Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Slow Baked Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

Moroccan Red Lentil Soup
Photograph by A. Schloss
I can't stop thinking about food. Constantly tasting and cajoling ingredients in my mind, obsessively revisiting already finished recipes, imagining how they might be made better, or simpler, or easier, more exotic or more up-to-date. This riff on a recipe for Moroccan Red Lentil Soup that first appeared in Art of the Slow Cooker is none of those things. It is simply a way to make an intoxicating vegan slow cooker soup without a slow cooker.
Forget your same old, same-old lentil soup and take a deep breath.  You'll smell the cumin, the coriander, the whiff of cinnamon.  Open your eyes and take in the burnt-orange glow of turmeric burnished with tomatoes and sweet paprika. There are more than a half dozen spices in this fragrant soup. You can streamline the list with a single jar of Tunisian Fire Chef Salt, a product that I manufacture and use constantly. When you're done with the soup try it on roasted cauliflower, grilled salmon, sauteed chicken, or a garlic-crusted roast leg of lamb.

Lentil soups may come and go, but this exotic concoction will stick in your memory, not just for its heady aromas and hearty texture, but for its ease and versatility. Unlike dried beans, red lentils don’t need to be soaked before they’re cooked.

Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

Makes 6 servings.

Photograph by A. Schloss
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, cut into medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
or a blend of:
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
7 cups vegetable broth
1 can (about 28 oz) diced tomatoes, with juices
2 cups dried red lentils, washed and rinsed
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 200°F/95°C

Red Lentils
Photograph by A. Schloss
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, Chef Salt or blend of spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper) and cook for another minute. 

Add the broth and tomatoes and heat to boiling.  Stir in the lentils, cover the pot, and cook in the oven for 4 to 8 hours, until the lentils are tender, or for the amount of time that is convenient to your schedule.

Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice, parsley, and cilantro

Bowl and Cauldron
Photograph by A. Schloss
If you want:

Before sauteing the onion, saute 1 pound skinless and boneless dark chicken meat or leg of lamb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, in the oil until browned. Add the onion to the pan and proceed with the recipe.

Substitute 2 cups small dried white beans, soaked overnight, for the lentils.

Prep: 5 minutes
On the stove top: 8 minutes
In the oven: 4  to 8 hours 


  1. I heard your spot on Splendid Table and came here looking for ideas to cook in my solar oven. I really like the looks of this recipe but I wonder: did you intend to use the oven? Because the recipe does not specify when to put the lentils in the oven.

  2. Hmm these look delicious, thanks for posting up this recipe, looks quite simple to make.

    Kathy Ramos

  3. This is my all time favorite go-to soup. Super easy to make and oh, so good!

    I add 1 diced sweet potato and sliced carrots for a little more substance. Cilantro and parsley should not be spared.

    I cook it on the stovetop and its done in less than an hour.

    Thanks for sharing this delightful recipe and bon appetit!!!

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  5. I am so happy to find this blog! I will cook this soup for my family! I advice you to add basil and bay leaves to make this soup more scented! The best paper writing service is very helpful website! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Made it and it was delicious!!! Even my husband approved! And he's moroccan ;)

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

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