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.
Love red lentils? We have an amazing and Healthy Mac and Cheese recipe made with red lentil pasta for you.
Red Lentil Soup
This is my version of the famous red lentil soup from Turkey. It has additional herbs and spices.
The recipe here uses the same comforting Turkish soup base with some inspiration from our popular red lentil curry.
I have added quinoa to give an interesting texture. Quinoa can be used to create remarkable textures such as in this recipe - Eggplant chickpea patties.
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 complete protein.
Although referred to as a whole grain, quinoa is actually a pseudo cereal. And with nutritional quality similar to that of grains but with higher protein content. It has been found to be beneficial for 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.
More Lentil Recipes:
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Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant Dip)
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Prick the eggplants with a fork in couple spots and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the skin turns darker and shrinks. Check foot notes for grilling, broiling or stove top options.
- The eggplants should be cooked through completely in the center. To check, press the back of a fork on the eggplant. It should compress easily all the way into the center without any resistance.
- Cut through the eggplant skin and scoop out the soft cooked flesh and mash it with a fork and set aside.
- Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, discarding some seeds if you wish. See note below for peeled and deseeded tomatoes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan at medium setting. Add the chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne or chili powder, ⅓ teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes are softened, stirring in between, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the mashed eggplants and cilantro. Continue to cook over low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, mashing it if needed, into a thick but slightly textured dip like consistency.
- Stir in lemon juice and salt. Adjust as per taste, let it cool and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate it overnight before serving.
- Take the zaalouk from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and let it come to room temperature. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes if you prefer.
- Chunky Zaalouk: To make a chunkier but less traditional zaalouk, insert garlic cloves into eggplant and roast it in the oven at 400˚F, along with the tomatoes. Chop the eggplants and tomatoes. Add the spices, herbs, half the olive oil, salt and mash it up to desired consistency. Drizzle olive oil and serve.
- Cooking Eggplants:
- Grill: Roast eggplants on charcoal or gas grill for 20 to 30 minutes, turning them slowly in between, until skin turns darker and shrinks.
- Broil: Cut eggplants lengthwise into halves and place the cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Place on the second rack and broil until skin turns darker and shrinks, about 20 minutes.
- Stovetop: Peel the eggplants completely, only some stripes or leave the skin on if you don’t mind it. Cut the eggplants into small pieces. Steam on high heat until soft or cook in a pan with some water until soft and mushy.
- Easy Zaalouk: Combine all ingredients with ⅓ cup of water and cook it over stove top until softened. Mash it up well and drizzle olive oil.
- Peeled and deseeded tomatoes: If you prefer, you can blanch the tomatoes. Cut a small cross on the surface of tomatoes and dump them in hot boiling water. After a minute, pick out the tomatoes and peel the skin, cut them into halves and deseed. Chop them into small pieces.
- Use more tomatoes if you want the dip to be saucy. You may even try using a little bit of tomato paste to give it thickness.
- Leftovers: Can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze zaalouk for couple months. Thaw and reheat. Adjust the consistency, evaporating or adding water as needed. Check the seasoning as well.
- Nutrition facts not including any added salt.
- For other variations, tips and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
Red Lentil Soup With Quinoa
- 2 cups red lentils
- ¼ cup quinoa
- ¾ cup onions chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes chopped
- 2 cloves garlic large, grated
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste optional
- 8 cups water or vegetable/chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin optional
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ cup carrots grated
- 3 tablespoons cilantro chopped finely
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1¼ teaspoons salt adjust if using stock
- lemon juice to taste
- 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 ¼ cup quinoa and ½ 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.
- 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.