{Lebanese} Lentil Lemon Soup

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

When we were traveling in Lebanon a few weeks ago I got travelers sickness real bad. We called the hotel and asked if they had any crackers (saltines anyone?). They did not but, promised to send us some soup and bread rolls. The soup that came was this perfect lemony lentil soup with swiss chard and potatoes. I gobbled it down (which I may have regretted later... but that is another story for another time) promising myself I would try to find the recipe or invent it. There is such a thing as Lentil Lemon Soup on the internet and it seems to be a pretty typical Lebanese dish, although I had never seen or tasted it before. My version is similar to those I found online (after I made this soup) although most recipes call for a lot more lemon juice and a lot of olive oil. I thought I would be conservative with the lemon juice the first time I made this soup (since I was making it up as I went), but I love the result of this soup so much that I don't think I will want to change it! Shukran Lebanon! Your food was wonderful!

Recipe adapted from: Beirut, Lebanon

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lentils
  • 8 c water (add 1-4 more cups of water if needed)
  • 1/3 c fresh lemon juice (traditional recipes will have as much as 1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 2 tbsp dried onion flakes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 c carrots, washed and chopped
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, washed and chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, boiled and chopped

Directions

  1. Wash and prepare potatoes by baking, boiling, or microwaving (for 10 minutes) ahead of time. Chop into bite sized pieces and set aside.
  2. Wash and peel carrots and chop into small pieces, set aside.
  3. Wash swiss chard and remove leaves from stems. Chop stems into small pieces (the size of the carrots) and set aside. Role leaves up like sushi and slice into ribbons. Cut ribbons in half and set aside.
  4. In a medium to large size rice cooker (or sauce pan), combine lentils, water, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, dried onion flakes, bay leaves, black pepper, red pepper flakes, chopped carrots, chopped swiss chard stems (not leaves) and turn machine On (if your machine has a Whole Grain setting then use it, as it should typically cook a little longer then the average White Rice setting)
  5. If cooking on the stove top cover partially and cook over moderately low heat until the lentils are tender, about 25-35 minutes. 
  6. When lentils have been cooking in the rice cooker for 30 minutes (or on the stove for 12 minutes) add precooked chopped potatoes and swiss chard leaves.
  7. When lentils are soft the soup is done. 
  8. Pour soup into bowls, serve hot with brown rice, quinoa, or slices of fresh or toasted bread on the side. 

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