Lentil soup is a soup of lentils, served hot. It is popular all over the Middle East. Usually it is vegetarian, but can also be made with meat stock. Red or green lentils may be used. Other ingredients may include vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, celery, parsley, and onion. Common added flavorings include garlic, cumin, lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar. It is sometimes garnished with croutons or chopped herbs.
Lentil soup is mentioned in the Bible: In Genesis 25:34, Esau is prepared to give up his birthright for a pot of fragrant red lentil soup (a "mess of pottage") being cooked by his brother, Jacob.
The ancient Greek dramatist, Aristophanes, mentions lentil soup in his plays and describes it as the "sweetest of delicacies."
Lentil soup was once a food for the poor. Today, it is recognized as highly nutritious and provides a good source of protein, fiber, iron and potassium.