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Overhead view of spicy carrot and lentil soup in black bowl on black tile.

Spicy Carrot and Lentil Soup

  • Author: Lexi
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This creamy spicy carrot and lentil soup is packed with flavor and topped with a swirl of za'atar olive oil and yogurt for a comforting, healthy weeknight dinner! It's easy to make vegan and pairs perfectly with warm bread for a full meal. 


Units Scale


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced (2-3 cloves)
  • 3 cups diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 14.5 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (5.3 oz container - regular or nondairy)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Za'atar oil:

  • 3 tbsp za'atar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste


Za'atar oil:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together za'atar, oil and salt. Set aside until ready to serve.


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add in garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Stir in carrots, celery, cumin, salt, paprika, cinnamon, harissa and tomato paste. Stir well and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  3. Add in 4 cups of broth, diced tomatoes and lemon juice. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the red lentils in remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth, 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Cook according to package directions, until tender, then drain any excess liquid and set aside.
  5. Transfer the soup to a heat safe blender (or use an immersion blender), add in the yogurt and blend until smooth.
  6. Return to pot and stir in the lentils and cilantro.
  7. Serve topped with a swirl of za'atar oil and more yogurt (optional).


Lentils: We would only recommend substituting with yellow lentils if you can't find red lentils. Green, brown or black lentils won't work as an equal substitute and will completely change the texture of this soup.

Harissa: Harissa is a spicy North African red pepper paste, typically containing dry red chiles, garlic, oil and spices like caraway, smoked paprika and cumin. You should be able to find this in the spice aisle of your grocery store. You can also use a dry harissa seasoning blend instead of a paste. 

Blending the soup: We like to wait to add the cooked lentils until after blending the base of the soup for a little bit of texture and a slightly thicker soup. If you want a completely creamy soup, feel free to add the cooked lentils right into the blender. 

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within a week. You can also freeze this soup for up to 6 months. When ready to enjoy, transfer to the fridge to defrost overnight, then heat gently on stovetop until warmed through.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Soups
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 375
  • Sugar: 9.3 g
  • Sodium: 966.9 mg
  • Fat: 21.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 37.3 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 11.1 g

Keywords: spicy carrot and lentil soup