Time: 90 minutes
As far as one pot meals go, Moroccan food rarely disappoints. Every time I cook it, I wonder why I don’t have it more often, this soup in particular. Warming, filling and packed with tasty, tasty goodness, this soup makes a hungry belly happy on a cold winter’s night. As an added bonus it’s healthy and packed with protein and iron.
There are a million and one variations out there on this Moroccan classic, and this is mine, heavier on the chickpeas and with a few more spices, and less tomato and tang because I just prefer it that way. You can make it spicy or not, adjusting the cayenne pepper to personal preference. I like everything extra spicy because I killed my tastebuds with Sri Lankan green chilli sauce, so I add an extra couple of tablespoons of cayenne pepper at the end. If you don’t enjoy breathing fire, start with just the amount in the spice blend, which gives a very, very mild little kick.
If you’re going to have bread with this, go for the garlic variety for supreme yumminess. Afghan garlic bread might be the most delicious accompaniment in the universe.
1 cup dried brown (whole red) lentils, rinsed
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 large brown onions, finely diced
8 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, cut into small cubes
1 cup chopped parsley
100g baby spinach or leafy greens of choice
1 cup pastina, risoni or spaghetti broken up into little pieces
1 litre vegetable stock
1 litre water
1 400g tin diced or crushed tomatoes or 400g tomato passata
5 tsp Moroccan spice blend (recipe follows)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
Moroccan spice blend
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1. Heat a few teaspoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onions and carrot and cook until the onion is clear and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook another minute
2. Add the lentils, water, stock, Moroccan spices, cinnamon and tomatoes and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils sticking. Reduce to a simmer and add the chickpeas and half of the parsley. Cook until the lentils are soft but not falling apart, stirring regularly
3. Add the pasta and bring to a rapid simmer until the pasta is cooked through. Stir through the spinach until wilted. Adjust salt and cayenne pepper and cook another minute
4. Stir through the remaining half of parsley and serve.