Earthy lentils are flavored with berbere - a warm, spicy Ethiopian seasoning blend - and topped with tangy greek yogurt in this Ethiopian-spiced lentil soup.
Kind of random question: What are your thoughts on celebrity autobiographies?
I tend to really like them...most of the time it ends up giving me more of an appreciation for the person after I get a deeper understanding of their journey to get where they are now.
I recently read Marcus Samuelsson's autobiography, Yes, Chef, and I was totally enthralled with how he described the Ethiopian spice blend berbere (pronounced BEAR-beret, like a bear in a beret!). I love Ethiopian food so I've definitely had the spice blend before, but I hadn't yet cooked with it myself. And I had a jar sitting in my spice drawer!
I found this berbere seasoning a few months ago at one of the grocery stores I shop at often. I bought it even though I didn't really have a plan or recipe in mind because it was the first time I had seen it in a store and I was excited about it!
Despite having it in my spice drawer for a while I had yet to actually use it. Marcus Samuelsson's vivid descriptions of the spices and how integral it is in Ethiopian cooking was just the push I needed to get it out and cook with it.
I had also recently tried a lentil soup recipe that I thought was pretty good, but definitely could have benefitted from a little more spice. Enter: berbere. Boom.
Adding the spice blend (plus a few more tweaks) really took it to the next level of delicious.
Berbere & lentils are a natural pairing in this Ethiopian-spiced lentil soup. Many Ethiopian dishes are a thick stew and lentils are a very common ingredient. The berbere seasoning blend is so fragrant & warm and adds such an awesome punch of spice and flavor.
The dollop of greek yogurt is a real game changer too. It adds a little bit of creamy, tangy richness and is a great cooling counterpart to the spiciness of the soup. And the little hit of fresh lemon juice adds just the right brightness & acidity.
This soup comes together pretty quickly, and is a great healthy meal full of protein and fiber. Serve it with some naan or perfect pillowy pita bread for dipping, or just scoop it up with a spoon.
Yummy noises await you!
Earthy lentils are flavored with berbere - a warm, spicy Ethiopian seasoning blend - and topped with tangy greek yogurt in this spicy, satisfying soup.
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp berbere*
- 4 cups (32 oz) vegetable broth
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 fresh jalapeño, finely diced (remove ribs & seeds for less heat)
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tsp Kosher salt, more or less to taste
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- about 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- fresh parsley or cilantro, for garnish
- naan or pita bread, for serving (if desired, skip to keep it gluten free)
In a large pot, heat oil over medium high. Add onion and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and berbere and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vegetable broth, water, lentils, tomatoes, jalapeño, ginger and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 25-30 min.
Puree part of the soup to your desired consistency: Use an immersion blender (about 5 pulses) OR carefully ladle some of the soup (about 1-2 cups) into a blender, take out the plastic insert in the cap and cover it with a towel, blend, and return it to the soup pot. I like the base to be creamy but still keep a good amount of whole lentils. Add lemon juice and more salt to taste (I added 1/2 tsp more but the amount needed could vary depending on the saltiness level of your broth/berbere).
Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with a dollop of greek yogurt & a sprinkle of parsley/cilantro. Enjoy!
*Berbere is a traditional Ethiopian spice blend made primarily of chiles, garlic, coriander, fenugreek as well as a few warm spices like cinnamon and cloves. I use Frontier Co-op Organic Berbere Seasoning, which I found at my grocery store and is also available on Amazon. FYI - Berbere can vary in spice level, so keep that in mind if you're sensitive to spicy foods.
Use regular brown lentils for this recipe. Sometimes they actually look a little more green than brown, but they are generally very readily available and just labeled "lentils."
Adapted from Food Network's Spicy Lentil Soup
Very very interesting. I love lentils but have never heard of this spice! Looking forward to making it. Thanks.
I really like the spice blend, I’m looking forward to trying it on more things!
This I will make for sure!! It sounds so delicious!
Yay, hope you love it!
Looks and sounds delicious!
Beautiful pics, as always, Rachel!
Can’t wait to try it.
Hug that little fur ball for me!
Thank you! I will! 😊
Rachael, this soup was fun to make and delicious, and added bonus- our house smells amazing!! Thanks for the awesome recipe!
Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! 😊
Just a follow up, I have made this soup now, at least 4 times!!!! It is so very delicious!!!! With cooler weather on the way, a perfect dinner to warm your tummy! So yummy!
I've been wanting to make an Ethiopian dish. This looks great and the photography does too!