Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup and Baked Falafel

If you are like me, you love really delicious food (all the time) but also need to watch calories (insert evil glare at all of you speedy metabolizers out there).  If you find yourself shouting, "Hear, hear!" to the previous statement, then this is the meal for you.  There are like five calories total in the whole thing!  OK, there are more than five, but not many.  Who would think that such a flavorful and hearty dish could actually be nutritious?  Believe me, it is true. 

The soup's texture tricks you into thinking it is creamy (there is none), while also taking your tongue on a journey through the sub-Sahara.  The falafel provides the crunchy complement while taking your taste buds on a voyage through the Mediterranean.  The end result--a global treat!  



As with many of my posts, this soup is extremely versatile to meet you particular palate's needs.  And an extra bonus--the falafel is versatile too!  Who knew?  

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup:
Adapted from this recipe, which was very closely based on the recipe from the February 2012 Food and Wine magazine recipe.

***I am not actually sure about the measurements of the spices--we just dumped.  So, follow the guidance below with caution and taste regularly for your preference.***
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1 white medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, copped finely (we used old and fairly soft ones from our food box--it was a great way to use them and not have to throw them)
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 3 garlic gloves, chopped
  • 2ish teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1-2ish teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon-ish ancho chile powder
  • a little paprika
  • a dash or two of cayenne
  • 2 cans diced no salt added tomatoes
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 8 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Greek yogurt
  • lemon wedges
  1. Melt the butter in a very large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, leeks, and garlic.  Cook until soft.
  3. Add your initial gut feeling about spices--you will revisit them later.  Don't add too much at this time.
  4. Add the tomatoes, lentils, and water.  
  5. Cook for 30 minutes or so until lentils are very soft.
  6. Puree soup with immersion blender.  
  7. Revisit your spices and add whatever you want accordingly.
  8. Garnish with Greek yogurt and lemon wedges.
  9. Serve with baked falafel.
Baked Falafel:
Based on this recipe.
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (15 ounces)
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 15 ounce can garbanzo beans 
  • 3 garlic cloves 
  • 3ish tablespoons fresh parsley, loosely chopped
  • 2-3ish tablespoons fresh cilantro, loosely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • a healthy glug of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 (healthy) teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 (or more) teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Next time I am thinking of adding in a dash of chili powder or paprika (or both)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil.
  2. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. 
  3. In the bowl of your food processor, add the garbanzo beans and the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Pulse until your desired consistency.
  5. Form into small balls or patties.  I found that scooping and plopping with a teaspoon worked just fine and kept my hands clean.  (See my tangent on this topic here.)
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or so until the bottom is browned, then flip and cook for another 15 minutes or so until your desired crispiness.
  7. Serve with the Egyptian Red Lentil Soup.
Pretend you are on a world spice tour!

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