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Lentil Soup with Middle Eastern Flavors and Meyer Lemons


This Hearty Vegetarian Lentil Soup with Zesty Flavors Will Awaken Your Tastebuds!

My new favorite winter soup with zesty flavors

This hearty, aromatic Vegetarian and Vegan Lentil Soup is a must for those looking for a bowl of healthy comfort-food. 
I have eaten this soup three days in a row for lunch, and enjoy a warming sensation with a blast of sunny – in season meyer lemons. A filling , nutritionally balanced soup that can be a centerpiece of a winter dinner as well – team with some warm and crispy bread and a mixed salad.
Packed with vegetables and a generous dose of fragrant Middle Eastern spices – it will rejuvenate your winter blues! 
Warm and glowing seasonings take the average, bland lentil soup – and create a depth of flavor. Savory and slightly sweet – the Middle Eastern spice blend, Baharat, combines a wonderful pungent blend of pepper, paprika, ground cloves, cumin, cinnamon,  ginger, cardamom, coriander and chiles. 
Start the soup with a quick sauté of onion and garlic then add diced butternut squash, carrots and leeks to compliment the lentils and add extra dietary fiber and color. Toss in the spices, and the aroma will waft through the kitchen. Once you add the lentils, pears (for natural sweetness) and vegetable broth,  the soup will be done, after it comes to a simmer, in 20 minutes. 
Meyer lemons are in season right now in winter (and through April), a wonderful, less acidic, somewhat sweet citrus fruit. A good squeeze is welcome in the soup – adds a zesty,  radiant touch and allows you to use less salt. I top the soup with a simple and quick raw gremolata, which amplifies the lemon tones and adds a a blast of herbal-green goodness.
Lentils are a nutritional all-star, and may be the oldest cultivated legume in history. I absolutely love their neutral flavor and texture as they allow a cook to add their favorite accompaniments. The list of health benefits of these lens-shaped seeds is long and impressive, as they contain the highest amount of protein originating from any plant. Virtually fat-free, a good source of fiber, vitamin B and iron – lentils are an inexpensive staple we should be eating more of.

Soups are great for people with busy schedules. They take little preparation time and can be made in large batches, frozen,  and heated up on another day when you have little time but still want to enjoy a homemade soup.

KarenIngredients for the soup

After the vegetables sauté, the red lentils and pears are added to the pot

This Lentil Soup will hasten the winter-blues

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