This Greek-style Mediterranean Lentil Soup (fakes in Greek) is hearty, healthy, naturally vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. And the best part is that it can be made in under one hour.
This recipe for Mediterranean Lentil Soup was inspired by a soup I enjoyed at a local Greek restaurant, and it is called Fakes Soupa. This easy lentil soup is rich and flavourful and the umami notes are so apparent that my meat-loving family thought I had made this soup with meat! But alas, this is a meatless soup that is perfect when you are trying to include more plant-based food into your diet. Mediterranean Lentil Soup is the hearty goodness of green lentils, perfect for a cozy dinner or light lunch.
This soup pairs well with a toasted buttered slice of bread or an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich. And if you love lentils, you may also appreciate a big bowl of Italian Lentil and Barley Soup with Vegetables.
Ingredients for Mediterranean Lentil Soup
- Passata: This is a tomato purée (similar to tomato sauce) and is smooth and free of seeds and tomato peel. It is widely available at the grocery store in the section with canned tomatoes.
See the recipe card below for all the ingredients and the exact quantity for each.
How to make Mediterranean Lentil Soup
Sauté carrot and onion: To a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, carrot and red onion. Sauté while stirring occasionally until the onions and carrot have softened, approximately 4-5 minutes.
Add garlic: Add the garlic to the pot and continue to sauté and stir for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients: Add the remaining ingredients except for the vinegar. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. When the soup is boiling, reduce it to a simmer, put the lid on and cook for 30-45 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through. When fully cooked, remove the pot from the heat, add the vinegar, stir and serve.
Secrets for Success
- It's important to sort and inspect the lentils before adding them to the soup. Often you can find tiny fragments of stones and debris among the lentils. Lay the lentils on a tea towel, spread them out, remove anything that is not a lentil, and discard.
Substitutions & Variations
- Brown lentils or du Puy lentils can be substituted for green lentils. Do not substitute red lentils because they do not retain their shape and will dissolve in the soup.
- You may substitute tomato sauce if you can not find passata. I recommend a tomato sauce low in sodium and tomatoes only (no spices or sugar).
- If you'd like to add some greens to the soup, then spinach would be an excellent choice. Chop 2 cups of spinach and add it to the soup 5 minutes before serving.
- Fresh herbs would be delicious to complement the lentil soup. Feel free to try rosemary, thyme or sage.
- If you'd like to make a spicy lentil soup, add a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper or a ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
- Adding one ½ teaspoon of cumin, turmeric or paprika may also be added to the soup and would complement the lentils' flavour.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Lentils are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. As well they are a great plant-based protein.
It depends on what kind of lentil soup you are making and the texture you are trying to achieve in the final dish. Brown and green lentils will keep their shape in a soup, but red lentils will dissolve.
Eating lentils can slow digestion and the release of sugar into the bloodstream, thereby reducing blood glucose levels. When glucose is slowly absorbed, you don't have sugar spikes, and the blood glucose levels remain more stable. Science Daily has a great article about this.
Storage & Reheating
- Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days. While the soup can be frozen (for up to three months), it is best eaten within a few days.
- The soup will thicken once refrigerated; therefore, feel free to add a few tablespoons of water to a bowl of soup to loosen the mixture before reheating it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Mediterranean Lentil Soup
- cutting board
- chef's knife
- heavy bottomed pot
- wooden spoon
- measuring spoons and cups
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup peeled and diced carrot
- ½ cup red onion diced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup passata
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 cups dried green lentils, 1 pound or 450 grams, rinsed, drained and sorted through
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- crumbled goat's cheese (as pictured) or crumbled feta
- drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
- a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley
- a dusting of Pecorino-Romano cheese
- Sauté carrot and onion: To a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, carrot and red onion. Sauté while stirring occasionally until the onions and carrot have softened, approximately 4-5 minutes.⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, ½ cup peeled and diced carrot, ½ cup red onion diced
- Add garlic: Add the garlic to the pot and continue to sauté and stir for an additional 2-3 minutes.4-5 cloves garlic
- Add remaining ingredients: Add the remaining ingredients except for the vinegar. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. When the soup is boiling, reduce it to a simmer, put the lid on and cook for 30-45 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through. When fully cooked, remove the pot from the heat, add the vinegar, stir and serve.6 cups water, 1 cup passata, 1 teaspoon oregano, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 4 bay leaves, 2 cups dried green lentils, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar