Winter Cooking: OUTRAGEOUS Red Lentil Soup

Inspired by an article on Egyptian food in this month’s Food & Wine magazine, and by the fortuitous discovery of a bag of red lentils in my pantry, I made this OUTRAGEOUS lentil soup in my slow cooker.  Forgive the all caps, but my house has smelled so wonderful all day.  I can hardly wait for my husband to get home so we can eat dinner!!!

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup (photo from Food & Wine magazine)

Mise en place:

  • 1 lb dried red lentils (soak overnight in cold water, or use the hot soak method – boil for 2 minutes, then soak for an hour in the boiling liquid).
  • 4-5 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 4-5 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 t minced garlic (ugh!  my brand new jar of garlic was bad, so I had to toss it and resort to garlic powder….)
  • 1 t smoked Spanish paprika
  • 2 t chile powder
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 carton broth – vegetable, chicken or beef (I used Wegman’s beef broth, because that’s what I had on hand)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used Hunt’s Fire Roasted tomatoes; they complement the dish nicely!)


  • 2 T soup base
  • 2 T Moroccan Harissa or hot sauce

Soffritto:  Saute the vegetables in olive oil until slightly tender; add the garlic and saute one minute more.  Drain the lentils; add to pot.  Add broth and seasonings.  Stir and bring to boil.  Transfer to slow cooker.

Cook:  In slow cooker, on high, for 3 hours.  Remove from heat; puree lightly with a stick blender.  At this point the soup tasted a bit bland to me, so I added the soup base and harissa.  Now, it’s OUTRAGEOUS!


3 responses to “Winter Cooking: OUTRAGEOUS Red Lentil Soup

  1. This soup sounds delicious and OUTRAGEOUS – thanks for sharing the recipe, can’t wait to give it a try! Just one question, hate to seem like an idiot, but what is soup base?

  2. Hi Melissa, thanks so much for your note. Soup base is a condensed paste form of bouillon that comes in a jar. I like the “Better than Bouillon” brand, especially the reduced sodium varieties. Very handy to doctor up the soup if it does not seem robust enough. See:

    Harissa is a wonderful spice paste which you can get in Middle Eastern grocery stories. Here in South Jersey, I buy it at Norma’s Restaurant on Route 70, but you can also buy it online at Crate and Barrel:

    Thanks again and best regards from Lise

    • Thanks Lise! I’ve never used soup base and will definitely get some to keep on hand. I have used Harissa, picked some up last time I was in Seattle – hoping I can find more here in Charleston, although our options are somewhat limited compared to some of the larger cities. Thank goodness for the internet! Just found a great recipe for foccacia, going to make it to go with your lentil soup tonight – yum 🙂

      Love your blog – looking forward to following along!

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