Lentils and beans, a staple of the Egyptian diet for centuries, still form a key part in many traditional Nile-side dishes. There’s koushari, a dish made with pasta, rice, lentils, and chickpeas; ful medames, stewed fava beans often eaten with bread for breakfast; and endless varieties of soups and salads. One of the simplest ways to enjoy lentils is in a long-served golden soup that represents a delightful fiber-rich meal in a bowl, Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup. On a grey, blustery day when your mood may match the weather, the sunny color alone is warming, and the spices complete the job.
In our version, we’ve replaced the beef stock with chicken or vegetable broth and added turmeric to give additional color, flavor and health benefits to the soup. Turmeric has been identified as potentially powerful in cancer prevention, a spice used both as medicine and food for many centuries and in many countries. The tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, and the carrot, like other orange fruits and vegetables, is high in beta-carotene.
The soup tastes great the first day and even better the second. If you’re trying to maintain or gain weight or trying to add extra fiber or heft in your diet, serve the soup on top of quinoa or brown rice. It also goes great with basmati rice — feel free to add raisins, pine nuts and a pinch of saffron for a bit of extra flavor and color in the rice.
Follow this soup with a cup of strong mint tea, sweetened with honey if desired, for a meal that is warming and soothing from start to finish.