Survive Winter with Hearty Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

Oh Canada. If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit this wonderful country let me tell you- it’s absolutely beautiful. And cold. Did I mention it’s cold? January is by far the toughest month when arctic winds can literally take your breath away. And then there’s the polar bear attacks. Just kidding.

Canadian winter
Lighthouse on the St. Lawrence River in Montreal

But amidst the harsh weather there is still so much natural beauty, not to mention the amazing Canadian spirit of perseverance and optimism. Why do I mention all this? To say it’s the perfect time of year for soul-warming soup!

This hearty Middle Eastern lentil soup is sure to please meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike. It has a hefty, chili-like consistency and yet requires so few ingredients (really just carrots, onion and lentils). It is too easy! The flavor is subtle and earthy thanks to the unique pairing of cinnamon and balsamic vinegar. I know it may sound like a weird combination but trust me-it’s good!

hearty middle eastern lentil soup

The recipe for this lentil soup comes from a friend of a friend who was of mixed middle eastern descent. Unfortunately I do not know her personally to be able to inquire more about the family history behind this amazing dish, but I thank her virtually for sharing this hearty and healthy winter meal. It will get me through January!

Serve on it’s own or with a gluten-free baguette. When thickened, this soup could also be served over rice. Whatever you do, don’t skip the caramelized onions-they are to die for!

Recipe:

Hearty Middle Eastern Lentil Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion- half of the onion diced, ½ of the onion cut into thin slivers
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1.5 cups of lentils (rinsed)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • water
Instructions
  1. Put 5 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil. When the water starts to boil, turn off the heat and stir in the lentils. Leave the lentils to sit in the pot as the water cools to room temperature
  2. Meanwhile, cut your vegetables
  3. In a separate soup pot heat a small drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender. When the onion is soft, add 4 cups of water, the carrots and salt and cook for 15 minutes
  4. Strain the lentils that were in the water and add them to the soup pot
  5. Add the balsamic vinegar and cinnamon to the soup. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes
  6. While your soup is simmering, prepare the caramelized onions: in a small skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onion slivers and sauté on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until golden brown
  7. Serve your soup topped with caramelized onions
Notes
*in addition to the onion, you could also add ½ of a chopped red pepper if desired

*as this soup sits and cools (or after storing) it will become thick-this is normal as the lentils will absorb the water. To reheat, simply add water at any time to reach your desired consistency

*when making the soup, you can make the consistency thick like chili by leaving the lentils mostly whole or thinner by mashing the lentils (after they have been softened in the hot water) with a spoon before adding to the soup

*You can use any type of lentil for this soup. Here I used split red lentils though it also tastes and looks great with green lentils

 

Steps:

1.Put 5 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil. When the water starts to boil, turn off the heat and stir in the lentils. Leave the lentils to sit in the pot as the water cools to room temperature

soaking lentils
2.Meanwhile, cut your vegetables

3.In a separate soup pot heat a small drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender. When the onion is soft, add 4 cups of water, the carrots and salt and cook for 15 minutes

making lentil soupmaking lentil soup
4.Strain the lentils that were in the water and add them to the soup pot

5. Add the balsamic vinegar and cinnamon to the soup. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes

6.While your soup is simmering, prepare the caramelized onions: in a small skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onion slivers and sauté on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until golden brown

onionsonions for topping
7. Serve your soup topped with caramelized onions and enjoy!

middle eastern lentil soup

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: