Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

This is by far one of my favorite soups. It’s simple to make, delicious, nutritious, and the variations are seemingly endless. Listed below is the basic recipe but you can add any number of your favorite ingredients to make it a meal-in-itself. The recipe below, for example, is vegetarian but this is equally delicious with the addition of lamb, chicken, or even shrimp. I made this for staff lunch today (leftovers for tomorrow…yum) and I kept it vegetarian but I did veer from the recipe somewhat. A couple things I did differently were that I slowly cooked whole garlic cloves and chilies in olive oil prior to adding the vegetables and spices, and I also added slices of lemon, not just the juice…when the soup cooks the garlic and lemon disintegrate into the broth becoming part of the soup itself. I also added extra vegetables not included in the recipe…cabbage, rutabaga, green beans, and spinach. For the most part I kept the seasonings the same, but I did add a little smoked paprika and turmeric (turmeric not only colors and seasons food, it is extremely good for you). All-in-all, while this is sort of a stone soup version of this recipe, it’s not too far off the original path. Anyhow, if you enjoy soup–flavorful and healthy soup–I encourage you to try this recipe, and experiment with your own version…you’ll be glad you did. And the simmering spices will make the house smell good, too.

MiddleEastern Style Lentil Soup
  Makes about 2quarts
3tablespoon olive oil
1/2cup diced onion
1/2cup diced carrots
1/2cup diced celery
1/2cup diced bell pepper (red or green)
1tablespoon minced garlic
1tablespoon chili powder
1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1teaspoon ground allspice
1/2teaspoon cayenne pepper
2teaspoons salt
2teaspoons ground black pepper
2cups tomatoes, seeded and diced
2cups dried lentils
6-8cups chicken or vegetable broth
2tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1bay leaf

Heatthe olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion, car­rots,celery, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté over medium heat for 5minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cayennepepper, salt and black pepper; sauté for 2 minutes longer. Add thetomatoes, lentils, broth, lemon juice and bay leaf; bring to a boilthen lower it to a simmer. Allow the soup to cook for 60-90 minutes or untilthe soup thickens and the lentils become very soft.

8 thoughts on “Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

  1. Now yer talkin' my language, I practically live on this stuff. I do, however, find that bok choy beats all hell out of celery and spinach.A shot of brandy don't hurt neither.

  2. I just finished cooking this soup today, and it is unbelievably good, especially on a cold day like this. The spices and vegetables are amazing with the lentils. Thank you for another wonderful recipe to add to my stash!

    1. You’re welcome Olive…I’m always glad to learn that someone is actually making my recipes (rather than saying they simply look good). I like it, too…one of my favorites.

      1. I made the vegetarian version, but I forgot to pick up rutabagas for it. So I added some butternut squash soup to the vegetable broth, and it turned out to be a really good addition. Fantastic!

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