Middle Eastern Red Lentil Soup with Sumac and Mint September 15 2014 by Simone Denny

I love the flavours of the Middle East and this soup recipe reminds me of my travels through that part of the world. The recipe is adapted from veggiegrettie.com and I have made it many times this winter - I never tire of it. I hope you enjoy!

The recipe uses sumac, which is an excellent natural antioxidant food.

Serves 4-6, vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 courgettes finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2  tbsp dried mint or fresh mint
  • 1 cup  dried red lentils
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 1/4 cup quinoa (I use red)
  • Aprx 2.5 liters of vegetable stock (added as required)
  • 1 tbsp sumac (optional)
  • salt & black pepper
  • fresh mint leaves, chopped for garnish
  • sumac for garnish (optional)
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Method

Place olive oil, garlic, cumin seeds, paprika, chilli flakes and cayenne pepper in a large pot and heat over medium heat for a minute.

Add vegetables (onions, courgettes, carrots and celery), half the mint and a pinch of salt. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes until softened and lightly golden. Then add tomato & tomato paste and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add in the lentils, brown rice & quinoa and stir to coat in the vegetables and spices. Add ¾’s the veg stock/water, season well with salt & black pepper, add the dried mint and bring to the boil.  Turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes everything is tender – add the remaining stock to create your desired consistency.

Add the sumac, taste for seasoning, add more salt or mint if necessary.

Serve in soup bowls and garnish with natural yogurt (greek or otherwise) fresh chopped mint, sumac and a lemon wedge to squeeze on top.