Carrot, lamb and red lentil soup recipe

Slow-cooking sfrito (fried onions and carrots) brings an earthy sweetness and gives the soup a warm color.

Nicola Galloway

Slow-cooking sfrito (fried onions and carrots) brings an earthy sweetness and gives the soup a warm color.

I feel fairly confident if I check the contents of most vegetable drawers, one item I will always find is carrots. They’re available year-round—and I especially love their spring carrot combinations—they’re so versatile they can be used in soups and stews, roasted, grated in salads and even used in cakes. Carrots also make a healthy but not filling snack when my kids come in for food at 5pm when dinner isn’t far away.

Slow cooking sofrito (sautéed onions and carrots) in the soup recipe brings an earthy sweetness and gives the soup a warm color. It’s a soup of many ingredients but they work well together.

In this soup, I take one piece of uncooked lamb and the lone leftover from the meal, and turn it into a frugal meal with red lentils, grains and, of course, carrots. The small amount of meat brings flavour, but in places where it’s usually served to one person, it now extends to feeding four people.

You are unlikely to find a single piece of lamb in the store (unless you go to a butcher and choose your own mince) but the extra piece(s) in the tray can be frozen individually to make this soup again. Because it’s such a good gift – I made it twice this past week.

Read more:
Recipe: Red Lentil Soup
Recipe: Lentil, Bacon and Vegetable Soup
Recipe: Winter lamb shank soup

Carrot, lamb and red lentil soup

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 1-1½ hours

Serves: 4


1 piece lamb shoulder, about 250g

6 cups (1.5 liters) water

1 bay leaf

½ cup (100 g) red lentils

½ cup (70 g) quinoa or brown rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped (about 150 grams)

2 large carrots (about 250g), grated

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Salt and Pepper

Large handful of chopped fresh parsley


  1. Put the lamb chops, water and bay leaf in a large saucepan, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for 40-50 minutes, until the meat is very tender. You can also use a pressure cooker or multicooker to make the lamb broth, choosing the “meat” option – it took me 20 minutes.
  1. Use tongs to transfer the cooked lamb to a bowl. Cover and set aside.
  1. Wash the red lentils and quinoa or rice in a colander, then add them to the broth and continue to cook over low heat for 20 minutes.
  1. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a frying pan, add onions and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add carrots and cook for another 5 minutes, until caramelized. Add the paprika, cumin and tomato paste and stir over the heat for a minute. Add the fried carrot mixture to the pot of lentils and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  1. Use 2 forks to shred the meat from the lamb bone and add the meat to the soup along with half the chopped parsley.
  1. Now check for flavor and season generously with salt and pepper to taste. The flavor of the soup improves within a few hours as the flavors mix. If you can, make it ahead of time and reheat to serve—you’ll be well rewarded.
  1. Scoop the hot soup into bowls and sprinkle with additional fresh parsley to serve.

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