Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Moroccan Lentil and Rice Soup

Whoever ordered winter can quit it! Thankfully, this Moroccan Lentil and Rice Soup is a perfect way to thaw out after shoveling, building snowmen or tobogganing - packed with earthy lentils, brown rice and a medley of spices, it's a healthy and filling addition to your winter menu.

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So, we've hit the "dumping of snow on everything we love" part of the year. I know many people love this time - sledding, long walks, skiing and the like, but I am very much against anything that has the capacity to chill me to the bone (or flare my arthritis). So while my mom is outside making snow angels and towing the littles around on their little toboggans, I'm inside making a meal that will warm everyone up. 

This soup was inspired by my discovery of a large bag of lentils and a handful of rice I found in the pantry - both affordable staples for any household with almost unlimited potential which find their way into many a lunch. Having a bevy of spices from Selefina made picking a theme tough though - which part of the world do I travel? Ultimately I went with the savoury spice blend inspired by Morocco - one of my favourite locations to travel culinarily. From there, it was just a matter of assembling the rest of the soup - and discovering that I had a lot of stock on my hands for one pot, finding a second to split everything - and letting it simmer away while I studied for my Paralegal exam.

By lunchtime, the whole house was perfumed with the spice mix, and (having changed out of all the snow gear) mom was first in line for a taste - I'm not going to tell her I had first dibs! Everything melded perfectly after that long simmer, and no spice was dominant (which can be a problem with spice-heavy dishes). Like most soup, it was even better the next day!

Moroccan Lentil and Rice Soup

Serves 16
3 tbsp olive oil (don't use extra-virgin, it has a low smoke point)
1 large onion, diced small
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper (optional if you like a little heat)
4 cups brown lentils
1 cup brown rice
1 cup pumpkin puree (optional, but it makes it nice and rich)
10 cups low sodium veggie broth
8 cups water
2 tsp salt
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  1. In a very large pot (I used two, and divided the recipe between them), heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, reduce the heat and cook, stirring, until the onion is beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and the spices and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. Add the lentils and rice, stirring to coat with the spices. 
  5. Add the pumpkin puree, broth, water, salt and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes or until rice and lentils are tender.

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