There’s Something About Lentil Soup

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I was having lunch with some friends yesterday when the subject of lentils came up. Some thought they were a waste of calories, and others thought they were so healthy that they would go for lentils whenever they got the chance. I, for one, love lentils, but to be fair I don’t love just any lentils, I love red lentils that make lentil soup.

“It’s probably the most widely ordered soup,” said one of my friends, and I would probably agree. When it’s cold, and when I’m feeling a bit homesick nothing can remedy the situation better than a bowl of hot lentil soup.

I don’t know what it is about the soup that makes me feel better; drinking does in fact comfort me, but I think the process of making it that is the most powerful.

Cooking is my way of unwinding and getting centered, but come to think of it, it’s not that either. I think it’s the fact that so many healthy local ingredients go into lentil soup that I know for certain that I would make my mother proud. It’s also the sort of soup that anyone can make.

You can make a thick soup and enjoy it with slices of bread and butter and make a meal out of it. Or, you can thin it down and pair it with a salad and a grilled piece of meat. Whatever you do, lentil soup is a hearty, heartwarming dish that is packed with protein and vitamins.

Recipe

Time (1 hour)

Serves 5

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 tbsp corn oil
  • 5 cups boiled water
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cubed
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • 1 loaf Arabic/ pita bread cut into small squares (2cmx2cm)
  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 lemon, cut into four wedges

Tools

  • 1 pot
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 baking sheet
  • Hand blender

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160C.
  2. Wash and soak the lentils in cold water rinsing out any starch in them. Once rinsed, place the lentils in the sieve and let drain.
  3. In a large pot heat the oil and add the chopped onions and leeks. Sautee until soft.
  4. Add the rest of the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes.
  5. Add the lentils and the boiling water
  6. Finally, stir in the cumin, salt, pepper and turmeric and cover.
  7. Simmer on low heat for about 30-45 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are tender and ready.
  8. Place the bread squares on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and crispy. About 6-10 minutes. You can also use the grilling option instead.
  9. Remove soup from heat and puree it with a hand blender until smooth and creamy. If you feel that the soup is too thick add some boiling water until the soup reaches the desired consistency.
  10. Garnish the soup with some fresh parsley and serve with some toasted bread and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Leen Al Zaben
Leen Al Zaben is a writer, foodie and photographer rolled into one. She is in the process of getting her masters in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford. When she isn’t studying, Leen spends her time traveling, cooking and taking pictures of anything and everything edible. After dreaming about becoming a food and travel writer, she started her blog Culeenary.com which showcases food and travel stories from across the Middle East.
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