Moroccan Twice Spiced Lentil Soup

by Rachel on May 7, 2011

Moroccan Lentil Soup

Chef Anne snuck into our kitchen last week.  Ok, that isn’t quite true – we begged her to come over, as we often do.  She showed up with a big pot of this lentil soup.  I’m all in favor of friends bearing gifts, especially food gifts.  She and I had a long discussion about lentils.  I’m sure that happens at your house all the time.  Languidly languishing over lentils – oh yes we were.  In the midst of our lentil discussion Chef Anne let me in on a secret.  It was a lentil soup secret – the best kind.  Did you know that you get a more flavorful outcome if you add the spices to the soup in two different additions, once early on in the cooking process, and once later?  It makes perfect sense once you mull it over for a bit.  I’ve never used this method before, but after making this soup I’m wholly committed.  And by the by, the way cool photo that begins this blog entry was shot by my eldest son, now 12.  I think it’s terrific, don’t you?

Moroccan Twice Spiced Lentil Soup (10 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 leeks, washed and chopped fine
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and then grated
  • 2 teaspoons tumeric
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup (loose) cilantro, stems and leaves
  • 1 lb brown lentils, rinsed
  • 10 cups broth – vegetable or chicken

Spices to finish:

  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice


  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped chives
  • plain yogurt

Try making this soup with your kids.

Sauté the onion and the leeks in the vegetable oil until soft and translucent, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger, stir and cook 1 minute.  Add the first list of spices, stir well, then add the vinegar and reduce by half, cook 2 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes, then the bay leaves, cilantro and the lentils and stir to combine.

Add all of the broth, bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered until the lentils are very soft, about 30 minutes.  Cool slightly, then puree in a food processor, thinning with more broth if necessary.  If you fill your food processor or blender to the top you will find that you will not achieve a very smooth finished product.  If you have the patience to process the soup in smaller batches the end result will be smoother.  I leave that up to you and your patience.

Sometimes shifting your point of view makes all the difference

Put the ever-so-smooth soup back in the pot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Don’t be shy, it needs quite a bit of both.  Add the lemon juice and the second set of spices, mix well.  Heat and serve with chopped cilantro, chopped chives and plain yogurt on top.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood May 9, 2011 at 9:05 am

The color of that soup is gorgeous in those Italian bowls. Beautiful plating!

Rachel May 9, 2011 at 10:06 am

Thanks so much for the compliment. The first photo was shot by my 12 year-old son – who wants to be a photographer just like me! He worked really hard on that shot!!
Thanks again,

Chef Anne May 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

Love the photos, especially the first. But I am a sucker for tiles. And soup. And the Sterns. :)

Gretchen April 6, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I live at a co-op with eleven other people, and I make this dish quite frequently. Everybody ALWAYS loves it, and it makes me happy to feed so many people for so little money. Thanks!

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