Sunday, November 26, 2017

Creamy Middle Eastern-Spiced Red Lentil Soup with Israeli Couscous & Harissa-Mint Yogurt for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

I have been fighting off the 'yucks' the last few days--headache, a mild sore throat and some aches, mainly. It's like it's just on the verge and doesn't know if it wants to develop or not, but it definitely has left me feeling blah and mostly burrowed into the couch with tea and a blanket. I wanted a low-effort soup today, one that offered comfort and enough flavor that I could actually taste it.

I settled on a red lentil soup with some Moroccan flavors--ras el hanout, cumin, turmeric, garlic and ginger. As I went back and forth from the couch to the kitchen, other ingredients made their way into it--tomatoes, coconut milk and lemon and the last half of a package of Israeli couscous--always fun to eat. I thought of topping it with yogurt and remembered how much I liked the flavors in this Harissa-Mint Bagel Shmear so I mixed them into Greek yogurt. In the end it all came together into a delicious bowl of soup as the best "toss it all together" recipes do.

Creamy Middle Eastern-Spiced Red Lentil Soup with Israeli Couscous & Harissa-Mint Yogurt 
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 6 Servings)

2 Tbsp coconut oil
6 shallots, peeled and diced (or 1 large onion)
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1-inch piece  ginger, peeled and crushed/grated
2 tsp ras el hanout (or curry of choice)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper (or chili pepper of choice)
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup red lentils, picked through, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
6 cups vegetable-based stock of choice (I used not-chicken broth paste)
1 cup dried Israeli couscous or rice, or grain of choice
1 (15 oz) can coconut milk
lemon juice to taste
sea salt and black pepper to taste 
Harissa-Mint Yogurt (recipe below) and fried onions to garnish, if desired

Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed soup pot and sauté the onion and carrot until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and all of the spices and cook for another minute or two. Add the lentils, tomatoes, and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce soup to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.  

Add Israeli couscous and cook for another 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in coconut milk, heating until warmed through--about 5 minutes. The soup will be somewhat thick, if you prefer a thinner consistency, add more stock or water as necessary. Season to taste with fresh lemon juice salt and pepper.

Serve topped with Harissa-Mint Yogurt and crispy fried onions (I like the garlic & black pepper ones) and enjoy! I served it with fresh sourdough bread bu any Middle Eastern flatbread would be nice too. 


Harissa-Mint Yogurt
Inspired by The Kitchn
(Makes 1 Cup)

8 oz Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp Harissa paste, or to taste
zest of a lemon + 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
sea salt

In a small bowl, gently stir harissa paste, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mint into the yogurt until thoroughly mixed in. Taste and season with sea salt to taste. 

Allow to chill and flavors to set for an hour or so in fridge before serving.  

Notes/Results: This soup hit the spot--full of flavor and warm spices and very creamy from the lentils and the coconut milk, with the lemon juice brightening things up nicely.  The soup itself has a mild heat, which intensifies when the Harissa-Mint Yogurt is stirred in. If you don't have ras el hanout, you could use any curry powder of choice and the same with the Israeli couscous, you could sub in rice, a grain, or any other pasta shape of choice. I was very happy with how it turned out and would happily make it again.

We have some good friends and tasty dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look at what got linked up this week!

Debra of Eliot's Eats joins us with Massaged Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Cranberry Relish from her "Moveable Thanksgiving Feast" and said, "At the last minute, I decided we needed some more greens so I made a version of my massaged kale salad.  For some color, I threw some pomegranate seeds on top. ... I really like a tart relish, but this next recipe can be adapted to your family’s tastes. The original recipe called for sugar. I used honey and a tangerine. These simple ingredients made the best relish ever. Truly. As I was testing for tartness, I found myself eating it out of the food processor by the spoonful."

Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen shared Estonian Beetroot and Potato Salad and said, "Estonian Beetroot and Potato Salad is known as Rosolje. Obviously it has beetroot and potatoes, but it also has pickled gherkins, red onion, slithers of eating apple and for flavour soured cream, of course those of you who are vegan can substitute this with a vegan alternative, mustard and seasoning to taste."

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shares a Grilled Crab Cake Sandwich she recently enjoyed and said, "Craving: Crab cakes and grits. I could make this, it just requires planning. My husband makes excellent cheese grits and I usually fry crab cakes for a dinner but grilling them may be an option next time. This beauty of a sandwich was had at Boss Oyster in Apalachicola. Florida."

Finally here at Kahakai Kitchen, I tried Ina Garten's Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter, paired with a book review for Cook the Books. It was amazing--beautiful on the plate and the (in my case marinated and pan-seared instead of roasted) salmon was perfectly moist and delicious. 
Mahalo to everyone who joined me at Souper Sundays this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on the post you link up to be included.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Do like the look of your creamy middle eastern soup, but its your garnishes that get me excited too. Thanks for hosting SSS - I hope to join in again this week.

  2. I get the best ideas from you. Loving lentils and this is another great delivery method! I am working on a butternut soup for you this week.

  3. I just linked up. I need to work on presentation with my photos! You photos are always so pretty with napkins and lovely bowls.


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