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Spiced Carrot, Leek and Lentil Soup

Spiced Carrot, Leek and Lentil Soup 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Apr 19, 2017

Here, common soup vegetables combine to make something special. This soup is equally terrific whether it's served chunky or pureed until smooth.

If you happen to use split red lentils, their cooking time will be shortened to 10 or 11 minutes.

Where to Buy: Look for the harissa paste that's packaged in a tube rather than the looser, saucier kind that's in a jar.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; makes 6 cups

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 medium leek, trimmed, cleaned and cut into very thin slices
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into small dice
  • 2 medium carrots, scrubbed well and cut into small dice
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • Generous pinch saffron threads
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, or more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander, or more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste, or more as needed (see headnote)
  • 4 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth (may substitute chicken broth)
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) dried red lentils (see headnote)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
  • Greek yogurt, for serving


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the onion, leek, celery and carrots; cook for about 7 minutes, or until they begin to soften, then add the garlic and saffron threads, the cumin, coriander and harissa, stirring to incorporate. Cook for 3 minutes or until fragrant, then pour in the broth.

Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Stir in the lentils, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Stir in the salt; taste, add more cumin or coriander or harissa, as needed.

Puree with an immersion (stick) blender or in a blender in batches, if desired.

Divide among individual bowls, topped with the parsley and/or a dollop of yogurt.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Harvest: 180 Recipes Through the Seasons,” by Emilie Guelpa (Hardie Grant, 2017).

Tested by Helen Horton.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 260

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 5g 8%

Saturated Fat: 0g 0%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 540mg 22%

Total Carbohydrates: 41g 14%

Dietary Fiber: 10g 40%

Sugar: 9g

Protein: 15g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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