Slow Cooker Moroccan Lentil and Bean Soup

001_DSC_0310RECIPE #503, DAY #757

THREE STARS

ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Moroccan-Style Lentil and Chickpea Soup” from Robin Robertson’s Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker*

TIMING: About 15 minutes of prep and 8 hours of cooking

DIFFICULTY: Easy

TOOLS: Crockpot/slow cooker, skillet, and ladle, etc.

COOK TYPE: Crockpot/slow cooker, and just a little stovetop

HEALTH: This soup is not only vegetarian, but is chock full of lentils, beans, vegetables, and spices. And that’s pretty much it. I suppose it is not low-sodium, but it also has no added sugar. Pair it with a whole grain, preferably a couscous or Moroccan bread, and you will have a very healthy weeknight dinner waiting for you when you get home from work.

002_DSC_0311EXPERIENCE: I am not in love with this cookbook. However, I still need to put some vegetarian food into the slow cooker from time to time, so I keep using it in hopes that something wonderful will happen. This soup was satisfying for everyone, even if it did have some faults. It was bland and watery (which I attempted to fix for you) and also the beans and lentils were just barely done: they were a little firm for my taste. It might be possible to cook this for 8 hours on medium—if you have that option—as opposed to low.

Otherwise this is an acceptable and affordable soup to throw in the crockpot. Either pick up bread on the way home or cook some couscous when you walk in the door. Either way, this is pretty darn simple in lots of ways.

NOTES: You can definitely serve this without bothering with the harissa. You can make your harissa, or buy it canned or jarred from a specialty store. My issue is never using up the extra, since it just isn’t my favorite condiment. I served it with Asian sambal, instead, for heat, but I would like to try it with the harissa.

You could also add chicken, beef, or lamb to this soup. Use a cut that would stew well and be amenable to a long cook-time. It is uneccesary.

You always want to rinse and pick through your lentils, looking for stones.

***

  1. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 diced onion and 1 diced carrot and cook until onion is translucent.
  2. Meanwhile, to the insert of your slow cooker, add 6 cups vegetable stock, 1 can drained chickpeas, 1 can diced tomatoes, ½ cup brown or green lentils, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 3 pressed garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon cumin, and ½ teaspoon cardamom. Add the onion and carrot and stir.
  3. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low (or medium, see note above).
  4. Either arrive home with bread or prepare couscous according to package directions. Remove lid from the soup to allow it to cool and thicken just a little bit.
  5. Stir in the juice of ½ lemon, a handful of minced cilantro, 1 tablespoon harissa, and plenty of salt. Taste for seasonings and serve with extra harissa or another hot sauce.

***

Serve with Moroccan bread or couscous. That’s really all you need for a simple meal, but I always welcome some preserved lemons.

LEFTOVER IDEAS: This re-warms perfectly fine, in a pan on the stove. I would just add the couscous into the leftovers and store that way. A little squirt of lemon, some salt, and some fresh cilantro would wake the soup back up.

*Recipe changed from the original.

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