Greek Lentil Soup-Fakes

A delicious yet simple lentil dish is a Greek classic all year round. Tender lentils cooked with onion and served with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Greek Lentil Soup

Lentil soup known as fakes (pronounced FAH-kess) is one of the most popular dishes among Greek children. I kid you not. Kids go crazy for these plain brown legumes. I also enjoyed them as a child, but kind of forgot about them later on. As a parent I put it off and just assumed that they could try it later when they were older, especially the younger one who is at that picky stage.

One day my older son, came home from school, he eats lunch there occasionally, and told me how he ate two bowls of the stuff and how he likes it so much. A few months later my younger one was at his cousins and raved about the lunch he had: fakes, he exclaimed! And he too had ate two bowls.

So as you can understand we started including fakes on our menu. Nowadays we eat them 1-2 times a week.

Lentil Soup the Greek Way

This lentil soup is really tasty and the vinegar added after cooking is what really makes them great. Traditionally they are served with something salty such as cured sardines, feta or salty olives. It is not necessarily a winter dish, don’t let the word “soup” fool you, and we eat it all year, warmish not really hot. It is truly a comfort food, there is just something about that I cannot pinpoint, but it satisfies.

This is a simple dish to make and while you may see recipes that include olive oil while simmering, I add it after. This is what my grandmother used to do; she would add a tablespoon of olive oil to each bowl while serving. You also need to add red wine vinegar as well, as this is what makes them so special in my opinion.

One of the Most Nutritious Soups

Nutritionally, this is a great dish obviously. Protein, antioxidants as well as fiber are key components of lentils, this not only makes them healthy but very filling.

Iron has been mentioned, although it should be noted that only a small percentage of iron is absorbed from plant sources, combining with vitamin C aids with absorption, and since there is tomato paste in it that helps.

Greeks also consume this soup traditionally with small cured fish such sardines and cured anchovies .

This dish tastes great the next day, just gently warm before serving.

Greek Lentil Soup-Fakes

Greek lentils
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
A delicious yet simple lentil dish is a Greek classic all year round. Tender lentils cooked with onion and served with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.
Course: Entre, Soup
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean, Vegan
Keyword: Greek Lentil Soup
Servings: 4
Author: Elena Paravantes
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  • Sauté onion in 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil until soft.
  • Place lentils in a pot adding just enough water to cover them well. Bring to a boil and then dump the water.
  • Place lentils in the pot with about 4 cups fresh water, the onion, garlic, bay leaf and pepper. Add the tomato paste and mix until well blended.
  • Simmer for about 40 minutes covered (it maybe more) until soft and thick.
  • Serve with a spoonful of olive oil and a drizzle of red wine vinegar, add salt as needed. You may accompany with feta cheese or cured fish or olives.
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Photo by Elena Paravantes

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Recipe Rating


  1. I made a double batch today for the first time and LOVED the flavor!!! I cannot wait to share this recipe with my mom. Growing up, my grandma would make lentils every week and serve them topped with a sliced banana. I know my mom will agree that your recipe does not require a banana, as it has plenty of flavor on its own! Thank you for sharing your healthy recipes. I have enjoyed your blog over the years and look forward to purchasing your cookbook, Elena!

    1. Thank you Lucy! Happy you enjoyed the recipe. They are quite filling. The banana sounds interesting.

  2. Carol Luery says:

    I live alone, so I would like to know if it freezes well. Thank you

  3. Commenting on the Lentil Stew from your book on pg. 77 and it is fantastic. This recipe looks a bit similar, so I’m definitely going to be trying this next. The addition of the red wine vinegar at the end and serving with feta makes all the difference! Been loving your book, and have since made several recipes from it, all which came out fantastic. Thank you!5 stars

  4. Trish Frandsen says:

    The last time I ate Lentils they really sent my blood sugar up any recommendations that will allow me to eat this yummy soup?

    1. jellyfish says:

      did you eat them with anything? (bread, rice, etc )

  5. I made the recipe as written (2 times in fact) How large are your servings? I got over 10 cups of soup. Did I do something wrong?5 stars

    1. Hi Alice, THe recipe makes about 8 cups of soup/stew, each serving is 2 cups. Depending on the water that you added you may have ended up with a more “soupy” recipe resulting in more cups. But this recipe generally makes between 7-8 cups.

  6. You recommended sardines or anchovies to pair with the soup. Could you link a recipe for that as well, please? Still trying to break away from salmon and tuna!

    1. hi, they mean canned ones so buy them in a can. No need for cooking.

  7. Hi! This looks delicious!! Could I do this in a crock pot in the morning and let it cook all day or would that over-cook the lentils?

  8. We are just getting over a nasty cold, and this lentil soup/stew is currently cooking on the stovetop. It’s one of our favorite easy meals, and I’m looking forward to eating for the first time this week after this nasty cold. Thank you, Elena. I enjoy your blog, your cookbook, and this month’s special 30-day Mediterranean challenge. Thank you for all the loveliness.

  9. Thank you! I love this dish so much! I make it as is and add a little feta sprinkled on top when I serve it 🙂5 stars

  10. Hi there, we have it once a week on our meat free days. It is delicious! I add chopped carrots some time, chopped baby marrows and chopped potato together with chopped parsley and celery stick. it is indeed a crowd pleaser and very healthy.
    stay safe and well.5 stars

    1. Is it supposed to be thick and mushy? I followed directions exactly but was not fond of the texture. When you click on the link it is called soup. I guess I expected more liquid. The flavor was nice though.

      1. Melina Stavrakantonaki says:

        If it’s mushy you might be better reducing the cook time some the lentils have a bit of bite to them. It’s personal preference as to how long you simmer for. X

      2. Did you use red or green lentils? I think this recipe wants you to use green lentils as they hold up better

      3. I, too, am wondering which kind of lentils the recipe is made for.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I came upon it sometime last year (and passed it on to my mother as well), and we’ve both been making it ever since.

    It’s admittedly gone through a good few variations (partly just because I didn’t have a couple of the ingredients at first, or a different kind of vinegar/tomato product, or because I wanted to add in a vegetable or two – usually carrot and/or zucchini), but every version I’ve tried has been excellent. My parents have enjoyed it as well. The best addition I’ve found is to add a couple handfuls of red lentils, which dissolve during cooking and thicken the broth a little (especially good if you’re fighting a cold).

    At any rate: this is a fantastic recipe, and I can confirm from experience that it’s amazingly forgiving and flexible if you have passata instead of tomato paste or a different kind of vinegar or a carrot to use up. This, in the original and many small variations, is definitely a staple for me now. Absolutely recommended, even if you have to make a couple small substitutions!5 stars

  12. How long do you soak the lentils? Thank you

  13. Regina Rodgers says:

    Lentil stew is one of my go-to dishes. You are right about children loving them. One of my grandson’s frequent requests when he was younger was salmon and lentils! My only difference is that I add a carrot. So delicious and nutritious!!5 stars

  14. Theresa J Griffin Rossi says:

    I made this recipe but I use red lentils as I prefer them over green. It was so Delicious! I will make it again but does it freeze well? Love that I found your website and so many wonderful Mediterranean recipes to try. Thank you!5 stars

  15. What is the purpose of boiling the lentils and then dumping water? Is this to replace the soaking time?

    1. The first boil is meant to clean them.