit of lemon juice in, too. Stir and voilá - your soup is ready!
  • You can serve this soup on its own or add some pitta bread. You might want to go with rice, amaranth, bulgur, or quinoa as a side dish. A fresh salad also fits well with this meal.
Keyword lentil soup, one pot dish, onepot soup, oriental lentil soup, vegan lentil soup



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