Rice and lentils have been paired together for millennia. We’ve put them together again to make this easy, hearty Brown Lentil & Rice Soup not only delicious but also nutritious, providing complete protein. Brown lentils can be found in most health-food stores. They cook quickly and hold their shape better than the soft green ones. If you can’t find them, use the green variety; the taste won’t suffer. Enjoy this soup with a crunchy green salad with a miso dressing.
1. Pick through the lentils and wash them well. Wash the rice. Set aside.
2. In a heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When it starts to ripple, add the sliced garlic and cook until it starts to turn golden. Remove the garlic.
3. Add the onions and carrots to the oil, along with the savory and cumin. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables start to soften. Add the bay leaf, sprinkle with a little salt and turn the heat down to medium-low. Partially cover and sweat the vegetables until they caramelize a little, about 10 minutes. Take care not to burn them!
4. Add the lentils to the vegetables. Turn the heat up to high and cook, stirring, for 1 minute so the lentils can absorb the flavors. Add the rice and stir to mix, then add the stock or water. Bring to a boil and remove any scum that forms with a slotted spoon.
5. Turn the heat down to a simmer, add the whole garlic, lay the parsley sprigs on top of the soup, and cover. Cook until both the rice and lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Add a little water if the lentils seem too dry. Remove the parley sprigs and check for salt. Sprinkle with a grind or two of black pepper and serve.
- 2 cups brown lentils
- ½ cup basmati or other long-grain brown rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, plus 2 whole cloves, peeled
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 4 large or 6 medium carrots, cut into small dice
- 1 sprig thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 cups water
- 3 sprigs of parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste