Lebanese Spinach and Lentil Soup
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 10 to 12
  • 3 tablespoons regular olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups red or brown lentils, picked-over and rinsed
  • 10 cups water (see note below)
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, washed (about 2 cups)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Laban or full-fat Greek-style yogurt (see note below)
  1. In large stainless steel pot, sauté the onions in the olive oil (or organic coconut oil) over medium-high heat until they start to soften. About 3 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and continue to cook until they start to caramelize, about another 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the garlic from burning.
  3. Add the cumin and cayenne, and stir to mix in well.
  4. Add lentils and water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
  5. Once the soups starts to boil, reduce heat to medium or medium-low and allow to simmer until lentils are soft. About 30 minutes.
  6. Add mint, and the add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. If you want a creamier soup, you can mash some of the lentils against the side of the pot with a large stainless steel spoon once they are softened. Stir well.
  8. Once the lentils have attained their desired softness and you are ready to serve, add the spinach. You can chop the spinach, if desired, but it is not necessary. I prefer to add the leaves whole. Spinach shrinks when it is cooked, so chopping isn't really necessary.
  9. Add the lemon zest and juice. Taste and tweak with salt and pepper.
  10. Serve in bowls and garnish with dollop of laban or Greek-style yogurt (see note below)
Use Water Instead of Stock
Normally, when making soups, I advocate using stocks instead of water (usually chicken stock). However, I am amazed at how much flavor these little lentils pack. I prefer to use plain water when making soups with beans. This goes for White Beans and Rice and Red Beans and Rice too.

Laban or Labneh:
Tart and creamy, Laban, or labneh, goes really well with this dish. Laban is a very thick Lebanese yogurt. We mix it in a bowl with some lemon juice and add a dash of salt… all to taste, of course. It’s a perfect for this soup. If you can't find the Lebanese version of the yogurt, then full-fat Greek-style yogurt will suffice.
Recipe by The Catholic Foodie at https://catholicfoodie.com/lebanese-spinach-and-lentil-soup