This bulgur lentil soup with mint olive oil fulfills the Mediterranean Diet requisites: legumes, grains, herbs, olive oil. Find the best of these ingredients at MaureenAboodMarket.com.
I am pleased with myself if I’m able to work in a component of the Mediterranean diet in every meal or snack of the day. Herbs and spices here, healthy fats there, legumes, grains, you know the drill. After all, this is the healthiest of ways to eat and live.
So when along comes a dish like my Bulgur Lentil Soup with Mint Oil that rolls several of those healthy-delicious factors into one dish, I get a little crazy excited. I start saying things like “I’m making this every week from here on out.” I have a brother (Richard, this is you), who likes to hold me to that kind of thing. He’ll call at dinner time and ask if I’ve made the _____ this week yet?
Often I can say YES, without the whiteness of a lie on my back. There’s weekly roasted chicken (check), sheik al mehsheh (eggplant baked with tomato sauce, check-ish), Mom’s buttercream brownies (every week? Now that’s just plain untrue and I’ll own that. But I could make every week. I’d like to every week, right?).
Back to the soup. It’s just so simple simple simple! And delicious/healthy that many times too.
Red lentils, a very neutral legume that I use in my quinoa salad too. Protein and fiber-rich. Always sort lentils to pick out any tiny little stones or whatnot that can get in there. And rinse.
Bulgur, which is a form of par-cooked wheat. This bulgur is coarse, which means it’s a heaftier granule than fine bulgur. It adds thickness and a satisfying texture wherever it goes (think mujadara). Bulgur can be rinsed before using to remove some of its starch, or added directly.
Herbs in the form of dried mint—one of my favorite spices at MaureenAboodMarket.com. You won’t find Mint Salts anywhere else. When herbs, fresh or dried, enter your cooking, their flavorful nature reduces the need for other less healthy seasonings like salt.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, in the pot and finished with a drizzle on top. The healthy fat replaces the need/desire for butter and adds that fruity/complex flavor we love. I like a robust olive oil to top my soups, so we know it’s really there.
Other than chopping an onion, there’s nothing to do here other than combine ingredients and let them cook. That means you can have this dish on the table within about 30 minutes. Yes please.
Lentil Bulgur Soup with Minted Oil
This vegetarian and vegan soup is tops on the healthy-delicious list for including grains, legumes, herbs and olive oil. The recipe originates with The Washington Post. Serve the soup as a main course with a salad and some garlic toast or pita chips. Also great as a starter or a sustaining lunch mid-day.
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (from about 5 cloves)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups diced tomato (fresh or from a 14-15 oz can)
- 1/2 cup coarse bulgur, #3 grade
- 1/2 cup red lentils, sorted, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 cups water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Several grinds black pepper
For the soup:
In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the onion and salt, cooking until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, cayenne and tomato paste. Cook for about a minute to release the aroma and flavor. Add the diced tomatoes, increase the heat and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the bulgur, lentils, bulgur, broth, water, and bring back to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the lentils and bulgur are cooked through but not mushy. Stir in the lemon juice and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
For the mint oil:
Heat the oil in a small saute pan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook just until aromatic, about 1 minute. Stir in the mint salt and cayenne. Remove from the heat.
Serve the soup with a generous drizzle of mint oil on top.