Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lemony Lentil Soup, or Shorabat Addas

Winter is flirting with spring here.  One day we need parkas, the next day my children are gleefully flinging off their mittens.  It is a good day to make this winter-meets-spring soup, with its warming heavy lentils and olive oil, lightened up by a burst of lemon. 

I am not shy about my love of lentils, and my love of soups, so I have eaten and made many different lentil soups.  This particular soup is so simple, so easy to pull together, and yet has such lovely flavor.   I love the play of smokey cumin against the fresh lemon, and the flavor of lentils simmered in broth.  Since married, I have grown used to the heavier sausage and lentil soups, with plenty of red wine and Parmesan, which is also tasty.  But this soup is lighter, fresher and put a smile on even my toddler's face. 

Lentils are a staple in most Palestinian cuisines, as meat has traditionally been an occasional luxury. This is the most basic recipe for lentil soup -other versions include spinach, leeks, zucchini.  My mother's version of this soup does not even include carrots and celery, and most Palestinians do not add the tomato paste.  At its most pared down version, there is little more than lentils, water, onion and cumin, and of course, lemon.

Incidentally, you will notice that almost every Palestinian lentil dish is seasoned with cumin.  Why is that?   Cumin is believed to have . . . *ahem* . . .  anti-gas properties.   So, lentils and cumin are a natural pairing!  My recipe for lentil rice pilaf, or mujjadara does not have cumin in it simply because my mother omits it in that recipe, but most Palestinian cooks do use cumin with it. 

Shorabat Addas

2 tbsp grassfed butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, finely chopped (optional)
1 celery stalk, finely chopped (optional)
1 cup green or brown lentils, soaked overnight
6 cups chicken, lamb or beef broth, or water
1 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
1 tsp cumin
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

To garnish:

Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon wedges

1.  Saute the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots in olive oil until just softened.  Season with salt and pepper.

2.  Pour in your lentils and broth.  Add cumin and season with salt and pepper  Stir in tomato paste.

3.  Simmer until lentils are tender and soup is flavorful, about 45- 60 minutes. 

4.  To serve, drizzle bowls of soup with a little olive oil and squeeze a wedge of fresh lemon.

Yield:  About four servings. 

Serve with bread, salad, or a little Jerusalem pizza (recipe to come!)

May this double your health.

Shared at Party Wave Wednesday,  Real Food Wednesday , Thank Your Body Thursday , Simple Lives Thursday , Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday , Traditional Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday .


  1. Yum! We LOVE lentils too. I have a huge batch of black beans in the fridge right now, but as soon as they're gone, I'll be making this recipe.

    We soak all our dried beans before cooking, but I've never done it with lentils. I'm going to try it. Do you find that the lentils hold their shape better if they soak first? I'm always battling against burst skins when I cook with green/brown lentils...

  2. Hmmm. I am not sure about that. Try it and let me know what you think. I usually soak my lentils overnight in a slightly acidic water (I add a little lemon juice). Of course, the lentil skins do soften and sometimes come off, but for the most part, they hold their shape. I look forward to hearing if it makes a difference!

  3. This sounds like an easy recipe. Im going to try this tonight!

  4. It is easy! I hope you enjoy it!

  5. We're just finishing up a double batch of this. So tasty and nourishing! I used homemade chicken stock and, for leftovers, started throwing in a little fresh parsley, which was great.

    Soaking the lentils made a huge difference. They cooked in around 25 minutes and they didn't split apart! Thank you for suggesting this step. I can't believe I, seasoned bean-cooker, didn't think of it.

  6. Parsley would be great in there. Nice touch. I think spinach would also be lovely - Palestinians do make a version with spinach in it, I think. I am so glad to hear that your lentils held up better. Now that you mention it, I do remember vaguely making mujjadara many years ago and being frustrated because my lentils became mushy before the rice was done. Soaking is so helpful on many levels!

  7. I made this for dinner tonight and I was so thrilled with the difference the soaking made! I should have known! I didn't know what the purpose was before so I would just skip it or do it for a minimal amount of time. The lentils were in tact, beautiful and such a lovely delicate texture. Thanks!

  8. I know, the difference is pretty amazing and it really doesn't take any actual time to throw your lentils in a bowl with some water the night before. No more mushy or crunchy lentils for us! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it!

  9. Thanks for the nice receipe. I made thus soup yesterday and it was so great.

    1. You are welcome! I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I am looking forward to making it again when the weather gets a little cooler around here.


Trying this recipe? A question or a comment? I'd love to hear from you!