Caramelized onions and warming Middle Eastern spices take this creamy lentil soup from ordinary, to seriously over-the-top packed with flavor! This cozy soup is the cure to your winter blues.
A few weekends ago my husband and I went on a double date with my brother and sister-in-law. The venue was a Middle Eastern place and I got to try out a bunch of new things, which is awesome, because that means I later took to the kitchen in an effort to cook up my own versions of all those new things.
This soup was the first dish to come out of that experience. My sister-in-law ordered lentil soup at our dinner, and there was so much food that I only had a taste, but man it was good! And unlike any lentil soup I'd ever had before. This soup was creamy and packed with intensely flavorful, super warming Middle Eastern spices.
I didn't get a chance to ask the staff about what was on the soup (I always try!), but it tasted a heck of a lot like mujadara, so I seasoned my version up similarly when I went to recreate it. And it was a success! This stuff tasted just like the soup from the restaurant, and it was perfect for a cold day. Since our cold days left for the year are numbered, I'm sharing it now!
Just like my mujadara, this soup starts with some caramelized onions. Caramelizing onions takes a bit of time, but it's so worth it!
Then the spices get added and briefly toasted, followed by the broth, lentils and carrots,for a touch of sweetness. It simmers away until everything is nice and soft.
From there you blend it up until it's smooth and creamy. And that's it! It's super flavorful and I promise it'll pick you up on a cold day.
Tips for Making Spiced Creamy Lentil Soup!
- It's so tempting when caramelizing the onions to crank up the heat, but don't do it! Slow cooking them is what brings out their sweetness.
- If you're pressed for time, you can make the caramelized onions in advance. I like to make a big batch and freeze a bunch so I've got them on hand whenever I need them.
- This soup is delicious even if you don't blend it, so try skipping that step for a chunky lentil soup if you like!
Warming Spiced Creamy Lentil Soup
Caramelized onions and Middle Eastern spices take this creamy lentil soup from ordinary, to seriously over-the-top packed with flavor! This cozy soup is the cure to your winter blues.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound yellow onions, sliced into strips
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Pinch ground cloves
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 ¾ cups dried brown lentils
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place the onions and olive oil into a large pot and set over medium-low heat. Toss the onions a few times to coat with olive oil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until the onions are soft and caramelized.
Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and cloves to the pot and raise the heat to medium. Sauté for about 1 minute, until the garlic and spices are very fragrant.
Add the broth, lentils, and carrot to the pot. Raise the heat to high and bring the liquid to a simmer. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 50 minutes, until the lentils and carrot are very tender.
Remove the pot from heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth and creamy. Alternatively, you can transfer it to a blender or food processor in batches, then return it to the pot. Thin it with some additional broth or water if you like.
Reheat the soup if needed, then season with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and serve.