Saturday, October 19, 2019

Middle Eastern Golden Lentil Soup

It's Fall and that means it's soup weather!!

I have quite a stash of lentil soup recipes, but this one is special. Why? It's made with two kinds of lentils- red lentils and brown lentils. The two varieties of lentils create a unique flavor and interesting soup. In addition it's flavored with turmeric, a golden spice now recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Cooler Weather and Heartier Soup

I have to confess that I eat soup all year long, but once the temperatures start to dip below 50 degrees,  I start to crave heartier soups like this one. It's warming and filling which is perfect for the cooler days or nights that we are now experiencing.

Wonderful Spices in this Soup

Ethnic cooking calls for lots of spices.  Turmeric, cumin,  lemon, cilantro and fresh garlic are commonly used in countries such as India, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, and Israel, while European cooks from countries such as Italy, Spain, and France use lots of oregano, garlic, rosemary, parsley and thyme. All of these add not just incredible flavor, but also nutrients. Everyone seems to use ground pepper!

This soup uses cumin, turmeric, lemon, garlic, and pepper.

Spices Are Not Just For Flavor

Did you know that spices are little powerhouses of nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories that are vital for good health ? Using spices in your daily cooking is a great way to get extra nutrients that may help boost your immune system this winter.

red lentils

There are Many Varieties of Lentils

Lentils come in a variety of colors, sizes, and flavors. Each type of lentil has its own unique taste and texture. This full bodied soup calls for both the red/orange lentils and the traditional brown lentils. While cooking, the red lentils tend to melt and thicken the soup, while the brown lentils tend to hold their shape and give the soup a little texture.

Lentils Are Easier and Quicker Than Cooking Beans

Lentils cook up rather quickly in comparison to their cousins, the beans. They do not require pre-soaking the way that beans do and can be easily made in the Instant Pot which is my preference to save time, clean up, and energy. However, this gluten free and plant based recipe also cooks to perfection in about 30 minutes on the stove top.

The Exceptional Nutrient found in Lentils

If you are wondering about their nutritional value, lentils not only provide protein, fiber, and vitamins, they also provide polyphenols which are important antioxidants that help protect against radiation and ultraviolet rays ! Lentils are also a good for the bones as they are a good source of calcium, iron, and folic acid.

Worried About Inflammation? 

This soup also contains a significant amount of fresh garlic and turmeric. 
Both garlic and turmeric play an important role in helping to reduce inflammation in the body! What causes inflammation in the body? Toxins, fried food, cigarette smoke, pollutions, chemicals, stress, injury, etc.

bowl of garlic

The beautiful bright orange turmeric on the spoon below is especially lauded for its anti-inflammatory benefits as well! I try to use some everyday in my soups, smoothies, vegetables, etc.

large spoon of tumeric

Not only is this soup good for you, it is one of the best lentil soups I have ever had! 
Very flavorful, lemony, and delicious!

Where did I find this recipe?

Credit for this soup recipe goes to my  daughter-in-law Wendy who graciously shared her recipe after we tasted it at a dinner she hosted!  On a scale of 1-10 , we gave it an 11!

Author of this blog: Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes  for the stove top- 10 minutes in the Instant Pot ( plus heat up time)
Serves: 6-8


Olive oil spray
1/4 cup vegetable broth for sauteeing
1/2 cup of red lentils, washed
1/2 cup of brown lentils, wash
1 and 1/2 cups of chopped onion, (about 1 large onion)
2 cups of diced Russet Potatoes, (about 1 large Russet potato)
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2-1 teaspoon turmeric
5 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup water
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pepper to taste

Directions for Stove Top:

Spray pot with olive oil spray. Add onions and potatoes, mix well and sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add garlic and 1/4 cup of vegetable broth, stir and continue to saute for about 3-4 more minutes. Add cumin, turmeric, pepper and mix well. Add red lentils, brown lentils, vegetable broth and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes covered until lentils are well cooked, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking or burning. When done, puree slightly using an immersion blender to the desired consistency. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and serve.

Intant Pot Directions:
 Spray the insert liner of the Instant Pot with olive oil spray. Add onions and potatoes, mix well and sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add garlic and 1/4 cup of vegetable broth, stir and continue to saute for about 3-4 more minutes. Add cumin, turmeric, pepper and mix well. Add red lentils, brown lentils, vegetable broth and water.  Cancel the saute function, secure lid, close steam valve, and set to pressure cook for 10 minutes. When done, carefully release steam according to the manufacturers directions. Puree slightly with an immersion blender. Add lemon and stir.

My Notes:
1. Soup always tastes best when it has had some time to sit and allow the flavors to mingle.
2. I used Tabatchnick vegetable broth which has an excellent flavor. I find it in the Kosher section of the supermarket.
3. If you like soups with a kick, taste first, and then add hot sauce if desired!
4. If you would like more information about the benefits of Turmeric, I found a post on the Internet by Dr. Axe ( who I respect) with lots of information.

  • This recipe will be shared Sunday on Souper Sunday at Kahakai Kitchen where you can link up soup, salad, or sammie recipes... Also will be shared Friday on Weekend Cooking open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: 
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and I am not giving medical advice. All the information in this post is for educational information only. Please consult your doctor before making any changes in your diet.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Wordless Wednesday- Jerusalem

I visited Israel this past May. Here are some of the scenes from the old city of Jerusalem
Old City Jerusalem, Israel

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Lebanese Moussaka

Do you love Middle Eastern cooking? I do, and this Lebanese Moussaka is fabulous! It's entirely different than the more commonly known Greek Moussaka, and there is a reason why!!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Acorn Squash with Apple Casserole

It's fall and I making baked corn squash with sweet apple casserole which makes a perfect side with what ever you are eating. It contains so delicate flavors that are sure to perk up your meal! Read how I make it.

acorn squash and apple casserole @

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Halloween Decor and Recipes

                     Welcome to Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday Halloween Decor + Recipes

Check out my Halloween and Fall Recipes Below and Decoration

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Tomato Dal Soup - Americanized

Wow! This easy to make plant based Indian dal (soup) has lots of flavor, protein, fiber, and valuable nutrients!Tomato  dal is traditionally made from a whitish yellow colored split pea- called toor dal.
Toor dal is commonly used in Indian cooking; I find you can substitute easy to find yellow split peas instead. I eat my dal as a soup (I added more broth) but it can be eaten as a side dish over rice.
See how I made this warming, delicious soup!