This Crushed Lentil Soup is an amazing version of the popular Middle Eastern soup, with surprising hints of spicy and sweet flavors. So healthy and so damn delicious!
There’s an amazing Middle Eastern restaurant in the Detroit area called Pita Cafeâ€. Every time my husband and I get back from a trip, Pita Cafe is the first place we stop on the way back from the airport. I love our little tradition and it’s always something to look forward to when we’re coming back home.
It’s funny because even though I’m not Middle Eastern and did not grow up with this type of food, it still feels like home to me.
Pita Cafe has the most delicious Crushed Lentil Soup, and I’ve finally gotten my recipe to taste pretty close to Pita Cafe’s, although my husband says it’s even better. I’ve literally made this soup dozens of times, testing and retesting it, until it was absolutely perfect.
To make this recipe on the stovetop- in a large stock pot on medium-high heat, add the 2 tablespoons vegetable broth, onions and garlic and cook 3-5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
Add 3 cups vegetable broth, water, red lentils, saffron, coriander, cumin, pepper, salt, and the red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the lentils are no longer firm, 15-18 minutes or so.
Now move the soup mixture to a food processor, which fits perfectly in my 13 quart food processor (don’t fill more than 3/4 of the food processor).
Or, if you don’t have one, you can use a blender. Just be very careful doing this. If you transfer too much of the liquid into the blender, it could explode! And it may be possible I’m speaking from experience…(thus, one of the reasons I bought a big food processor….) =) So, if using a blender, you might need to do it in 2 batches.
After you get it all in the food processor or blender, process or blend until smooth. It won’t take long- just a minute or so. Isn’t it amazing how the red lentils give off such a cool yellow color? Yes, I’m easily amazed.
Add the hot soup back into the stock pot and add the remaining 1 cup broth and the bay leaves. Cook over low heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the bay leaves (if you can find them!) and add the lemon juice. The longer it sits, the more flavorful it gets.
After a few hours, it will thicken up even more. I recommend serving this Crushed Lentil Soup with pita bread and garlic sauce, just as I would at my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant.
Would you prefer making this in the Instant Pot?? See the recipe below, under the stovetop instructions. =)
Crushed Lentil Soup- (on the stove or Instant Pot)Pin Rate
- 2 tablespoons unsalted vegetable broth
- 1 medium sweet onion – finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic – minced
- 4 cups unsalted vegetable broth – divided
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups red split lentils – uncooked
- 1 small pinch saffron
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground sea salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- In a large stock pot on medium-high heat, sauté onion with 2 tablespoons vegetable broth and garlic 3-5 min or until onion is translucent. Add 3 cups broth (save remaining 1 cup broth for later), water, lentils, saffron, coriander, cumin, black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low-medium and bring to simmer. Cover and cook until the lentils are no longer firm (15-18 min).
- Very carefully pour the lentil mixture into a food processor (or blender) and puree until smooth. Depending on how big your food processor/blender is, you may need to do this in batches.
- Put mixture back into the large stock pot and add remaining 1 cup broth and bay leaves; stir. Cook over low heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaves, add lemon juice and stir.
- Once it sits for a few hours, it will soak up most of the liquid and thicken up a lot.