Greek Lentil Soup-Fakes

September 9, 2015

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.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Leave a comment or share on instagram and mention @greekdiet
Photo by Elena Paravantes

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  • Reply Cheryl Craig April 23, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Have made this about 8 or 10 times My husband and I love it. I’ve made it using black and green lentils and it’s just as delicious. I have a question though – why the #3 instruction?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN April 23, 2019 at 4:49 pm

      Happy you enjoy it! The idea behind the quick boil is to make them more easily digestible.

  • Reply Angela K. Marvin March 25, 2019 at 1:44 am

    This was delicious, Elena! The vinegar and olive oil really kick it up a notch. In the last week, I’ve made your stewed chicken, spanakorizo, spaghetti puttanesca, and this. Everything has been perfect! Greek food has been my favorite cuisine for years, so eating like this is a no-brainer! REALLY enjoying my fresh healthy food with your great site to guide me!

  • Reply Sarah February 26, 2019 at 10:22 am

    My take on this recipe ended up looking a bit more reddish/brownish than the picture (maybe my tablespoons of tomato paste were a bit too much?), but nevertheless it was still great! =)

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN March 1, 2019 at 7:01 am

      Yes it varies-no worries! The color can be a bit more red depending on the amount of tomato paste, but also the water added.

  • Reply Patty January 30, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    I can never find brown lentils in the store so I used green ones. What is the difference in texture? Also do you simmer covered or uncovered?

  • Reply Kelly January 16, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    I make a version of this with carrots, and toss in a bunch of spinach at the end – just toss it on top and let it wilt. Delicious with some feta or a small spoon of Greek yogurt!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN January 19, 2019 at 7:42 am

      Nice combo!

    • Reply Chelsea February 10, 2020 at 2:39 pm

      Could I use balsamic vinegar in place of red wine vinegar. I don’t have any of the latter at the moment. Thank you.

      • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN February 10, 2020 at 2:43 pm

        Hi Chelsea, You could but use less of it, as it may overpower the dish.

        • Reply Chelsea February 10, 2020 at 6:01 pm

          Thank you!

  • Reply Carrie September 9, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    I really enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. I was afraid without using chicken broth as a base that it would be bland, but that was not the case. This was very tasty and I will definitely be making it again very soon. I did add a few wilted spinach leaves just to get my greens. I made it this afternoon and 1 cup portions for lunch and a piece of fruit is plenty enough to keep me full until the next meal. Since I got 8 servings out of this recipe, do you think this would freeze well?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN September 10, 2018 at 7:57 am

      Thank you for sharing Carrie. Yes, these would freeze well. I usually freeze them in separate servings.

  • Reply Cheryl Craig December 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    I made this yesterday and my husband and I thought it was delicious. Looking forward to leftovers today. I love that it was so easy – now I will always keep lentils in my pantry. Thanks for a great recipe!!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN December 16, 2017 at 7:38 am

      You are welcome! I sometimes add some olives and sundried tomatoes to the leftovers and eat it cold.

  • Reply Ange Kenos August 9, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Red wine vinegar is always prefered but for those who find it strong, white vinegar is acceptable. But my mother also does a different version with chopped carrots and tomato salsa. Epiros style.

  • Reply Niki Assimakopoulou April 26, 2017 at 9:33 am

    The authentic greek cooking has one feature
    which you may not find in the most of other cuisines, not only the Mediterranean ones:
    It is real simple with a few incredients!
    You can recognize everything almost immediately even with closed eyes.

  • Reply Julia January 10, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    You could try adding a small piece of orange peel as the fakes boil and then remove it , it adds freshness to the dish.Enjoy!

  • Reply Megan October 7, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    So good! My three kids (10, 5, 2) all enjoyed and finished their bowls. We threw some kalamata olives right in it.

    We’re calling it our “Chip Box Soup” after our favorite place to get salt and vinegar chips (aka fries, in the U.S.) on vacation. Thank you for sharing a healthier way to enjoy these flavors.

  • Reply Jacquie September 11, 2015 at 5:15 am

    We make this a LOT, especially in the winter. For a change, I’ve taken to adding some chopped chorizo ( or other spicy sausage) – yummy!

  • Reply Dimitri September 10, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    No carrots, no celery? Still looks like a tasty version, though.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN September 10, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      The traditional, basic recipe only has onions and garlic and sometimes tomato (or tomato paste). But celery and carrots would be a good addition.

    • Reply Peggy March 8, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      I have 3 boxes of plain cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s. Could I use these instead of cooking dry ones?

      • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN March 13, 2019 at 5:58 am

        Hi Peggy,
        I’m not sure, I do not think you will end up with same texture.

      • Reply Thea December 29, 2019 at 5:29 pm

        If you do try the recipe with Trader Joe’s cooked lentils, post a comment! We stock those in the fridge here all the time to put on salads so if they turn out okay, we’d substitute that too as a time saver.

  • Reply Hanneke September 10, 2015 at 9:48 am

    One of my favourites! Summer and winter. My Greek neighbour told me to add a carrot or two. She said the iron is better absorbed that way?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN September 10, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Carrots go nicely, although they will not help much in absorption of iron as they only contains a small amount of vitamin C.

  • Reply Maria September 9, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Sounds delicious Elena! I do a similar Swedish dish but never added vinegar so will try that with some feta

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN September 10, 2015 at 6:03 am

      Thanks Maria! Does the Swedish version use any special herbs/spices?

      • Reply Anna September 10, 2015 at 11:51 am

        I make a Swedish version too, with red lentils and lots of paprika (bay leaves too). It’s really good with white wine vinegar or even Tabasco 😉 I’m looking forward to trying this Greek version.

        • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN September 10, 2015 at 1:19 pm

          Anna, That sounds good. Will be trying it soon!

        • Reply bessy March 30, 2019 at 5:46 am

          these taste great using canned lentils too. saves time

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