Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Dedicated to my fellow parishioners at the Episcopal Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Greenwich Village, NYC

IngredientsVegan
7 cups Vegetable Broth
2 cups Red Lentils, dry, rinsed
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Sweet Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup flat-leaf Parsley, chopped fine
1 cup Celery, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp Zaatar
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp ground Marjoram
1/2 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1/4 tsp Salt

Lemon wedges

Directions:

  • In a gallon size pot on medium heat, combine the Onion, Salt, Pepper, and Olive Oil; cook until the onions softens.
  • Add the Garlic, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, and Celery. Continue to saute until the Celery starts to soften.
  • Add all the other spices, and mix well so that the spices get into the oil and juices in the pot.
  • Add the Tomato, Vegetable Broth, and Lentils; bring to a boil, stirring often so that nothing sticks.
  • Reduce to a simmer, add the Parsley, and let cook until the Lentils become tender.
  • Taste, and adjust the seasoning and spices to your preferred tastes.
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge. Squirt the juice on the Soup.

Makes about 6 servings

NOTES:Lentil Soup is eaten in various parts of the world. This recipe utilizes spices from Northern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Zaatar a spice blend used in North Africa, especially Egypt and Libya, often added to meats or rubbed in olive oil on flat bread. It is made up of Sumac, Oregano, Sesame Seed, often with other spices.

Lentil soup can be modified to your prefered tastes and needs. You can add chopped spinach or kale, or diced carrots or sweet potatoes. Keep in mind if you add additional starches, you may need to add additional spices. This meal is vegan, however one can add meat like chicken or lamb to it–or even sausage. It is also common to garnish with sour cream or yogurt.

Falafel – فلافل

Ingredients:Vegan
2 cups Chickpeas (dried, soaked 24 hours or canned)
1 medium Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp fresh Mint, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1/2 tsp crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

3 cups Olive Oil for frying
1 Lemon

Directions:

  • Drain the Chickpeas from water/can solution.
  • Add the Chickpeas and all ingredients (except oil and Lemon) into a food processor.
  • Pulse the mixture until it resembles bread crumbs. If needed, add a small, small amount of water to aid in the pulsing. Do not over pulsate, or it will turn into a hummus-like mixture. You want it grainy.
  • Using your hands, form small 1″ balls from the mixture. I prefer to then squish the balls making a small patty. This is easier for pan-frying. If you are going to use a deep fryer, the balls are best.
  • In a skillet, add the oil and heat to 350°.
  • Using a spatula, place the patties in the oil. Let cook for 2 1/2 minutes then carefully flip. Cook another 2 1/2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack or papertowel-lined plate.
  • Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the falafel.

NOTES:
History: Falafel is originally from Egypt, and was made with Fava beans. Most Middle Eastern variations use Chickpeas, either mixed with Fava beans, or exclusively. The herbs and spices can be modified to suit your taste. Some recipes add Sesame seeds to the mix.
The Chickpeas: Either use canned, or dried. For dried, soak them at least 24 hours in water. Keep in mind that they will triple in size and may need more water.

Serving Options:
Serve with Tahini, or Tzatziki as a finger food.
Serve with lettuce, tomato, tahini, Tzatiki, in a split Pita like a sandwich.
Serve atop a salad.