Lemon Lentil Soup:
Lemon Lentil Soup is my favorite soup since my childhood, specially in winter time when fighting cold or preventing it. It’s fulfilling without being heavy on the stomach. It’s actually quickly digested due to the lentils.
I love its strong revitalizing taste of lemon juice. Very northern of me, I know! But here is the thing: We, people of the North, love lemon juice to the point of increasing its dose in most of our dishes, and not only in the Tabbouleh and the Tahini Sauce. The Citrus fruits and us, we go back in time; a subculture feature of our Northern eating habits.
Lemon Lentil Soup: Delicious and Super-Nutritious
Our Lemon Lentil Soup is a Veggie delight of lentils, Seleq vegetable (Swiss chard), potatoes and carrots. We cook it with sauteed onions and garlic, and flavored it with Lemon Juice and a dash of dry mint.
Could it be more enticing than that? Nope? Well, let me tell you what more there is to it! You must be saying, “Come on, it’s just a soup!” It is a soup, sure, but not just any! Its main components are:
1- Protein-rich lentils, which are known to:
- lower the Cholesterol,
- improve heart health,
- stabilize blood sugar,
- prevent constipation,
- support digestion, and
- boost energy.
2- Strong Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Seleq, which provides you with great doses of the following nutritious benefits:
Take a look!
This all in 1 cup of Chard. Our recipe here contains 2 full ones!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, get ready to boost your health!
And let us not forget the healthy medicinal values of the Cumin and the coriander!
The Seleq Power-house Vegetable
The Seleq is a Mediterranean leafy vegetable known to the world as Swiss Chard. Its only connection to Switzerland is the nationality of the botanist who first described it. The Swiss Chard is not even a Swiss common agriculture.
The Lebanese Chard (allow me) is softer in texture, less bitter, and of stronger green color than the ones you see in North America and most Europe. Its stalk is thicker and of white-beige color, not red.
The Baby Chard could be eaten raw in salads. The mature ones need to be cooked in order to be consumed. The bitterness in the non-Lebanese Chard fades in the cooking. The resulting flavor is as refined as ours.
The Recipe That Meets All Tastes
This soup is originally strong in lemon juice flavor, and some like it a little spicy. In order to meet the taste of most, I have decreased the spice and the lemon juice in the cooking. Hence, I am providing you the recipe with:
- A minimum of black pepper
- Less lemon juice, while advising you to serve lemon wedges on the side for those wishing to go very Northern Lebanese with this. 🙂
Lemon Lentil Soup
- 2 cups Brown Lentils Green is okay
- 2 cups Chards (Seleq) chopped roughly
- 1 Onion (medium) chopped
- 2 Potatoes (large) diced
- 2 Carrots (large) diced
- 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1tbsp Garlic mashed
- 2 tbsps Olive Oil Light, for cooking; please refer to my chart of Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp White Pepper
- 1 tbsp Coriander
- 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tbsp Salt or as desired
- 1 tbsp Dry Mint
To Thicken the Soup
- 1 tsp Corn Flour blend in 1/4 cup water
- Lemon Wedges
Boil the lentils for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables as required: chopping, dicing, mashing... The Chard leaves are to be chopped roughly, and the stalks in small dices.
In a large soup casserole, heat the olive oil (please use cooking olive oil, and not the Extra Virgin or Virgin!) over medium heat. Cook in the onions, the potatoes and the carrots for 5 minutes.
Stir in the mashed garlic for few seconds until its fragrance diffuses.
Meanwhile, strain the lentils, preserving the liquid on the side.
Using a cup, add the lentil liquid in the casserole, and any additional water to total 6 cups (about 1.5L).
Stir in the lentils and the Seleq (Chard).
Season with coriander, black pepper, white pepper, and cumin. Stir well.
NOTE: Notice that I keep the salt for later to allow quicker cooking of the lentils and vegetables.
Bring to a boil then lower to medium heat, cover, and leave them to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 35 minutes.
Past the 35 minutes, double-check if the carrots and lentils are tender enough. These 2 ingredients differ from country to country, and some require more time to tenderize. If this is your case, allow more time to cook.
Now it's time to add the salt. Don't worry, your soup will still need ahead 10 more cooking minutes, which is enough for the salt to blend in and flavor the soup.
Stir in the lemon juice, the dry mint, and the Corn flour (melted in cold water as instructed).
Leave it to thicken (8-10 minutes). Your soup is done!
Cut the lemon in wedges, and have it on a small plate on the table for those wishing to increase the lemon flavor.
Optional yet recommended: Serve with toasted Lebanese Pita Bread on the side.