Egyptian Red Lentil Soup with Caramelized Onions

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup with Caramelized Onions - This gentle, cumin-scented soup is topped with sweet caramelized onions, a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, and a blast of fresh lemon juice. It’s incredibly easy and surprisingly delicious considering how inexpensive it is to make.

Savory lentils are gently spiced and blended into a creamy base, and then topped with caramelized onions and generous amounts of fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil for a delightful simple soup. We make and enjoy this soup on an almost weekly basis (which is very often for us!). Our kids love this meal, it takes 35-45 minutes to make the whole thing, and it is so frugal too!

This recipe is from my soup cookbook, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons. (You can read reviews or buy it from my affiliate Amazon here).  One of my goals for the book was to have a wide variety of recipes to meet different needs. I wanted to have hearty winter soups, fresh spring soups, special occasion soups, and simple everyday soups. I felt for it to be a practical book – something that was very important to me as a busy mother in the real world – that it should be a mix of soups suitable for all sorts of dining needs. Such as having a recipe for Chinese Egg Drop soup to go along with your favorite Chinese meal, or Mussels in Tomato Garlic broth for a romantic dish for two, Pho Ga for that craving we get once in a while, and hearty Mexican Black Bean soup for a cold winter night.

However, I think that I was especially interested in making this soup cookbook full of practical, easy recipes as seen in my sections for Simple Soups with Eggs, Creamy Vegetable Soups, and Family Favorite Soups. I wanted people to have recipes that they could use on a regular basis!

This specific recipe is one of those everyday soups that we love! It is so important to have recipes that are good last minute recipes. For those of you who soak grains and legumes, red lentils don’t require a soaking period and cook up very quickly. (But you can soak them if you prefer.)

You may also enjoy a few other sample recipes from my cookbook: Simple Thai Broth, Miso Brown Rice Congee, and go here to get a PDF sample including the recipes for Mexican Tortilla Soup, Butternut Apple Soup, Spanish Garlic Soup.

Back to this recipe: As we have made this recipe over and over again I have only two notes to add to the original directions. My recipe testers and I had at first agreed that this recipe was best using just water to make it as it allows the lemon and caramelized onion flavors to really shine. But now we’ve found that we like it best when made with a light flavored chicken broth. Either way, you can’t go wrong. My second note is that if you find the soup getting too thick, thin it down with a bit of water or more broth.

This is one of our favorite recipes that we froze for enjoying after Larkin was born. We went through our store of it so quickly that I have already made another huge batch of it to freeze again! For more in depth directions for making caramelized onions, check out this tutorial. 

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup with Caramelized Onions

4-6 servings

This gentle, cumin-scented soup is topped with sweet caramelized onions, a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, and a blast of fresh lemon juice. It’s incredibly easy and surprisingly delicious considering how inexpensive it is to make. You don’t have to soak lentils because they are lower in phytic acid, but you’re welcome to soak your lentils in warm water for 8 to 18 hours.

Ingredients:
2½ cups/1 pound/450 grams red lentils (the orange ones, which indicates that they have been hulled)
8 cups/1.9 liters filtered water or broth of your choice (I prefer water to allow other flavors to shine)
1 medium/large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3–6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced by hand or in a garlic press
2 teaspoons cumin
Caramelized Onions (see below)
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
2 lemons, cut into wedges

Directions:
1. In a large pot, add the red lentils, broth or water, onion, garlic, and cumin. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are soft.

2. Meanwhile, make the Caramelized Onions.

3. When the soup is done, you can purée it for a super smooth soup or leave it slightly textured (the lentils turn to mush when cooked).

4. Salt to taste and serve each bowl topped with a spoonful of Caramelized Onions, a drizzle of fruity olive oil, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. I allow people to top their own soup as desired.

Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:
2 medium/large yellow or sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fat of your choice (see page 23)
Salt

Directions:
1. In a large saucepan, heat the fat of your choice over medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle them generously with salt. Stir as needed to prevent premature browning, allowing the onions to “sweat” and wilt.
2. Continue to cook until the onions turn a light brown color, are sweet, and are very soft. This process takes about 30 minutes.

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup with Caramelized Onions
 
 
This gentle, cumin-scented soup is topped with sweet caramelized onions, a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, and a blast of fresh lemon juice. It’s incredibly easy and surprisingly delicious considering how inexpensive it is to make. You don’t have to soak lentils because they are lower in phytic acid, but you’re welcome to soak your lentils in warm water for 8 to 18 hours.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups/1 pound/450 grams red lentils (the orange ones, which indicates that they have been hulled)
  • 8 cups/1.9 liters filtered water or broth of your choice (I prefer water to allow other flavors to shine)
  • 1 medium/large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3–6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced by hand or in a garlic press
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Caramelized Onions (see below)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, add the red lentils, broth or water,
  2. onion, garlic, and cumin. Bring the soup to a boil
  3. over high heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer
  4. for 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are
  5. soft.
  6. Meanwhile, make the Caramelized Onions.
  7. When the soup is done, you can purée it for a super
  8. smooth soup or leave it slightly textured (the lentils
  9. turn to mush when cooked).
  10. Salt to taste and serve each bowl topped with a
  11. spoonful of Caramelized Onions, a drizzle of fruity
  12. olive oil, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. I
  13. allow people to top their own soup as desired.

Caramelized Onions
 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium/large yellow or sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fat of your choice (see page 23)
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the fat of your choice over medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle them generously with salt. Stir as needed to prevent premature browning, allowing the onions to “sweat” and wilt.
  2. Continue to cook until the onions turn a light brown color, are sweet, and are very soft. This process takes about 30 minutes.

 

Healthy Shamrock Shake (AKA Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie!)

 

This very creamy sweet treat is full of healthy fats, dark chocolate, and coconut goodness. Most of all, the mint flavor shines through in this refreshing drink! It’s a lovely light mint-green color, which is fun for Saint Patrick’s day, but I wouldn’t limit yourself to just one day a year to enjoy it! This recipe is also dairy-free, honey-sweetened and paleo friendly.

This very creamy sweet treat is full of healthy fats, dark chocolate, and coconut goodness. Most of all, the mint flavor shines through in this refreshing drink! It’s a lovely light mint-green color, which is fun for Saint Patrick’s day, but I wouldn’t limit yourself to just one day a year to enjoy it! This recipe is also dairy-free, honey-sweetened and paleo friendly.

I have a confession to make. I’ve never had a Shamrock Shake before. I’m not sure how I missed out on this creamy treat growing up, but there you have it. So I can’t say how it compares to, say, McDonald’s version of it. But I can say that this creamy treat is delicious! This version is obviously going with the mint theme, but originally the Shamrock Shake was a lemon-lime flavored drink, which would also be interesting.

The secret to this smoothie/shake is the avocado that adds both the light green color, plus makes is ultra-creamy. There are so many sweet recipes that use avocado (like this chocolate pudding recipe), but I wasn’t sure whether I’d like a recipe without a really strong flavor such as chocolate to help mask it – despite everyone claiming that you couldn’t really taste it.

The verdict?

I’d say you taste the mint first, then the coconut, and then just a tiny hint of something else (the avocado) but not so strong that you really recognize it as such (at least I didn’t). Of course, the dark chocolate is optional but really, I think it makes the drink! We love the combo of mint and chocolate.

Out of us three girls, after a few sips, I loved mine. Aria, my 4-year-old, and our most picky eater, loved it. Elena, my eight-year-old, who used to be not picky at all (oh how the times change) didn’t like it as she said it was too thick and creamy. So Aria finished hers for her. That’s what sisters are for! The funny thing is that Aria hates avocadoes! This recipe won her over apparently. My husband also really liked his, and mentioned that it was almost like a custard as it was so creamy!

Notes on recipe:

  • You can make it even greener by one of these two options: Either substitute a handful of fresh mint for the peppermint extract (it would be delicious anyways!) or add a handful of spinach. I haven’t tried either, but a lot of other recipes are telling me that it works just fine.
  • We used a medium size avocado for this recipe.
  • This is the organic peppermint extract we used.
  • I am also thinking that this recipe would make a really delicious popsicle! I’m buying these cool silicone popsicle molds for this summer while they are such a great price.
  • It would also be delicious topped with coconut whipped cream. Plus, it would be so pretty.
  • Serves 1

Healthy Shamrock Shake (AKA Chocolate Peppermint Smoothie)

  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk or cream
  • ½ cup ounces of water
  • half of one avocado (Make sure that you use a really ripe avocado! )
  • 2 tablespoons of  honey (I used raw)
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Handful of ice
  • Dark Chocolate Bar for shavings

In a blender, blend everything together, except the dark chocolate. For a thicker, and very cold smoothie, add a handful of ice as long as your blender can handle it well. If not, make sure you use cold ingredients. Taste test, and add more peppermint extract if needed (or more sweetener).

Once everything is very smooth. Take a bar of dark chocolate, and grate using a fine grater into the shake. How much you put in is your decision, but we put in quite a bit! Give it a quick stir, and then pour into a large cup, and then decorate with a little more chocolate shavings and  enjoy!

Healthy Shamrock Shake (AKA Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie!)
 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk or cream
  • ½ cup ounces of water
  • half of one avocado (Make sure that you use a really ripe avocado! )
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (I used raw)
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Handful of ice
  • Dark Chocolate Bar for shavings
Instructions
  1. In a blender, blend everything together, except the dark chocolate. For a thicker, and very cold smoothie, add a handful of ice as long as your blender can handle it well. If not, make sure you use cold ingredients. Taste test, and add more peppermint extract if needed (or more sweetener).
  2. Once everything is very smooth. Take a bar of dark chocolate, and grate using a fine grater into the shake. How much you put in is your decision, but we put in quite a bit! Give it a quick stir, and then pour into a large cup, and then decorate with a little more chocolate shavings and enjoy!

 

Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough (Grain Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free)

Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough - This grain free, dairy free, egg free cookie dough is so delicious! It only uses five ingredients, and takes 5 minutes to make!  --- The Nourishing Gourmet
This grain free “cookie dough” is chocolatey goodness made with five ingredients and takes five minutes to make! My girls swooned over it. As a nursing mother, I had to try very hard to share. I love that it is protein-rich, only lightly sweetened, and has healthy coconut oil in it as well! If you like eating cookie dough, this recipe is for you.

Larkin, my newborn, is three weeks tomorrow. I am starting to do just small five minute jobs in the kitchen, such as making a pot of rice to go with a freezer meal, throwing sweet potatoes into a crock-pot, making Japanese Cucumber Salad to go with another freezer meal, or making this lovely snack.

I’ve always found that my appetite is huge after having a baby and nursing, and I have been going through snacks like crazy. My husband has been scouting out pre-made things to get for me at the store, but I didn’t want to depend on them too long (they are expensive). So this fit the bill nicely. Let’s just say we have made it more than once already. ;-)

Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough

I used cashew flour from Trader Jo’s that was rather coarsely ground. If you used a finely ground nut flour, such as many of the almond flours out there, I suspect you would need to add more coconut oil to the recipe to adequately moisten it. This recipe is easily adaptable however, so no fear. Simply add melted coconut oil until you get a moist cookie dough like texture. If for some reason the dough was too wet, add a small amount of nut flour.  This is one of the (affiliate link)  Fair Trade cocoa powders I enjoy. 2 servings

  • ½ cup nut or seed flour (I used cashew flour from Trader Jo’s )
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • Dash of unrefined salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (see note above), gently melted on low in a saucepan if solid

Add all of ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined. If not moistened adequately, add more coconut oil. Eat with a spoon, or form into balls. Keep extra in the refrigerator, well covered. The girls informed me they love this best when refrigerated in the form of balls as the coconut oil hardens up and they are like no bake cookies!

Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough (Grain Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free)
 
Author:
 
I used cashew flour from Trader Jo’s that was rather coarsely ground. If you used a finely ground nut flour, such as many of the almond flours out there, I suspect you would need to add more coconut oil to the recipe to adequately moisten it. This recipe is easily adaptable however, so no fear. Simply add melted coconut oil until you get a moist cookie dough like texture. 2 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup nut or seed flour (I used cashew flour from Trader Jo’s )
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • Dash of unrefined salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (see note above), gently melted on low in a saucepan if solid
Instructions
  1. Add all of ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined. If not moistened adequately, add more coconut oil. Eat with a spoon, or form into balls. Keep extra in the refrigerator, well covered. The girls informed me they love this best when refrigerated in the form of balls as the coconut oil hardens up and they are like no bake cookies!

 

Crock-Pot Sweet Potatoes with Maple Cinnamon Butter

Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes with Maple Cinnamon Butter : This easy method for making sweet potatoes it fail proof and produces moist potatoes. Top it with a delicious maple cinnamon butter for an especially great side dish!Friends, as I soak in the newborn days, I am thrilled to bring to you some guest posts from fellow bloggers. One of the topics I suggested was to share some of their favorite slow cooker/Crock-Pot recipes. It really was a rather selfish request because, as a mother of a newborn, I knew I’d be using mine a lot more in upcoming days! And really, these type of recipes work well for anyone!

Today Dena shares one of hers. This easy of easiest ways to make sweet potatoes wins me over at once, but the sweet maple cinnamon butter certainly makes the recipes irresistible! I can’t wait to try it. See other slow cooker recipes here: Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes, Slow Cooker Pot Roast (Cook Once, Eat Thrice), Shawarma Whole Chicken in the Crock-Pot  – Kimi 

By Dena, from Back To The Book Nutrition

Warning: Your life is about to get much easier. I’ve discovered yet another simple favorite that can be made in the Crock Pot: Sweet Potatoes! (Did you know you can also make creamy homemade yogurt in the slow cooker?)

This method can be used with russet or other potatoes as well, though cooking times may vary a bit depending on the type of potato (more time for russets or less time for reds, whites, and golds).

Sweet potatoes are simple enough to bake in the oven, but I hate that they occupy the oven for an entire hour right when I’m usually needing it to cook another part of the dinner (Rosemary and Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin, anyone?).

Well, I’ve got a very simple solution, and it uses far less energy, to boot! Toss your washed spuds into the crock pot with a splash of water a few hours before dinner time, then go about the rest of your afternoon enjoying the warm, sweet aroma of sweet potatoes filling your home.
It’s nice – really nice.

You know what else is really nice? Maple Cinnamon Butter.

It’s a delightfully creamy blend of three of my very favorite ingredients. It’s the perfect finishing touch for these sweet potatoes, but is also great for slathering on toast, stirring into oatmeal or other hot cereals, and adding to your coffee (I don’t drink butter coffee myself but I just don’t see how “maple cinnamon butter coffee” wouldn’t be an improvement on the original!).

Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes with Maple Cinnamon Butter : This easy method for making sweet potatoes it fail proof and produces moist potatoes. Top it with a delicious maple cinnamon butter for an especially great side dish!

 

Crock-Pot Sweet Potatoes with Maple Cinnamon Butter
 
 
Ingredients
  • 6-8 medium sweet potatoes, washed (no need to dry)
Instructions
  1. Place sweet potatoes in Crock Pot. Add ¼ cup water. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5-6 hours.
  2. I like to use a pastry brush to brush a bit of the water from the crock pot on all sides of the potatoes just before serving. If you're planning on keeping the cooked potatoes warm in the slow cooker for a while before serving them, you may want to occasionally open the lid and give them all a good water brushing to keep their skins nice and soft.
  3. Recipe Notes:
  4. I used a newer, 6 quart Crock-Pot for this recipe. I've noticed that it cooks much more quickly than my older, 4½ qt Crock Pot. If you have a smaller, and/or older version, you may need to extend the cooking time a bit.

Maple Cinnamon Butter
 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup pastured butter (I use salted), softened
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp (a few drops) pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together vigorously until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately or chill for a few hours in the fridge if preferred.
  2. Recipe Notes:
  3. This recipe makes just enough for 6-8 sweet potatoes. If you'd like to have extra for other uses (which I highly recommend!), you may want to double the batch. This recipe was adapted from Whole Foods' Maple Cinnamon Butter.

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Dena Norton is a registered dietitian (RD) turned stay at home mom. She and her husband, Rick, have two precious children, ages 5 and 2. She recently released the 2nd edition of her e-book entitled, Nutrition By The Book, and blogs at Back To The Book Nutrition,where she inspires others to enjoy and worship God through nutrition and health. Subscribe to Dena’s blog or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!