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!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Creamy Vegan Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo sauce and pasta

If you love Alfredo sauce but don't love the heavy fat content from the cream and butter, this healthy vegan Alfredo recipe is for you! It is very easy to make, smooth and creamy, tasty and the perfect dairy free, nut free, parve and gluten free substitute for the traditional high fat and caloric Alfredo sauce. I'm excited about it and the possibilities. Weight Watchers are you listening?

Monday, September 16, 2019

Carrot, Jicama,and Apple Coleslaw Recipes

carrot apple coleslaw

If you are looking for an easy, but healthy simple vegan side dish, think about sweet and juicy apple jicama coleslaw! Everyone seems to enjoy it, and it can literally be made in minutes with the shredding blade of your food processor. If you don't have jicama, I've included another dairy free, gluten free recipe that is also made with apple !!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Vegan and Gluten Free Shabbat Dinner

This was Friday night Shabbat dinner for our Sabbath.

It's vegan, gluten free, filling, and healthy. 

Lots of greens and protein rich foods

A delicious vegan apple cake for dessert.

I think the photos say it all! 

I've included recipes and information about our traditions!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Energy Bites and Book Review - Eat Live Thrive Diet

energy balls for snacking
Photo not from the book
These delicious energy bites are a recipe from the Eat Live Thrive Diet Book, by Danna Demetre and Robyn Thomson,  which I am reviewing today . The bites are made of healthy, real food ingredients, are easily assembled , and then simply rolled into balls- no cooking necessary!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Best Homemade Hummus

homemade hummus

Have you ever thought about making your own hummus? 
It is really easy, and the taste surpasses anything you can buy in the store. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Butternut Squash Sage Soup- Instant Pot

Butternut squash and sage soup

Butternut squash seasoned with fresh sage makes a delightful soup that is both soothing and delicious. The temperatures are getting a little cooler, and I'm starting to think about fall flavors and comforting soups. I made my soup in the Instant Pot, but it can also be made on the stove top for those of you or are still holding out. 

The recipe has only 7 ingredients and is easy to make. It's a light soup and is a zero point soup of Weight Watchers ! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Carrot Apple Muffins - Gluten Free and Vegan

apple carrot gluten free muffins @

Anyone in the mood for carrot /apple muffins? 

These gluten free muffins are a reliable recipe that come out good every time. It's a basic recipe that can be varied according to the season and your preferences. I sometimes make carrot\apple, sometimes blueberry or strawberry, sometimes pumpkin, and sometimes chocolate chip. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Very Easy Gazpacho

Gazpacho topped with avocado
Easy Tomato Gazpacho 

The end of summer is the perfect time to make tomato gazpacho when the local farmer's markets are overflowing with ripe fresh tomatoes, red peppers, and cucumbers!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Wild Blueberry Slushy

Low calorie blueberry slushy
Add caption

This wild blueberry dessert is almost like blueberry ice cream, but a little slushier! Sometimes I'm in the mood for something cold, rich, and creamy but don't want to consume the calories or fat that are in traditional ice cream. In those moments, I make myself a decadent wild blueberry slushy low calorie dessert in just 5 minutes!  

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Fabulous Hummus Appetizer

hummus appetizer with olives, roasted tomatoes, and chick peas

Need a spectacular appetizer for your next party? This is a hummus extravaganza!
It's a Mezze type hummus appetizer platter that looks and tastes extraordinary and takes hummus eating to a whole new level. Mezze is a word associated with Middle Eastern appetizers which basically means small plates with the intention of stimulating one's appetite.

Russian Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

Are you looking for a delicious soup recipe that the entire family will love?  This sweet and sour cabbage soup is like a tangy vegetable soup. My husband who is a lemon lover thought it was exceptional.

It is naturally gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and soy free- ideal for a group with diverse eating needs.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Spinach, Capers and Cauliflower Rice Side Dish

Low carb spinach side dish

This cauliflower rice and spinach side dish is a low carb, light, and fluffy recipe that is absolutely delicious. It is a quick and easy recipe that is a life saver for me in the summer when I don't feel like doing "real" cooking, yet I want something satisfying, low calorie, and low carb.

Zero Points on Weight Watchers
In fact, if you are following Weight Watchers this is considered a zero point side dish! Yay!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Vegetable Pakora Appetizers

Do you like Indian Food?
I frequently order vegetable pakora appetizers when I dine in our local Indian restaurant.
As much as I enjoy them, I never thought of actually making them at home.
It turns out they were easy to make, baked, and very tasty!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - The Shook in Jerusalem

A few photos from my trip this past May to Israel, Spain, Portugal,
Tangiers Morocco
for Wordless Wednesday : The Shook In Jerusalem

The  Shook ( marketplace) in the old city of Jerusalem 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Cucumber Melon Gazpacho

chilled fruit gazpacho

You know what they say, "cold soup is hot in the summer"!

This chilled cucumber melon gazpacho is a perfect hot humid weather soup.
The combination of sweet melon blended with juicy cucumber is light, not too sweet, and refreshing.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Wordless Wednesday-Parsley Caterpillars

Wordless Wednesday 

These beautiful green and black caterpillars ate every morsel of my parsley plant. One day it was lush and full of parsley and the next day all the curly parsley was stripped and gone!

So much for growing herbs on my deck!!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Pasta Puttanesca Bowl

raw tomato sauce

Sometimes you are just in the mood for a big bowl of pasta (gluten free of course) with a great healthy topping.Whether you make traditional (gluten free) pasta or zucchini spiral pasta, this vegan Puttanesca sauce is sure to delight your taste buds especially in the summer when fresh produce it at it's peak. No cooking necessary!!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Healthy Vegan Wraps

Bright green collard greens stuffed with mixed colorful raw vegetables, a little avocado, and some flavorful hummus, make a satisfying vegan lunch and a delicious way to eat more greens!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Roasted Summer Zucchini Soup

summer zucchini soup

Soup in the summer? Why not? 
Don't overlook this exceptional soup just because its hot outside. 
What spells summer more than fresh basil, fresh mint, and zucchini?

sliced zucchini

Summer soups can be enjoyed hot or chilled. Personally, I like my soup hot. However, if you prefer, this soup tastes equally as good chilled or at room temperature.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Easy Summer Appetizer

summer cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes make a wonderful appetizer when stuffed with hummus! I used a packaged artichoke and spinach hummus from my local supermarket  but you choose whatever you prefer from the many varieties available. Just follow my easy directions.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Chilled Summer Borsht

chilled red beet borsht

Borsht is a tangy soup that is popular in Eastern European countries like Russia, Poland, and the Ukraine. It is usually made with beetroot as the base, but every region of Europe has its own variation of vegetables and ingredients that go into this rich looking "good for you" soup.

I make it in my Instant Pot and here is how

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Healthy Vegan Sandwich Spread

homemade hummus appetizer at

Looking for a delicious and healthy vegan/plant based sandwich spread ? 

This spread is one of my favorites. It's high in protein and fiber, good fat, tasty, and Weight Watcher friendly. In addition, it's naturally gluten free and dairy free. It all adds up to one word- HEALTHY!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Powerful Anti Cancer Smoothie

This smoothie is based on the suggestions of Dr. Kristi Funk who is a cutting edge doctor/surgeon who has treated many celebrities including Angelina Jolie! Dr. Funk does extensive research on the effects of food and lifestyle on cancer!

She is convinced by research that she can reduce women's risks of getting cancer by diet and lifestyle.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Which fruits have the most pesticides?

basket of strawberries

Do you know which fruits and vegetables are the heavily sprayed with lots of pesticides and potentially dangerous? 

Every year the EWG (Environmental Workers Group) publishes a list of the twelve foods that are most heavily sprayed with pesticides. They call it the Dirty Dozen. They also publish a list of the Clean 15.  I've included their suggestions in this post!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

5 Minute Red Pepper Soup-Zero Points

vegan roasted red pepper soup

Red pepper soup is one of my favorite soups. But I often don't have the time or interest to heat up the oven to slow roast the peppers. After eating this delicious soup at a friend's house, I asked for the recipe. I was shocked to find out that she actually made this soup in just 5 minutes in the blender using a jar of roasted peppers! The results are a rich tasty soup that is both high in protein and flavor.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Skinny Dip Hummus

Are you concerned about eating too many caloric snacks and might be looking for some healthy alternatives? 

My delicious Skinny Dip Humus is tasty, filling, healthy and won't pack on the pounds. It's weight loss friendly.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Gluten Free Honey Cake Muffins

If you love honey cake, you will love these healthy honey cake muffins. They are gluten free, dairy free and have an egg free option.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Why I've added Moringa Powder to my Smoothies for Breakfast

I've started to make a smoothies again for breakfast. This time I've added moringa powder which is very rich in calcium.
I know it's winter, but I'm in Florida, it's hot, and I just don't feel like eating much in the morning. In addition, I LOVE  the taste and the boost I get from my delicious smoothie.

Smoothies are easy to make, contain lots of nutrients, and easy to digest. It's a great way to start the day especially for anyone with gluten intolerance who may have difficulty digesting and absorbing nutrients.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Eat Pasta; Lose Weight

Book Review: The Mamma Mia! Diet

Can you eat pasta and lose weight?
Anything is possible!

The Mamma Mia! Diet is a book and cookbook which explains how you can eat pasta , enjoy wine, and still lose weight. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Butternut Squash With Drizzle

Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables.

However, it is not one of my favorite vegetables to prep and cook!

After all, these squashes can be hard to peel and hard to cut. 

If you own an Instant Pot, you are in luck.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Chinese New Year- Quick Soup

Today is the celebration of the Chinese New Year- 
It's the year of the pig!

Being vegetarian/vegan, you won't find any pork or ham recipes here , but I am sharing a wonderful Chinese soup that I've made in the past.