I've been looking at a foot-long zucchini for over a week, wondering what to do with it. I decided to make soup with it yesterday, but I never could quite make up my mind exactly what kind of soup I wanted. Tonight I was determined to cook that zucchini, but I only had an hour or so to cook dinner. That made my choice for me: lentils! I started throwing stuff in till it started to smell really delicious, and then I let it simmer slowly for an hour. All in all, this gets two thumbs up in our house!
This makes about 4 - 6 hearty servings. Now I have a quick dinner for Wednesday night before Vigil for St. Nicholas, too! I'm certain that the pumpkin biscuits won't last that long, but a couple of bowls of soup should remain.
Moroccan Spiced Lentil Soup
1 onion, diced
2 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
5 C water
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 tsp mixed Arabic spices
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp vegetarian broth powder (I like Vogue brand)
1 large carrot, sliced into half moons
1 large stalk celery sliced
1 medium zucchini sliced into half moons (about 8 oz)
1 C picked over and rinsed lentils
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven, then saute the onions and garlic together till translucent. Add in the bay leaf and all the spices and stir fry for a minute, then the veggies, and then the water with the broth powder. Let it simmer together for about an hour, till the lentils are very soft and yummy. Taste and adjust seasonings the way you like them.
The dropped pumpkin biscuits (aren't they cute?????) came from Lindyloo's vegan blog and can be found here. I used a melon baller to drop them onto the prepared baking sheets (aka my 16" pizza pans) which made the cutest little muffins! I baked them for exactly 10 minutes which was perfect, and they really are gone in just two bites! I think the muffins are tasty, but as DD said while stuffing four in her mouth, "Are these supposed to be sweet or savory?" I think that you need to decide this question for yourself. If you want them to be savory, leave out the sweet spices and add maybe a tiny bit of onion powder or sage, or even rosemary would be good. If you want them to be sweet, then double the sweet spices and triple the maple syrup. If you triple the maple syrup, you will probably want to add 1 rounded tablespoon of flour to the dough.
UPDATED ON 12/8/07: I corrected the recipe by specifying the amount of lentils (1 C). I can't believe I left that off when I posted it! Thanks, Snowy, for calling that to my attention!
Snowy was also wondering what sort of lentils will work with this recipe, and I think that any kind will work - you will just have to adjust the cooking time according to the type of lentils you use. I used plain old brown lentils and they were delicious.
The tiny French green lentils de puy would be wonderful in this because they wouldn't turn the soup quite so dark which may make it more visually appealing to some people, and because they retain their shape and a kind of toothsome quality when cooked that I like very, very much. Here in America, the French lentils are a luxury item, and when I can get them, I tend to save them for lentil salads where retaining the shape of the lentils is very important. Click here for my favorite warm lentil and broccoli salad recipe. (Yikes! What a yucky photo!)
If you use red lentils, this soup could probably be made in half an hour rather than an hour, and the pale yellow-orange color would be very pretty. The flavor of the lentils would be less pronounced which would allow the spices to shine, so this might be a good choice for people who don't love lentils.
This amount of soup made 4 large bowls which was enough for one dinner for the two of us, plus one breakfast and three lunch portions. Yes, I sometimes eat leftovers for breakfast.......