Lentil soup is one of my staple foods. As a vegetarian, I like it because it’s a good source of protein. And since I’m trying to lose weight, I like it because it’s filling without being a creamy, rich soup. It’s easy to make and it holds up well in the freezer. Really, what’s not to love?
One of my favorite varieties of lentil soup is the Middle Eastern kind. Back in the day, my husband and I lived near a wonderful Middle Eastern restaurant called Pita House. It had fast food prices, but the food was fresh and light. (Well, maybe the falafel wasn’t light. But it was delicious!) During the colder months of the year, they served the best lentil soup. It had a strong aroma of cumin and they’d serve it with a slice of lemon that you’d squeeze into it just before eating. A cup of that Middle Eastern lentil soup and a side of fresh-baked pita bread with baba ghannouj was my favorite lunch for many years.
When I saw the recipe for Arabian Lentil and Rice Soup in Appetite For Reduction, I knew it was very close to the soup I so enjoyed back when we lived in Illinois. But it wasn’t quite the same. The biggest difference was the fact that the soup I remembered had brown lentils, not red. I added celery and changed the preparation too. Would it turn out like the soup from Pita House?
YES! It was exactly like the soup from Pita House. Granted, it has been several years since I’ve had the soup, so my memory might be a little bit cloudy, but it has the strong cumin flavor that I remember and squeezing in a little bit of lemon juice at the end really seals the deal. I made a big batch and froze it so I can enjoy my favorite lentil soup whenever the craving hits me.
An easy (and delicious!) cumin-scented Middle Eastern Lentil and Rice soup. Adapted from Appetite For Reduction's Arabian Lentil & Rice Soup.
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 c. brown lentils, rinsed
- 1/2 c. brown rice
- 6 c. vegetable broth
- lemon wedges for serving (wedges from 1 lemon is a good amount)
- Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes.
- Add garlic, salt, and pepper and saute for another minute. Add spices and cook for 15 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add lentils, rice, and broth. Cover Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer partially covered for 40 minutes, or until rice and lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Serve with lemon wedges.
1 serving is 5 Weight Watchers PointsPlus