I started writing this post last week when it was over 70 degrees in New York (in November), and today it’s about 30 degrees. No matter the temperature, this lentil soup is delicious. Actually, it’s more than delicious. It’s warming, comforting, hearty, filling, satisfying, and a down-right solid meal.
The recipe for this soup is inspired by a Moroccan restaurant in the East Village of Manhattan, called Cafe Mogador. Bill and I went there on one of our first dates, and we continue to make the long trek down there whenever we want a special meal. Before visiting this cafe, I had never tried Moroccan food, but I was sold upon first bite. The food is so simple and homey, and it contains bold flavors, like harissa, cumin, and cinnamon.
Take a trip to Morocco with this warm, comforting and hearty #lentil soup. Click To Tweet
Flash forward a few years, and we found ourselves eating at a vegan restaurant in LA, called Crossroads. I basically had to drag Bill there, but he ended up loving it. Especially because they had an incredible flatbread on the menu with all the same Moroccan flavors. I was so enamored with the food that I bought the cookbook right after dinner. I brought it home and tried to recreate these flavors, and in the process, I learnt about the wonders of harissa, a red chili pepper paste that brings a ton of flavor in a small spoonful.
When creating this recipe, I decided to throw in some harissa and see if it would make any difference in my traditional lentil soup. And, to balance out the spice, I added some cinnamon for a rich and somewhat sweet flavor. Well, the result is a lentil soup that completely raises the bar. This tastes great on its own, but I highly suggest topping with a dollop of great yogurt. Grab a whole wheat pita and dive straight in!
Moroccan Lentil Soup
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 white onion chopped
- 3 carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 plum tomato chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon harissa paste
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 cup green lentils
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the oil, onion, carrots, tomato and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant.
Add the harissa, cinnamon, cumin, salt and parsley to the pan. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Add the lentils, vegetable broth and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If using, top each bowl with a tablespoon or Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.