Mediterranean red lentil soup is one of my favorite soups and is so easy to prepare. Full of flavor and very healthy. It is gluten free and a good source of protein and fiber.
MY VERSION OF RED LENTIL SOUP
There is a soupy side dish prepared in India known as dal and is quite popular. And on the other hand, there is this yummy red lentil soup that is well known in the Middle East to North Africa.
Now, the soup featured here is more like the red lentil soup but with elements of flavors from the dal. It is not fusion cooking. Just that the additional spices and herbs gives it a different twist. And many of my friends have liked this variation given to the red lentil soup.
I have added quinoa to give an interesting texture. Quinoa can be used to create remarkable textures such as in this recipe – Vegetarian Kotlet with Eggplant (Quinoa crusted chickpea patties).
HEALTH BENEFITS – MEDITERRANEAN RED LENTIL SOUP WITH QUINOA
Red lentils are protein rich and loaded with fiber. These two nutrients together also make red lentils a very satiating food despite being low in calories. Studies have shown that red lentils have maximum concentration of phenolic compounds and with strongest antioxidant activity compared to other varieties of lentils.
Quinoa has been much touted for its nutrition value. It is a good source of antioxidants and considered to provide complete protein. Although it is referred to as a whole grain it is actually a pseudo cereal with nutritional quality similar to that of grains but with higher protein content. It has been found to be nutritionally beneficial for several health conditions such as diabetes, colon cancer, hypertension and obesity.
This Mediterranean red lentil soup is also gluten free for those who prefer or need that in their diet.
Photography above: bijansviewfinder.com
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- 2 cups red lentils
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 3/4 cup onions chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes chopped
- 2 cloves garlic large, grated
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste optional
- 8 cups water or stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 1 teaspoon cumin ground, optional
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 cup carrots grated
- 3 tablespoons cilantro chopped finely
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (adjust if using stock)
- lemon juice - to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried mint
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper ground (optional)
Wash the red lentils and transfer to the cooking pot. Add the chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, grated garlic, water or stock, tomato paste & cumin (optional), turmeric and bring it all to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes until the lentils are completely soft and fallen apart.
In a separate saucepan put 1/4 cup quinoa and 1/2 cup water and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat, place the lid and let it simmer until quinoa is tender and a bit chewy. When it is cooked, the white spiral like threads appear around each grain of quinoa.
Blend the cooked red lentils to a smooth consistency as per preference, using an immersion blender or a countertop blender.
Add the grated carrots and simmer for another 10 minutes; adding the cooked quinoa, chopped cilantro, black pepper and salt towards the end.
Squeeze some lemon juice as per taste. Adjust the final consistency and seasoning according to taste.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. When the oil is hot, turn off the heat. Add the paprika, mint and ground red pepper (optional).
Make sure to take the saucepan away from the heat source, so that the seasonings do not get burnt. Ground red pepper adds the characteristic pungency and you may want to add it per preference and taste.
Stir about one fourth of the paprika-mint seasoning oil into the soup to allow the flavors to mix well into the soup.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls and drizzle the remaining seasoning oil on top of the soup. Serve some lemon wedges on the side with this Mediterranean red lentil soup.
May use vegetable stock to make it "vegan".
Serving Size: 1 cup soup
Calories 158, Total Fat 4 g (Saturated Fat 1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 2 g), Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 250 mg, Potassium 434 mg, Phosphorus 189 mg, Total Carbohydrate 23 g, Dietary Fiber 8 g, Sugars 3 g, Protein 9 g