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Recipe | Middle Eastern Lentil and Rice Soup

Middle Eastern Lentil & Rice Soup

Middle Eastern Lentil & Rice Soup
Lentil soup is one of my staple foods. As a vegetarian, I like it because it’s a good source of protein. And since I’m trying to lose weight, I like it because it’s filling without being a creamy, rich soup. It’s easy to make and it holds up well in the freezer. Really, what’s not to love?

One of my favorite varieties of lentil soup is the Middle Eastern kind. Back in the day, my husband and I lived near a wonderful Middle Eastern restaurant called Pita House. It had fast food prices, but the food was fresh and light. (Well, maybe the falafel wasn’t light. But it was delicious!) During the colder months of the year, they served the best lentil soup. It had a strong aroma of cumin and they’d serve it with a slice of lemon that you’d squeeze into it just before eating. A cup of that Middle Eastern lentil soup and a side of fresh-baked pita bread with baba ghannouj was my favorite lunch for many years.

Middle Eastern Lentil & Rice Soup in Pot
When I saw the recipe for Arabian Lentil and Rice Soup in Appetite For Reduction, I knew it was very close to the soup I so enjoyed back when we lived in Illinois. But it wasn’t quite the same. The biggest difference was the fact that the soup I remembered had brown lentils, not red. I added celery and changed the preparation too. Would it turn out like the soup from Pita House?

YES! It was exactly like the soup from Pita House. Granted, it has been several years since I’ve had the soup, so my memory might be a little bit cloudy, but it has the strong cumin flavor that I remember and squeezing in a little bit of lemon juice at the end really seals the deal. I made a big batch and froze it so I can enjoy my favorite lentil soup whenever the craving hits me.

Middle Eastern Lentil and Rice Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6

Middle Eastern Lentil and Rice Soup

An easy (and delicious!) cumin-scented Middle Eastern Lentil and Rice soup. Adapted from Appetite For Reduction's Arabian Lentil & Rice Soup.


  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 c. brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 c. brown rice
  • 6 c. vegetable broth
  • lemon wedges for serving (wedges from 1 lemon is a good amount)


  1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, salt, and pepper and saute for another minute. Add spices and cook for 15 seconds, stirring constantly.
  3. Add lentils, rice, and broth. Cover Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer partially covered for 40 minutes, or until rice and lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Serve with lemon wedges.


1 serving is 5 Weight Watchers PointsPlus

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  • Reply
    Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry
    January 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    This soup looks scrumptious! It reminds me I need to eat lentils more often 🙂

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      January 20, 2012 at 7:34 am

      Thank you! Everyone should eat lentils more often! 😉 They’re definitely my favorite legume to cook with because they don’t require all the pre-soaking, boiling for an hour, etc. They’re pretty much impossible to mess up.

  • Reply
    Mary Beth Elderton
    January 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    This sounds delicious! In college I had a variety of friends among the International students, and we’d trade off cooking. I LOVE the middle eastern flavors. I am going to try this right away. Thank you!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      January 20, 2012 at 7:33 am

      I hope you enjoy it! I love Middle Eastern flavors too, particularly cumin (although cumin is in a lot of other cuisines too!).

  • Reply
    Grumpy Grateful Mom
    January 20, 2012 at 3:11 am

    This is something I’d definitely make! I love lentil soup, though I haven’t made it in a long time! Having bread (like in your photo) to go with it sound delicious too.

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      January 20, 2012 at 7:30 am

      Pita bread would have been even better, but I didn’t have any on hand so I borrowed a piece of my husband’s jalapeno cheese bread for the photo. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jenn @therebelchick
    January 21, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I love lentils! I must try this recipe!

  • Reply
    MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College
    January 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Thank you for stopping by my blog! I am so happy to find a fellow vegetarian blogger, I have been looking through you recipes and I must say I love them all!!

    I am going to make this next weekend for my week of lunches. The rice and lentils are sure to keep my tummy happy until dinner!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      January 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      Aw, thank you! And I hope you like the soup if you make it–it’s definitely one of my favorites!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I’ve only ever tried one lentil recipe and it was okay but not stellar – I’m going to have to give this one a try. Do you eat the lemon wedges with the lentils or squeeze the juice into them or what?

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      January 23, 2012 at 7:50 am

      Oh, oops, I guess I should have clarified that–you squeeze the juice into the soup. My husband eats lemon wedges like that, but they’re way too sour for me. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Sounds like a simple yet flavorful vegan soup recipe!

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Rachel's Giveaways
    May 11, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Yay, I already have all the ingredients to make this on hand! Thank you for the perfect timing on sharing this recipe 🙂

    • Reply
      May 12, 2012 at 8:09 am

      That’s why I made it this week too–I had everything I needed to make it! 😀

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Rachel's Giveaways
    May 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I made this recently and had to come back here just to tell you how much I LOVED this recipe! Perfect for making ahead for my lunches. I tried it first without the lemon and it would have been okay to eat, but the squeeze of fresh lemon juice really adds to the flavor.

    • Reply
      May 24, 2012 at 7:33 am

      Thanks for letting me know! I agree, the lemon juice totally makes the soup. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I found this recipe on a list of great vegetarian soups. I doubled the recipe so there would be plenty of leftovers, and I added about a teaspoon of turmeric because I found it sort of bland while cooking, and I thought turmeric would work well with the cumin and coriander. I enjoyed it with some bread on the side, but to be honest I preferred my second bowl, without the lemon juice added. The lemon juice was just a little to sour for my taste. Next time I will find a way to add some heat to it… maybe some chopped jalapeno would be good to add to the vegetables? Anyway thanks for this recipe!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    I’ve been enjoying this soup for the past 3 years, and am finally getting around to telling you thank you for posting it! It is *seriously* delicious, and I look forward to fall and winter temperatures every year so that I can enjoy it once again. One of my favourite soups ever!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Lentil Soup

  • Reply
    Sheila Snow-Croft
    May 20, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    The numbers are wrong on this: mathematically, one can’t take 10 minutes to prep, 10 minutes to cook and have that equal 10 minutes total, but also, that’s wrong. Lol

    • Reply
      May 22, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Sorry about that! We’re having a little trouble with our recipe template that’s causing the number errors. We should have it fixed soon!

  • Reply
    July 23, 2019 at 12:22 am

    I tried your recipe and my soup turned out delicious . The only thing I did was add Vinegar , other than that I followed your recipe to the letter and I will definitely be making it again. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    Tonight is my second time making this! And, for the first time in my life I actually used, and ground, that Coriander that usually never leaves my spice rack.
    We recently went vegetarian, and we absolutely love this Dinner! I use a bit less water, make rice on the side as well, and we have a good Naan bread with it. Tonight I made homemade French bread!
    Thanks so much for this amazing recipe, it was exactly what I was looking for, and will has become a regular meal for us.
    #easycooking! #Healthy #Yummy #Filling #Plantbasedheaven #Budgetfriendly

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