Fakes (Lentil soup) – (Φακές)

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Fakes (Lentil soup) - (Φακές)

Fakes (Lentil soup) are a traditional Greek lentil soup with vegetables and a tomato based broth.

Fakes (pronounced F*@% – yes…seriously) is the Greek term for lentil soup. It is a meal which is filling, nutritious and very easy to prepare.  It is perhaps also a welcome change from the more complicated and time consuming moussaka and yemista  recipes we’ve recently impressed you with posted.  We totally understand that sometimes you just need a quick, simple, go-to recipe in order to get the kids off to hockey, the laundry off the floor, or to make a dent in the television show you’ve been planning on binge watching.

It also a great idea to have in your apron pocket a few recipes which can easily, and inexpensively, feed a crowd. Fakes is certainly that kind of recipe. We love to entertain often but that does not mean that we are always in the mood to set up elaborate (and costly) affairs.  Often times we just want to hang out with our family and friends, offer them some good food so that no one gets grumpy,  and we want to do so without spending a fortune or the entire day in the kitchen. With fakes (lentil soup) all you have to do is add some bread, an assortment of olives, some feta cheese, a nice bottle of wine, and you are good to go.

Fakes (Lentil soup) - (Φακές)

Helpful hints

What variety of lentils should be used for fakes (lentil soup)?

Lentils are not beans, they are pulses, which are a category of legume.  Within the lentil family there are several varieties.  Greek fakes call for brown (or sometimes green) lentils, which hold their shape well during the cooking process.  We have also experimented with the more expensive Puy lentils.  These are grown in the French region of Le Puy, and gave our fakes an extra European flair.  Fancy, but not traditional, and certainly not necessary.  You should not use yellow or red split lentils in this recipe.  They will not retain their shape during cooking and their taste is significantly different from what you would expect for this soup. Save those lentils for recipes like our red lentil soup or our red lentil and bulgur wraps.

Do lentils need to be pre-soaked before cooking?

Our parents soak their lentils for 3 – 4 hours prior to cooking them and they change the water every hour or so (this is the method used in the recipe which follows). After soaking, they also pre-boil their fakes, believing that this makes them easier to digest.  Who are we to argue?

Still, it should be noted that soaking and pre-boiling are not essential when cooking with lentils and most recipes which use lentils will not suggest that you take these steps. At the same time, soaking and pre-boiling will cut the cooking time almost by half.  You can soak your lentils for longer than 3 – 4 hours if that is more convenient, without changing the water at all during the soaking process.  We often soak our lentils before leaving for work in the morning and then prepare them that evening for dinner.  We have also soaked them for 3 – 4 hours on one evening, drained them, and kept them in the refrigerator until the next evening when they are cooked.  The soaking options are endless.

It is important to sort through your lentils.

Prior to soaking (or cooking) the lentils you will need to pick through them in order to remove any rocks or shrivelled up pieces. This is a fun job for little hands so if you have any kids around, get them to help.

Tips for buying lentils:

Make sure to buy your lentils at a grocery store or market where pulses and beans are popular. If you find your bag of lentils covered in dust and high up on some shelf, then pass. They will not be “bad” but they may be old, making them difficult to cook.  Please (pretty please) avoid using canned lentils.  The taste and texture are truly not the same.


The recipe which follows makes a relatively thick soup.  If you prefer your fakes more liquidy, simply play with the quantity of water added during the cooking process.  Start with the amount of liquid recommended in the recipe, and adjust according to your preference after the soup has been cooking for at least 15 minutes.

Fakes (Lentil soup) - (Φακές)
Fakes (Lentil soup) - (Φακές)

Add a splash of vinegar to your fakes (lentil soup)

Many people like to add an acidic element to their fakes upon serving.  Our favourite way to eat them is with some red wine vinegar mixed in.  Other options include fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.

Freeze your fakes for another day!

Cooked fakes freeze well so if you have leftovers, portion them out and tuck them away in the freezer.  Perfect for those times when cooking is the last thing you want to do.

Fakes (Lentil soup) - (Φακές)
Fakes (Lentil soup) - (Φακές)
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5 from 7 votes

Fakes (Greek lentil soup recipe)

Traditional Greek lentil soup with vegetables and a tomato based broth.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Soaking time3 hrs
Course: Light meal, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: #greeklentenrecipes, lentil soup
Servings: 4 people
Author: Mia Kouppa


  • sauce pot


  • 2 cups (16 oz or 400 grams) dry green lentils
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) olive oil
  • 1 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium size carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into small chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 6 cups (1,500 mL) water approximately
  • 1 1/3 cup (330 mL) tomato sauce
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and grated optional (see notes below)
  • 1/4 cup medium grain rice optional (see notes below)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • splash red wine vinegar optional


  • Pick over the lentils and remove any shrivelled pieces and small stones.
  • Cover the lentils with warm water for 3 – 4 hours. Change water every hour or so. Drain.
  • Add lentils to a pot and cover with an inch of water. Bring water and lentils to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes and then drain lentils and discard the water they were boiled in. Rinse lentils.
  • While the lentils are boiling, prepare your vegetables by finely dicing onion, carrot and celery, thinly slicing the garlic and grating your potato if you're adding it.
  • In a large pot (you can use the same pot you just boiled the lentils in – but dry it first) combine the olive oil and chopped onion. Cook onion over medium heat until soft, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add carrot, celery, garlic and bay leaves to pot with onions. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly to prevent garlic from burning.
  • Add the lentils, water (6 cups or enough to cover the lentils by 1 inch), tomato sauce, and the grated potato(or rice if you are using either).
  • Bring to boil and then reduce to medium heat. Cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper 15 minutes into the cooking process. Total cooking times may vary depending upon the age of the lentils, and whether or not you soaked them, and for how long. Your fakes are done when they are soft to the bite.  For those who want,  you can add a splash (1 teaspoon or so) of red wine vinegar to each individual portion
  • Enjoy!


Our parents have started adding grated potato to their lentil soup.  Although you can't taste the potato, its addition makes your fakes thicker, and creamier.
Another option is to add 1/4 cup uncooked rice, to the soup.
Although, soaking and pre-boiling lentils is not essential; we find that it cuts down on the cooking time; and it might be easier on the digestion.

14 thoughts on “Fakes (Lentil soup) – (Φακές)

  1. I made this last week. They are absolutely delicious, and not at all how I remember them when my mother was forcing them upon me as a child! 😂

    1. 🙂 Thanks for trying our recipe for fakes, despite not loving them as a child! We’re so happy that you enjoyed our parents’ recipe. Definitely a favourite, and a staple in our homes. Thanks for taking the time to write 🙂

  2. I am definitely going to make this one soon. I love this soup especially in cool weather. There is a restaurant about 30 minutes from me where I used to go all of the time just to get this and spanakopita. Lovely lunch! Thanks for sharing, and thank your parents, too.

    1. Your welcome Angie! And we’ll certainly thank our parents on your behalf! We think that you will love this soup. It is absolutely one of our favourites and a really popular recipe on the blog. Would love to hear what you think. And…if you’re thinking of making your own spanakopita – we’ve got recipes for that too 🙂

  3. We’ve made this twice in a week! The kids and hubby love it! We used our instant pot for it, and the recipe was super easy to make. Have it planned to make it for next week and to freeze some for easy lunches. Looking forward to trying a few others. Thank you again!

    1. Hi Lacee!! Thank you for letting us know that the family enjoyed the fakes!! This makes us so happy, and great to know that the recipe worked in the Instant Pot!!

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