Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Middle Eastern Spiced Red Lentil and Brown Rice Soup

Today was quite hectic at my house. I got started late and then had a bushel of peaches to can. Five hours later I was finished, tired, hot and hungry. All I wanted to do at 4 pm was eat lunch and relax in the bath. Dinner was the last thing on my mind. However, my husband needs to eat dinner so I had to make something. When I need a meal that doesn’t require much attention I make soup and salad for dinner, which is what I did tonight. This particular soup is easy since it requires opening bags and cans and adding seasoning. Stirring and skimming was the most strenuous activity this soup required from me.

I based this soup loosely on a Lebanese lentil and rice soup. That soup didn’t have tomato, which I thought was absolutely necessary when I tasted this. The original also didn’t include lemon or dill, two additional items that I thought were required. Uncharacteristically I have finished this soup with a little good extra virgin olive oil. Since the soup itself didn’t include any oil, I decided a little on top would finish the soup nicely, and it did. My husband was shocked to see the oil on top. This is something I used to do with every meal (it is an Italian thing to use olive oil as a condiment like salt and pepper) but stopped after I read “Life Over Cancer”. If you need a low maintenance meal this soup is easy and tastes good.

Middle Eastern Spiced Red Lentil and Brown Rice Soup
Serves 8


16 ounce bag red lentils, picked through and rinsed
1 cup short grain brown rice
14 cups water
28 ounces diced tomatoes, canned
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons onion flakes
4 teaspoons coriander seed, toasted and ground
2 teaspoons cumin seed, toasted and ground
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
zest and juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
¼ cup fresh dill, minced
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil


Combine the lentils, rice, water and tomatoes and cook for 30 minutes. During this time you may need to skip foam off the top of the soup. Once the foaming has subsided add the garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, pepper and salt. Cook until the lentils and rice fall apart. You are looking for a texture similar to split pea soup. My soup cooked on low heat for about two hours, maybe fifteen minutes less. Be certain to stir this soup periodically to keep it from sticking to the pot.

When you are ready to serve turn off the heat and add the lemon zest, lemon juice and fresh dill. Stir to evenly distribute.

Drizzle a little flavorful extra virgin olive oil over each serving and eat hot.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 334.69
Calories From Fat (13%) - 42.31

Total Fat - 4.94g
Saturated Fat - 0.59g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 494.82mg
Potassium - 640.58mg
Total Carbohydrates - 60.72g
Fiber - 9.62g
Sugar - 3.33g
Protein - 17.11g


If the weather is cold and dreary, as it was here today, this is good soup. We enjoyed the heartiness of the soup and the nice background of dill and lemon. My husband thought a second lemon would be nice in this soup. I would suggest you add one lemon but serve lemon wedges on the side so everyone can adjust the acid to their taste.


  1. Soup looks good; I love the idea of it being extra-lemony. I did sort of the opposite this week; I made tomato soup and was going to add red lentils, but as it turned out, I didn't have any in my cupboard.

    Isn't it surprising how time-consuming canning is? It seems like if you're organized and know what to do, it shouldn't take too long. I've only done it a few times, but I was in the kitchen for hours and hours. Oh well, time flies when you're having fun (or not).

  2. this sounds so comforting and warm i can imagine what it would feel like in my belly:)short grain brown rice is so good. really really good! ten times better than white rice

  3. Rose,

    I make a tomato and lentil soup that my husband loves and I wanted something different today. And I was being lazy, since I was exhausted. It turned out really well and was different which was what I wanted.

    As many times I have canned things I still am surprised by how long it takes. I had every burner going (sterilizing, peeling, canning, and warming the lids). If I weren't so focused on organic and no added sugar fruit I don't know I would do this very often. Today I made four types of peaches, plain, with cinnamon, with cloves, and with cardamom all without sugar.


    The soup was good particularly since it is cool and rainy here today. Other than carnaroli I don't have any white rice in the house anymore. We eat brown rice 99% of the time now.


  4. I love red lentils. They're so quick and easy, unlike other legumes.

    We don't know how long or why Bumpers is blind. When we got him he had giant ulcers all over his eyes but they have since healed. He can't see light so that means his optic nerve is damaged. That makes me think that his blindness is the result of an injury. I really don't know. I just know he won't ever see again. :(

  5. Janelle,

    I love lentils because they are quick too. We try to have a few different varieties of lentils on hand at all times. I bought some really interesting beluga lentils this weekend that are tiny and black. Expect to see something with those in the next few weeks.

    We love our cats, I can't understand how anyone could hurt a poor defenseless animals. People that would do that are not human in my book. If I think about the negative I will get angry so I choose to be thankful that you and your husband found him and he has a loving home now. I believe that rescued animals seem to understand that they have a better life and that is why they are such loving pets. Does that sound like Bumpers to you?



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