If you have ever found yourself shivering in the winter, craving a hot bowl of comfort, preferably vegan, then you probably should try the famous Moroccan Lentils.
They are the best thing that ever happened to lentils. Period.
Moroccan Lentil Soup
Lentil soup is one of the most popular dishes in Morocco. Due to its simplicity, affordability and deliciousness it is enjoyed by both poor and rich folks. I remember that my mom used to make lentils for us during the winter, once a week, and I was always excited for a hearty bowl of lentil stew.
The reason why I love lentils so much has something to do with the delicate balance of flavors it always seems to strike. It’s so delicious!
The flavor is somewhere between a chili and a pasta sauce. In a sense where it’s savory, comforting with a perfect hint of sweetness to bring it all together. It’s truly fantastic.
That is why today I’m going to show you exactly how to make Moroccan lentils.
The good news is, Moroccan lentils can and should be made in a pressure cooker, or Instant Pot. It only takes 30-40 minutes to get ready, and costs next to nothing to make.
Here are the main ingredients
Green Lentils: the heart and soul of this dish. They are packed with healthy nutrients and unlike red lentils, green lentils are tender once they are ready but they do not break apart. Use dried green lentils and avoid canned lentils at all cost.
Red Onions: are sweeter and more flavorful than white onions. Red onions are essentially the flavor base of your lentil soup.
Tomatoes: I love using passata, but you can also use diced tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, even tomato paste. This is the ingredient that adds sweetness and balance to your dish.
Coriander: I used coriander as both a flavor base and a topping as it adds a lot freshness to the stew and makes it a lot more enjoyable.
Optional: for an extra boost in flavor, I recommend using either chicken broth of vegetable broth instead of water.
The Moroccan Spices
Sweet Paprika: I like to use Hungarian paprika, or Spanish, but most of the time I use the Paprika that my mom sends me from Morocco. Try to find the freshest brightest and sweetest paprika you can find. It makes all the difference in this dish.
Ground Cumin: this is another spice I like to get from Morocco. However, if you want high quality cumin, then buy it in seed, lightly toast it in a pan and grind it.
Optional: Turmeric, red pepper flakes.
I don’t recommend using spice blends such as, curry powder, garam masala as they will over power the delicate flavors of this dish.
Step by Step Instructions
- Warm up a couple tablespoons of olive oil in your instant pot, or other pressure cooker.
- Add your onions, chopped coriander and cook for 5-7 minutes or until onions become translucent.
- If you are using broth (or 2 1/2 cups of water), now is the time to add it, along with passata, green lentils, salt and pepper. Let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
- Close your instant pot and cook for 30 minutes in high pressure.
- Once the 30 minutes expire, carefully open your Instant Pot according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add a little bit of water if needed, otherwise, serve and enjoy!
Can I make this if I don’t have a pressure cooker? Absolutely. You can make this in a regular pot, you’re just going to have to cook your lentils for longer (1h30) and use a lot more water to avoid burning. You can also use a slow cooker, and slowly cook your lentils over 4-5 hours.
Do I need to blend this soup? No, this is meant to be chunky. So leave your immersion blender aside you do not need it.
Which toppings can I use with this soup? I like using chopped coriander, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Hot sauce also works.
I hope you will love this recipe as much as I do.
Moroccan Lentil Soup
This is one of my all-time favourite Moroccan recipes. It's easy, vegan and loaded with minerals and protein. Enjoy!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 2.5 cups dry green lentils
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup passata
- 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander
Spices & Seasoning
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp of salt or to taste
Start by roughly chopping your onions. Warm up a pressure cooker on medium-high heat, add oil and chopped onions. Cook until onions become translucent.
Add lentils, water, passata and spices. Close your pressure cooker, make sure the steam nozzle is turned off, and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. We use the bean/chili feature on our Instant Pot.
Carefully let the steam out of your pressure cooker according to the manufacturers instructions. ***Remove the lid add another 2 cups of water and stir.*** Lower the heat and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, bread and some fresh herbs of your choice. Enjoy!