If you’re looking for a really comforting, satisfying, soul soothing dish on a (thankfully) almost end of winter night, look no further. This dish has all the qualities of that warm PJ wearing, fireplace burning, fleece blanket wrapping type of comfort with almost next to nothing effort. It’s a one pot meal that I guarantee you will make over and over… and over again. The protein in the lentils and chickpeas make this a very hearty dish that will lightly warm your stomach for hours, and without a drop of oil, butter or cheese, a large serving will fill you up but is guaranteed never to weight you down.
Our version of the traditional turkish red lentil soup incorporates thick chunks of carrots, onion, celery and chickpeas as the dynamic flavors of the spices round out the lentils to produce a lovely mild heat. Serve it with large chunks of focaccia, olive or rosemary bread, squeeze on some lemon and swirl in the Greek yogurt as you devour every last bite.
Yield: 4 large entree sized portions
2 cups (16 oz) cooked garbanzo beans (see note below)
2 cups red lentils, rinsed (masoor dal)
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch chunks
4 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, large diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sumac
6 to 8 cups water
1 cup thick plain greek yogurt (optional, to garnish) (Vegan: simply leave off or use any tart dairy-free yogurt)
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional, to garnish)
6 slices lemon
In a large pot add the red lentils, celery, carrots, garlic, onion, salt and all the spices. Add in 6 cups water and transfer to the stovetop. Turn the stove on high and let the water come to a boil and then reduce to medium and let cook approximately 15 to 18 minutes. You may need to add water, 1 cup at a time, as the lentils cook. Keep the consistency thick but watch carefully and make sure there is enough water so as the lentils don’t burn. Once the lentil are cooked and tender add in the garbanzo beans. Taste for seasoning, you may need to add a bit more salt.
Transfer to individual serving bowls and dollop with greek yogurt and chopped parsley. Serve with a slice of lemon.
Preparing ahead of time: As with any type of cooked lentils the soup will get thick as it sits so when you re-heat you will have to add some water. Make sure you check for seasoning as the salt will need to be adjusted slightly before serving.
Cooking garbanzo beans: I really like to use freshly cooked garbanzo beans. For those of you who find using a pressure cooker convenient, I place 3/4 cup dry chickpeas with 6 cups water in a pressure cooker. Seal the lid and let the pressure rise on high heat. Once the pressure is at it’s maximum reduce the heat to medium and let cook for 40 minutes. Then, turn off the stove and let the pressure come down naturally. Remove the lid, and then drain the chickpeas and set aside.
If using a traditional stovetop pot method. I recommend soaking the chickpeas overnight first. Then rinse out the soaking water, transfer to a pot, and add 8 cups regular water. Place on stove to boil for approximately 1.5 hours. (You will need to add more water while cooking as the water begins to evaporate) Let cool slightly, drain and set aside.