When you need an instant pick-me-up, there is nothing better than soup to make you feel good. This lemony yellow lentil soup - with its beautiful bright yellow color and simple, warming spices is as comforting as a warm hug.
This post contains helpful notes, tips, and tricks to help you make the perfect dish. However, if you are in a rush, please use the "Jump to Recipe" link above or the "Jump to" links below to get to the section you want.
This lemon lentil soup, or nimmakaya pappu as we call it in Telugu, is my go-to soup when I need something quick, flavorful, and healing.
You may have tried Lebanese lentil soup or Middle Eastern lentil soup. This is Indian lentil soup 😊.
This soup, made with spices that are good for your gut, according to Ayurveda, and will soothe your soul, especially when you are feeling a bit under the weather.
Allergens free labels
This easy lentils soup is:
This recipe can be made vegan - check the notes below.
Why this dish is a winner!
This recipe is a keeper - your family will love it and ask for more. Here’s why:
- It’s a breeze to make this soup - even if you are new to cooking.
- It’s full of flavor and yumminess - kids and adults will enjoy it!
- It’s perfect for a cozy winter night - the lemony, tangy soup will warm you up!
- It’s allergy-friendly and suitable for everyone - as mentioned above.
- It’s nutritious and protein-rich - and ready in less than 30 minutes.
- You only need one pot to make this soup, which means less dishes to clean.
Just moong dal (lentils) and some gut-healing spices. That's it!
Check the recipe card for quantities.
Yellow lentils: These also known as moong dal. You can find them in Indian or online stores.
Ghee: This adds a lovely aroma and goodness to the soup.
Spices: Black pepper and turmeric are the main spices. As I mentioned in this vegan potato soup post, they are like superheroes when combined!
Asafoetida: This spice gives an onion-garlic flavor to the soup. I use it in dishes that don’t have onion and garlic, like this chickpeas salad.
Chili flakes: This is optional. I add it for some gentle heat and color.
Garnish: Chopped cilantro - this is optional too.
Have a question regarding the ingredients? Feel free to ask in the comments section below and I will try my best to answer it for you.
This yellow lentil soup is the perfect comfort food for a cold and gloomy day.
You can make this soup in a snap with these step-by-step instructions.
Step 1: Heat a heavy skillet (I use cast iron) over medium heat.
Roast the yellow lentils until they begin to change color - about 3-4 minutes.
Set them aside.
Stir and toss the lentils often to prevent burning and for even roasting.
Step 2: Put a large pot or saucepan over medium heat.
Add the roasted lentils and 5 cups of hot water.
Boil and cook for 8-10 minutes.
Skim off the foam that forms on the top. This will improve the taste of the dal. Don’t worry if some water is removed with the foam as we will be adding more water.
Step 3: Pour 2 more cups of hot water and stir. Boil and cook for 4-5 more minutes or until the lentils are soft.
💡 You can check if the lentils are cooked by looking for two signs: no more foam on the top and split edges.
Step 4: Add the spices - turmeric, black pepper, and salt. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat, add lemon juice, cover, and keep aside.
Step 5: In a skillet over medium heat, melt ghee and add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafoetida, and chili flakes.
Stir till the spices splutter.
Step 6: Add these tempered spices to the lentils, and garnish (if using) with chopped cilantro.
Stir well and cover the pot. Let it rest for 2-3 minutes to let the flavors blend.
Serve hot or warm and enjoy!
Check the section below for serving suggestions.
Tips for make the most amazing lentil soup recipe
This is a regular dish in my home and I make it all year round. These are the measurements that work for me. You can adjust some ingredients to suit your taste.
Flavor: Use less or no chili flakes. I like them for their mild heat and color contrast with the yellow soup!
Taste: If you want it less sour, use less lemon juice or swap lemon with lime.
Consistency: You can make this soup thicker by reducing the quantity of water. I prefer it thin when I have it as a soup. I make it thicker when I pair it with rice.
The good thing about this lentil soup is that it is flexible and still tastes good 😎
Notes, swaps, and storage
- To roast or not?: Roasting the lentils is optional, but I recommend it for more flavor.
- Texture: I enjoy the texture of the lentils in this soup. If you prefer a smooth soup, you can blend it with an immersion blender or any other blender to make it creamy.
- Want more flavor? Try adding some of these:
- Finish off with some extra virgin olive oil on top
- Add a minced garlic clove with the spices when tempering.
- Use vegetable stock instead of water to cook the lentils.
- Sprinkle some ground cumin or roasted cumin as garnish.
- Swaps: You can make some changes to the recipe if you like. Here are some options:
- Use red lentils instead of yellow lentils. They cook faster.
- Use fresh parsley instead of cilantro.
- Use any oil you like (coconut oil would be nice!) instead of ghee to make it vegan.
- Instead of pepper flakes, add a chopped green chili with the spices for more heat.
- Use lime juice instead of lemon juice. If you remember, I have mentioned in the substitutes for vinegar post that lime is more sour, so use less to begin with and add more, if required.
- Storage: You can make this recipe ahead of time and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days. Use a glass container with a lid that seals well.
💡 If you are keeping it for another day, do not add the lemon juice yet. Add it after you have reheated the soup. Reheating lemon juice may make it bitter.
Any doubts or questions? Feel free to ask via the comments below. I will try my best to answer them for you.
I often have this soup by itself with some bread. You might like these vegan tortillas.
This soup also goes well with mashed sweet or regular potatoes.
What are the benefits of yellow lentil soup? Yellow lentil soup is a delicious and nutritious dish that has many benefits for your health.
- Yellow lentils are a rich source of plant-based protein, making the soup a great option for vegetarians and vegans to meet their protein needs.
- Lentils are high in dietary fiber which is good for gut health.
- This yellow lentils soup is low in fat and therefore healthy.
- Lentils are an economical source of nutrition and are widely available, making them a practical choice for budget-conscious individuals.
- This soup is rich in flavor and can be seasoned with various spices and herbs to suit your taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
Soups with any colored lentils are good - mung bean soup will look greenish, red lentil soup will have a pale yellow color, and yellow lentil soup has a brighter yellow color. Red lentils are the fastest to cook, followed by yellow lentils. Mung beans will require some soaking before cooking.
The short answer is yes!
Yellow lentils or mung lentils as they are also called are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. There are approximately 18 grams of protein per cup of yellow lentils. They are also rich in nutrients such as vitamin B6, Iron, and Magnesium to name a few.
Red lentils, also known as masoor dal cook faster and when cooked turn pale yellow in color. They are sold in stores as whole lentils (greenish brown in color) and, the more common, split lentils which are the ones that are red in color.
Yellow lentils also are available whole and are known are green mung beans. When split and skin removed, they are yellow in color and are known as mung lentils.
Both lentils are healthy and rich in nutrients, however, when compared, yellow lentils are considered to be healthier than red lentils.
If you have made this yellow lentil soup, please take a moment to leave a comment and a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! You can also engage with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram xx Padma
Lemony Yellow Lentil Soup
- 1 skillet (or cast iron pan)
- 1 saucepan
- 1 mixing spoon
- 1 cup (240g) yellow (moong) lentils
- 7 cups water
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt, adjust as per taste
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
- ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional), adjust as per taste
To finish off
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- A handful chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)
Roast the lentils
- Place a heavy-bottomed skillet (I use cast iron) on medium heat. Add yellow lentils and roast for 3-4 minutes or until the lentils start changing color. Keep stirring for even coloring.1 cup (240g) yellow (moong) lentils
- Remove from pan and keep aside.
Cook the lentils
- Place the roasted lentils in a saucepan and add 5 out of the 7 cups of hot water. Reserve the 2 cups of water for adding later.7 cups water
- Cook on medium heat for 9-10 minutes. Stir a couple of times and with a ladle, remove the foam that floats on the top. Doing this will make the dal taste better. While skimming the foam, some of the water will also get discarded. That is ok!
- Add the 2 cups of hot water that you had kept aside earlier. Mix and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the lentils are cooked soft. You will be able to tell that the lentils are cooked when A) the foam does not float on the top anymore and B) the lentils split at the sides.
- Add the spices. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, cover, and keep aside.½ teaspoon black pepper powder, ½ teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt,, 4 tablespoons lemon juice
Make the tempering
- Heat ghee in a skillet on medium heat.1 teaspoon ghee
- Add the spices and stir till the spices splutter.1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon asafoetida (hing), ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds, ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional),
- Add these tempered spices to the lentils, and garnish (if using). Mix well. Cover and let it rest for 2-3 minutes, allowing the flavors to mingle.A handful chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)
- Serve hot/ warm on its own or on a bed of rice.
- You can swap the moong lentils with red lentils. Red lentils cook in lesser time.
- Swap the ghee with any oil of your choice (coconut oil will taste so good!) to make this a vegan recipe.
- Instead of red chili flakes, add one chopped green chili.
- Juice of lime instead of lemon. Bear in mind, as I mentioned in this substitutes for vinegar post, that lime is tangier than lemon and so you may need a lesser quantity of it.
- Extra virgin olive oil as garnish
- Add a finely chopped clove of garlic along with the spices while tempering.
- Instead of plain water, cook the lentils in vegetable stock.
- Add a teaspoon of ground cumin or this roasted powdered cumin as garnish
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only.
Note: The nutrition information is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.