Oh, shepherd’s pie, you have eluded me for so long. I tried my hand at lentil shepherd’s pie, mushroom shepherd’s pie and then I realized where I was going wrong: I had to combine the two. Using a mix of crimini mushrooms, wild mushrooms and brown lentils gives it a unique texture and flavor combination. Read More »
The struggle between preparing a healthy and delicious meal for yourself at home or throwing your hands in the air and going out for food is a challenge most of us face on a regular basis. The latter is often more expensive, time consuming and not as satisfying or nutritious. If you’re like me, you prefer eating at home and cooking your own meals as often as possible yet our friend/enemy ‘time’ doesn’t always allow such a union to come together. I created this recipe on a day I was short on time before heading out for the afternoon. From the moment I started pulling out the ingredients to the moment I sat down to eat exactly forty minutes had passed. The dishes, well, that’s another story.
Chick Peas and lentils are easily two of my favorite legumes. I love their versatility in soups, pasta dishes, over rice, pureed for dips and in salads plus they lend themselves well to a variety of herbs and spices. Putting these two magical legumes together in a single dish may be the best idea I’ve had all year. The aromatic spices and tomato base of this soup are a perfect stage for these complementary beans to shine together. This rich dish could easily be served over rice though I found it to be ample and satisfying by itself.
Moroccan Chick Pea and Lentil Soup
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
Pinch of saffron thread
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp cumin
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup lentils, sorted and rinsed
8 cups of water or vegetable broth
2 cups of chick peas, cooked
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Lemon wedges (optional)
1) In a large soup pot warm olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and celery and sauté until halfway cooked. Add ginger, jalapeño, saffron, turmeric, cumin and ground cinnamon and sauté until onions are translucent and aromatic.
2) Add tomatoes and tomato paste and let simmer for a few minutes. Add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and sugar.
3) Add lentils, water or vegetable broth and bring to a light boil.
4) Reduce heat and partially cover. Cook until lentils are al dente, about 30-40 minutes.
5) Add chick peas and garlic clove and simmer until all flavors are developed, about 30 more minutes.
6) Remove cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Add a generous amount of fresh pepper and adjust salt according to personal taste.
7) Serve with a squeeze of lemon.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Servings: Six hearty bowls
I had a version of this soup many years ago before deciding to become a vegetarian. It’s comforting, easy to make and a complete meal. Cooking the noodles along with the soup instead of separately gives the soup a naturally thick consistency.
Lentil Vermicelli Soup
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, quartered lengthwise then chopped
1 stalk of celery, cut into long thirds then chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp of dried rosemary
1 bay leaf (optional)
2 cups of lentils, sorted and rinsed
7 cups of vegetable broth or water with 2 bouillon cubes
1/3 cup of vermicelli noodles (spaghetti will work), snapped into 1-2 inch pieces
2-3 tsp of sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup of fresh parsley (optional)
1. Warm olive oil in a soup pot over medium high heat
2. Add onion, carrot and celery until fragrant (about 5 minutes)
3. Add rosemary, garlic and a few cranks of fresh pepper and saute for a minute or two
4. Add broth, lentils and bay leaf
5. Bring to boil and then simmer, covered for about 30 minutes (when lentils become soft) stirring occasionally
6. Add 2 tsp of salt and more fresh pepper, bring soup to a boil again and add noodles. Reduce heat and cook until noodles become al dente (about 10-12 minutes)
7. Remove from heat, pull out bay leaf and stir in fresh parsley
8. Adjust salt and pepper to taste
Total Prep and Cooking Time: about 45 minutes to 1 hour
Servings: 4-6 bowls