Simple & Savory Armenian Lentil Soup Recipe – Your Healthy Meal In No Time

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Embark on a culinary journey to the heart of Armenia with our Armenian lentil Soup Recipe. This rich, hearty bowl is teeming with tender lentils, plump tomatoes, and a medley of vibrant vegetables, all simmering in a savory broth infused with exotic spices and aromatic herbs. The robust flavors of cumin, paprika, and fresh coriander mingle in perfect harmony, creating a warm, soul-soothing masterpiece that’s sure to captivate your taste buds and leave you craving more. A true feast for the senses!

Embark on a delightful culinary journey to the heart of Armenia with our stunning Armenian Lentil Soup. This centuries-old recipe has been passed down to generations, surviving the test of time due to its harmonious blend of healthy ingredients and refreshing flavours.

armenian red lentil soup recipe

A love letter to traditional Armenian cuisine, this lentil soup takes the humble lentil and transforms it into a nourishing and satisfying meal.

Enhanced with a vibrant medley of fresh herbs and earthy spices, this soup is a testament to Armenia’s rich culinary heritage. 

Laden with protein-packed lentils, aromatic onions, fresh tomatoes, and a splash of lemon juice, this bowlful of comfort speaks directly to the soul. 

Whether it’s a chilly winter’s night or a breezy summer day, this timeless Armenian Lentil Soup recipe promises to bring warmth and fulfilment to your table.

It’s more than just a soup – it’s a treasured story of tradition and heart-warming hospitality poured into a bowl.

What Is Armenian Lentil Soup?

Armenian Lentil Soup, called Vospov About, is a popular dish in Armenian cuisine. It’s hearty, nutritious, and known for its simplicity and rich flavour.

It mainly consists of lentils simmered with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and spices like cumin and turmeric. 

Carrots and bell peppers can be added. Served with bread and garnished with herbs, this soup is loved by Armenians and appreciated by vegetarians worldwide.

Each family has its own variation, creating a diverse range of flavours for this seemingly simple dish.

armenian red lentil soup recipe

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?

You can modify the Armenian Lentil Soup recipe to fit various dietary needs:

  • Keto To make this recipe Keto-friendly, you could use a blend of low-carb vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, and bell peppers. Add more fats, like olive oil or butter, to meet the high-fat requirement of a Keto diet.
  • Paleo Lentils are technically legumes and aren’t typically included in a strict Paleo diet, so you could replace them with other vegetables or meat. 
  • Gluten-free The basic Armenian Lentil Soup recipe is already gluten-free. However, always check the labels of store-bought broths and spices.
  • Whole30 To make this Whole30 compliant, you’ll need to replace the rice or bulgur wheat with a compliant source of carbs like sweet potatoes or other root vegetables. 

Recipe Directions

  1. Gather and prepare ingredients: dice onions, rinse lentils, chop parsley, zest/juice lemon, and measure spices.
  2. Heat 1-1/2 tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot.
  3. Sauté onions for 2-3 mins until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add lentils, bulgur/rice, thyme, and Aleppo pepper. Sauté for 30 secs to coat in oil and meld flavours.
  5. Pour in 10 cups water/broth, reduce heat to low.
  6. Cook uncovered for 30 mins, stirring occasionally to encourage lentils to soften.
  7. Season with lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
  8. Optional: Use immersion blender for smoother consistency.
  9. Ladle into bowls, garnish generously with chopped parsley. Enjoy!
armenian red lentil soup recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings


  • Enhance the soup’s heartiness by adding cooked chicken, beef, or lamb. 
  • Include extra vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, or spinach for flavour and nutrition. 
  • Experiment with spices such as coriander, cinnamon, or cayenne.


  • Increase texture and protein by incorporating legumes like chickpeas or kidney beans.
  • Substitute rice or bulgur wheat with grains like quinoa or farro. 
  • Explore different herbs like dill, cilantro, or mint for varied flavours.


  • Add a dollop of Greek yogurt or drizzle tahini for tangy creaminess. 
  • Toasted almonds or pine nuts provide a satisfying crunch. 
  • Infuse the soup with flavour using herb oils like basil or rosemary. 
  • Sprinkle feta or crumbled cheese for a salty balance.
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Slow Cooker

  • Sauté ingredients, transfer to a slow cooker with broth/water.
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours until lentils are soft and flavours melded.
  • Stir in lemon juice, zest, season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.

Instant Pot

  • Sauté ingredients using Instant Pot’s sauté function.
  • Add broth/water, secure lid, set to Manual High Pressure for 15 mins.
  • Natural release for 10 mins, then quick release remaining pressure.
  • Stir in lemon juice, zest, season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.
Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

You can certainly use store-bought broth in your Armenian Lentil Soup. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting store-bought broth:

  • Sodium Content: Many store-bought broths contain high levels of sodium. Look for low-sodium options so you can better control the saltiness of your soup.
  • Quality: Higher quality broths often have a richer, more authentic flavour. They may be a bit more expensive, but the flavour payoff can be worth it.
  • Ingredients: Check the ingredient list for any potential allergens or ingredients you might want to avoid. Some broths may contain additives or preservatives.21
Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

How To Serve?

  • Tableware: Serve in deep, wide bowls or rustic earthenware for visual appeal and ease of eating.
  • Garnish: Don’t skimp on parsley; it adds colour and flavour. Consider yogurt swirls or extra pepper for aesthetics.
  • Bread: Accompany with warm, crusty bread for dipping and texture.
  • Table Setup: Use placemats, cloth napkins, and good soup spoons for an elevated dining experience.
  • Temperature: Serve hot and warm bowls beforehand to maintain soup temperature.
How To Serve?

Perfect Side Dishes

The Armenian Lentil Soup is a hearty, flavourful dish that can be enjoyed as a meal on its own. However, if you’d like to create a more elaborate meal, here are a few side dishes that would complement it nicely:

  • Fresh Bread: Crusty bread or Armenian flatbread complements the soup’s flavours and adds texture.
  • Salad: A simple green or tomato-cucumber salad provides a refreshing contrast.
  • Grilled/Roasted Vegetables: Lightly seasoned bell peppers, zucchini, or eggplant add smoky flavours.
  • Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma): Authentic and flavourful, they provide variety in taste and texture.
  • Cheese and Olives: Mediterranean cheeses, olives, and hummus complete the meal, harmonizing with the soup’s flavours.
Perfect Side Dishes

Storage And Make Ahead

Here are some simple storage and make ahead tips:

  • Cool Quickly: After cooking, allow the soup to cool to room temperature swiftly by placing the pot in a sink filled with ice water, stirring occasionally.
  • Refrigerate: Transfer the cooled soup into airtight containers and store it in the refrigerator. Properly stored, Armenian Lentil Soup can last for 3-5 days.
  • Freezing: This soup freezes well due to its ingredients and lack of dairy. Freeze in portioned, freezer-safe containers or bags, leaving some space for expansion. It can be stored frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If the soup has thickened, add a bit of water or vegetable broth to reach your desired consistency.

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • Prep Ingredients: Dice your vegetables and gather your spices ahead of time. You can store prepped vegetables in the refrigerator to save on cooking time.
  • Cook Lentils: Lentils can be cooked and stored separately in the fridge for up to 2 days before adding to the soup, especially if you prefer them to maintain a firmer texture.
  • Assemble and Simmer: Combine your prepped ingredients and bring the soup to a simmer to meld the flavors. If you’re short on time, consider using a slow cooker to cook the soup on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  • Adjust Seasonings: Seasonings may mellow during storage. Taste and adjust the seasonings after reheating, adding more salt, pepper, or spices as needed.
  • Portion for Convenience: If making the soup primarily for future meals, consider portioning it into individual servings before freezing. This makes it easier to thaw and reheat only what you need.
Storage And Make Ahead

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

Leftover Armenian Lentil Soup is incredibly versatile, and there are many delicious ways to use it. Here are a few ideas:

  • Repurpose Into Another Dish: You can add leftover soup to a stew for added thickness and flavor. Or, you can serve it over cooked grains such as quinoa, rice, or bulgur.
  • Make a Dip: Blend the soup until smooth and serve it as a dip for vegetables or chips. You may want to adjust the seasoning or add some herbs to enhance the flavor.
  • Create a Sauce: You could also blend the soup and use it as a sauce for pasta or grains if it’s too thick, thin it with some broth or water.
  • Use in a Casserole: Add some protein like cooked chicken, vegetables, and a grain like rice or pasta, then bake until hot and bubbly.
  • Freeze For Later: If you can’t immediately use the leftovers, simply freeze them. Frozen soup can be reheated for a quick and easy meal on a busy day.


  • Choose the Right Lentils: Opt for green or brown lentils as they hold their shape well during cooking. Red lentils can also be used but will result in a creamier texture as they break down more easily.
  • Rinse Lentils Thoroughly: Before cooking, rinse the lentils under cold water to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Sauté Aromatics: Begin by sautéing onions, garlic, and bell peppers (if using) in olive oil until they are soft and translucent. This step builds a flavorful foundation for the soup.
  • Toast the Spices: Add spices like cumin, paprika, and allspice to the sautéed aromatics for a minute to release their flavors before adding the broth and lentils. Armenian Lentil Soup often features a unique blend of spices that give it its distinctive taste.
  • Use a Rich Broth: Vegetable or chicken broth can be used as the soup base. A rich, flavorful broth adds depth to the soup. Consider using a low-sodium broth to control the salt level.
  • Simmer Gently: Once you’ve added the lentils and broth, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently. This allows the lentils to cook evenly without becoming mushy.
  • Add Acidic Ingredients Last: Ingredients like tomatoes or lemon juice can affect the cooking time of lentils if added too early. Add these towards the end of cooking to maintain the integrity of the lentils and to brighten the soup’s flavor.
Simple & Savory Armenian Lentil Soup Recipe - Your Healthy Meal In No Time

Simple & Savory Armenian Lentil Soup Recipe – Your Healthy Meal In No Time

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Course: Soup Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time





Armenian Lentil Soup is a hearty, comforting, and nutritionally balanced dish that celebrates the simplicity and deliciousness of its key ingredients.


  • 1-1/2 Tbsp 1-1/2 Olive Oil

  • 1or 2 Medium Sized 1or 2 Onion (Large, Diced)

  • 2 Cups 2 Red Lentils (Or A Mix Of Red And White, Or Red And Brown, Rinsed) (Medium-Sized)

  • 1 Cup 1 Rice Or Bulgur Wheat

  • 1 Spring 1 Fresh Thyme

  • 1 Big Pinch 1 Urfa Biber Pepper (Red Pepper Flakes) Or Aleppo

  • 10 Cups 10 Water, Beef Or Chicken Broth (Either Homemade Or Low Store-Bought) ( Big Pinch)

  • 2 Tsp 2 Lemon Juice

  • Lemon Zest (A Bit)

  • Kosher Salt(To Taste)

  • Fresh Black Pepper(To Taste)

  • 1/2 Cup 1/2 Chopped Parsley (For Garnish)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Getting ready
    First, gather all the things you need. Cut your onions into small pieces, wash and drain the lentils, and chop the parsley. Grate the outside of the lemon and squeeze out its juice. Measure your spices.
  • Cooking
    Put 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a big pot or a heavy 5-quart pot and heat it over medium heat.
    Put the diced onions into the pot and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes until they become see-through but not brown. Stir every now and then so they don’t burn.

    Next, add the 2 cups of lentils, 1 cup of bulgur wheat (or rice), a sprig of fresh thyme, and a good pinch of Aleppo pepper. Cook all these things together for about 30 seconds, stirring to make sure they’re well covered in oil and the flavours mix together.
    Pour in 10 cups of water or broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable) and turn the heat down to low.

    Let the soup cook without a cover for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and bulgur become soft. While it cooks, stir every now and then with a wooden spoon to help the lentils blend into the liquid.

    After 30 minutes, taste the soup and add 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, a bit of grated lemon peel, kosher salt, and fresh black pepper to your liking. Stir well to mix everything together.
  • Blending
    Now, your soup should have a nice, chunky texture. If you want it smoother, use a hand blender to blend the soup until it reaches the consistency you want.
  • Serving
    Scoop the hot soup into bowls and sprinkle a lot of chopped parsley on top of each bowl.
  • Large Pot Or Dutch Oven
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife And Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups And Spoons
  • Zester Or Grater
  • Immersion Blender


  • Type Of Lentils: This recipe uses red lentils, which break down during cooking, creating a thick and hearty texture. However, you can also use green or brown lentils, but keep in mind they hold their shape better and might need longer cooking time.
  • Spices: Aleppo or Urfa Biber peppers give a distinctive flavour to this soup. If you can’t find them, you can substitute them with red pepper flakes, but the taste may vary.
  • Lemon: Don’t skip the lemon juice! It adds a refreshing touch that balances the earthiness of the lentils.
  • Texture: The soup should be thick and rustic. If you prefer a smoother texture, you can blend part or all of the soup using an immersion or countertop blender.
  • Vegan/Vegetarian Version: Use vegetable broth or water instead of beef or chicken broth to make this soup vegan or vegetarian.
  • Storage: This soup stores well in the fridge for 4-5 days and freezes well for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: Reheat on the stove or in the microwave, stirring occasionally. If the soup has thickened too much during storage, add some water or broth while reheating.
  • Add-Ons And Variations: Feel free to add vegetables or meat to the soup or play around with different spices and herbs to make it your own. Enjoy this soup as is or with a side of crusty bread, a fresh salad, or your favourite accompaniment.

Nutrition Table 

Nutrition Table 

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