Middle Eastern vegetable and lentil soup

SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
1 hr 18 min
17 min
1 hr 1 min
You’ll just need a Dutch oven to make this wholesome one-pot soup. Lentils, onion, eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes make up the bulk of this soup that gets brightened at the last minute with the addition of fresh lemon zest and juice. It’s best to add lemon zest and juice at the end because if cooked too long, the flavor can turn bitter. Lentils—one of the most ancient foods known to man—have long been a favorite staple for soups and stews throughout the Middle East. And unlike dried beans, they don’t require soaking and cook in 20 to 30 minutes.


Olive oil

1 Tbsp

Uncooked onion(s)

1 large, chopped

Uncooked celery

2 rib(s), medium, chopped

Garlic clove(s)

3 medium clove(s), minced

Ground cumin

2 tsp

Fat free vegetable broth

6 cup(s), low-sodium

Dry lentils

1¼ cup(s), picked over, rinsed, and drained


5 cup(s), 1 small, diced

Uncooked zucchini

2 medium, diced

Fresh tomato(es)

1 medium, chopped

Table salt

½ tsp

Lemon zest

2 tsp, fresh, grated

Fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp

Black pepper

tsp, freshly ground, or to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a nonstick Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned, 7–10 minutes. Add the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the broth and lentils; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes. Add the eggplant and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils and eggplant are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the zucchini, tomato, and salt; return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the zucchini is just softened but still colorful, 3–5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, juice, and pepper. Yields generous 2 cups per serving.