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A Year of Slow Cooking

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Moroccan Lentil Soup CrockPot Recipe

Day 262.

I found this lentil soup recipe earlier in the year, and bookmarked it to try. Yesterday I woke to a foggy sky, wet grass, and I contemplated turning on the heater. Soup season has officially begun.

I got the funniest email back in July from Kathy, who wanted me to cook with lentils. She forwarded this great article from the Seattle Times about how healthy and packed-full of protein lentils are. They're cheap, too.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I have never cooked or even bought lentils before the other day. When I emailed Kathy about not even knowing where to find them in the grocery store, she wrote back:

Stephanie…MUST I come THERE and accompany you to the grocery store?? :-) (How I would LOVE that! Any excuse to escape up-coming move.) You should be able to find “some” lentils on the same shelf as rice – look to the BOTTOM shelf, of course, as they are not particularly popular in this country. As the writer of the article I sent you clarifies, different types of lentils equal different flavors and textures, so you must experiment. Also, you might try the soup aisle, but, if you’re in a HURRY, ASK the sales clerk!

Kathy is a smart lady. The dude at Whole Foods brought me right to the display. I chose the green ones.

The Ingredients.

--1 cup dried lentils
--1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
--1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
--1 onion, chopped
--2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
--1/2 cup chopped celery
--1/2 cup chopped carrots
--28 oz can of diced tomatoes (and juice)
--4 cups vegetable broth
--1 1/2 tsp garam masala
--1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
--1/2 tsp cumin
--1/4 tsp nutmeg
--1/4 tsp cinnamon
--1 inch ginger, peeled and grated

The Directions.

Use at least a 5 quart crockpot for this. It makes a lot.

Chop up all of your vegetables and add them to the crockpot. If you are rushed in the morning, consider chopping the vegetables at night---it took me longer than I wanted it to. Drain and rinse off the beans, add to the pot. Add the dried lentils. Grate your ginger, and add it along with the dried spices. Stir in the vegetable broth and tomatoes.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Soup tastes best the longer you cook it, and it is even better the next day.

Before serving, use an immersible blender and pulse to blend some of the vegetables and beans together. This isn't necessary, but it really improves the texture of the soup and melds the flavors nicely.

The Verdict.

Adam and I really liked this a lot and are excited to have a bunch left for lunches throughout the week. This makes a lot of food, but I've learned through this year that many times soups, stews, and chili dishes taste better the next day than they do on cooking day.

The kids were not interested. They're kind of done with the crockpot.
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Theresa in Mèrida said...

Hey I have all this stuff in my pantry! Great! We do lentils alot. One of the traditional foods available in the cocina economicas is potage de lentajes, I cannot remember which is the traditional day. It is perfect for the crock pot.
Also dal is lentils, I have a couple of dal recipes on my blog.

Sara said...

This looks great. I have some lentils leftover from making lentil-veggie burgers and have been trying to find a good recipe to use them in. I think I found it. How do you think this would freeze? Since it makes so much, it'd be nice to freeze some for later.

Heather B said...

Thank you thank you for this recipe. We are trying to eat more lentils, since they are super healthy, but my first attempt at lentil stew was pretty blah. This sounds great! And a special thank you for this have rekindled my love of the crockpot!

Robyn said...

I am always excited when I read one of your recipes and realize I have EVERY SINGLE ingredient on hand.

Well, except for the lentils -- but now at least I know where to find them!

Debbi said...

So what is the garam marsala all about? I've never used it. Is it completely necessary and what kind of flavor does it give? This looks excellent. I've been cooking with beans a lot more but haven't made a bean soup yet.

Veronica said...

How funny! My kids only lasted a week with "crockpot" meals. Can only imagine how your kids feel! I have a great recipe using Lentils, spinach and Italian Sausage! Very tasty!!!! Have to try making it in the "pot!" I'll share. Maybe your kids will like it. Can't really "see" the spinach or even taste it! Italian sausage covers it well!!!!

Crockpot Lady said...

Theresa, thank you for the link!

Sara, it will freeze quite well---no milk or cream or anything to separate.

Heather, we're going to use more lentils now, too. They are much easier to use than beans. No soaking required!

Robyn, yay!

Debbi, Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend. Since this is supposed to be a Moroccan-inspired dish, many people on the All Recipes link didn't like that Garam Masala. I threw it in because we had it in the spice pantry. I don't think it's necessary, and not worth a trip out if you don't have it. You can add more of the other spices to taste before serving.

Veronica, your lentil dish sounds wonderful!

SmrfChic said...

How eerie is this - I made lentil soup yesterday too! I went with an italian version though. After a lot of trial and error, trying to recreate the lentil soup I love from our favorite italian restaurant, I ended up making a few modifications to Giada de Laurentis' recipe, and it rocks! Just go to and search for Lentil Soup. Giada's should be the 2nd one down. My modifications are: 1) start with a half pound of bacon, diced, and fry it up in the bottom of your soup pot. Add the veggies to this, instead of starting with the olive oil. 2) At the end, before you add the pasta, puree about half of the soup in the blender and add it back in. Once you've added the pasta, make sure to stire it frequently or the bottom WILL burn. Now, I've never made this in the crockpot and don't know how it would translate... but we love it like this, and there are always tons of leftovers!

I do have one question... ages ago, I had a recipe for a crockpot chicken enchilada lasagna, that included some cream soup and sour cream, and haven't been able to find the recipe for eons. Have you come across anything like this that you could point me towards? It's been a lingering craving for a while that I would love to satisfy!

Crockpot Lady said...

SmrfChic, the Giada recipe sounds great---I'll look for it. Is this the chicken enchilada casserole recipe, or similar?

it sounds fantastic.


heartfull said...

Your comments about the kids being over the crock pot crack me up. I love reading your entries but every time I'm left thinking about how John and I would be the only ones eating that night...

We are having our standby crockpot recipe tonight - Pot Roast using Lipton Onion Soup Mix, Carrots Mushrooms and Onions. Can't beat it.

What I like about my recipe is, just before serving I remove the roast and veggies and pour the juices in a big pot, bring them to a boil with about 1 cup of water added, and throw in a bag of egg noodles. They cook up fairly quickly, soaking up the juices and are yummy. My kids love this dinner.

Crockpot Lady said...

grr. I didn't do the link right. try this: chicken enchilada casserole

Sandi said...

Okay, I made lentils yesterday, too. I made a Greek version.

I'm loving your blog -- made the Thai chicken the other day -- it was soooo good.

If your kids are done with the crockpot, it's going to be a looong 3 months! :)

Anonymous said...

I have a question totally unrelated to today's entry (love the blog btw).
I made chicken soup/stew with dumplings yesterday and my dumplings weren't very good. Other than the dumplings, I was pretty much just winging it.

Basically, I put a bunch of boneless skinless chicken thighs in the crockpot with some water, powdered chicken bullion, a bay leaf and some fresh baby carrots.
Used auto shift so it went from high to low and cooked a total of about 3 hours.
I took out the chicken thighs, threw in some frozen veggies, turned the crockpot back to high, and diced the chicken. I put the chicken back in, covered and waited for it to get as close to a simmer as you can get with a crockpot (maybe 30-45 minutes?).

Then I made dumplings using an old betty crocker recipe. The BC cookbook is from the 1970's and calls for flour, baking soda, salt, shortening, parsley and milk. I spooned the dumplings on top of the soup and covered and cooked for about 20 minutes covered. I've made the dumplings before on a stovetop beef stew recipe. The stew was really thick, but did border on soupy. My BC recipe says to put the dumplings on top of a bubbling stew and not to put it in the liquid. (A rule I broke before with no real consequences). It also says that if you want the dumplings cooked thicker to cover and cook for 10 minutes (which I hadn't done before). I thought covering and cooking would work in the crockpot as long as I cooked a little longer. Not so much.
The soup tasted FANTASTIC (especially with some maggi at the table), but the dumplings were bleech. I liked that the flour sort of thickened up the soup a bit, but the dumplings themselves had a gluey texture.

Have you tried a dumpling recipe before? I didn't see anything in your list of recipes, but maybe you called it something else? Thanks, Kim

Stephanie said...

That looks really good! We used to never buy lentils, but when we got WIC, we started having to buy a pound of dried beans every month. Lentils were bound to come up sometime. Now we love them. I'm excited to try this new recipe!

Susan said...

Can't wait to try this. I've just started cooking in my crockpot and use your site every week. This is next in line for the CP.

Sara said...

They're done with the Crock Pot? Uh oh.

Risha said...

Hmmm...I have almost everything I need to cook this, and it sounds yummy. I love soups, too! I cook with lentils quite often, as well. Although, I would have a hard time knowing where to look for garam masala in my supermarket. I've never even heard of it!

creole said...

I came up with an excellent Lentil / Orzo Salad that my family loves! Here's the recipe:

Lentil / Orzo Salad
1 cup lentils
1 cup orzo
1 small container crumbled feta cheese
3-4 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup cucumber, finely diced
1 cup chopped fresh herbs (we use parsley and basil)
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

• Prepare lentils and orzo as directed on package, drain and pour into a large bowl.
• While still hot, stir in remaining ingredients.
• Add 1/4 cup oil and vinegar to start, taste and decide whether it needs the second 1/4 cup.
• Refrigerate and serve cold.

Karen said...

You can also find precooked Trader Joe's Steamed Lentils in the refrigerated section. I eat them cold with vinaigrette & chopped veggies for a quick & nutritious light meal.

Gabe & Heidi said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog, it is a gold mine of ideas and a great read to boot! This sounds like another winner recipe, will try it for sure.

Maybe to interest the girls again you could make something with velveeta? You mentioned they were super excited to have a brick of it in the house, which really cracked me up! I was raised by hippie-type parents who never brought anything like that into the house, my brother and I would have been ESTATIC to see velveeta too :)

marigold said...

Hey Stephanie, your instructions never say when, exactly, to put in the lentils (unless they are one of the "vegetables" or one of the "beans"). Glad you clarified that you don't need to soak the lentils, too. So, you basically just throw in all ingredients? Sweet.

We're making a roast for tonight with cream of soup, onion soup mix and some pepsi. We'll see!

Karen said...

This is definitely going into my make sure you make this file. I do a lot of oldest son just went through cancer treatment for oral cancer and I have been making tons of creamy soups for him. When he can chew and swallow chunky stuff again he will love this.

Crockpot Lady said...

marigold, thank you for pointing that out! I've fixed the directions, and yup--add it in when you add the beans.

Carol Beth said...

You are practically TAKING OVER my Delicious page. Thanks for another exciting recipe.

mormonhermitmom said...

My kids dread anything coming out of the crock pot. They don't even differentiate between BBG ribs and bean soup. They say, "Oh no, crock pot again."

quinn said...

Just this morning I was thinking that soon I'll be craving soup every day. I'll save this recipe til then, but it won't be long. Meanwhile, the crockpot eggplant parm. has become a bi-weekly staple, and I'm having overnight crockpot grits at least once/day!
I am so grateful for you and your blog. Definitely not "done with the crockpot" over here!! :)

Shelley said...

What a coincidence! I made a wonderful Lentil soup recipe that I got from Giada De Laurentiis. I used crimsom lentils that I found at Mollie Stones. It was a huge batch and I froze half of it. That email is really funny!

Anonymous said...


I have been making the crockpot chicken enchilada casserole for years and it's a favorite! Try using nacho cheese soup with it as really increases the cheesiness of the recipe and is a hit in my house!

Love your site and am always excited to see what new and different ideas you come up with...keep up the good work!!!

Debbi said...

I just read everyone's comments about how the kids are getting sick of the crockpot. My 6 year old came home and I was looking at my pork loin in the oven and he sarcastically said to me "What! You're not cooking in the CROCK POT!". It was hilarious. Of course then I thought that maybe next time I WOULD cook the pork loin in the crock pot. Hmmmm... I wouldn't know how long to cook it though.

Lisa said...

Ooh, another recipe i can't wait to try! Love lentils here, although it's been 75-80 degrees lately...not quite soup/stew weather yet.


Angie (mighty-nice) said...

Hi! I just found your site today and found it totally F*U*N! So cute how you photo the ingredients first and I love your comments/verdicts! I'll be trying LOTS of them, I'm sure. I have a few crock pot recipes that I L*O*V*E and will share them with you after I look around some more to see if you already have them. I'll be back!

N. Maria said...

Oh, boy! I love lentils, even though I didn't have them as a child, and will be making this Saturday!!!
I've made them before and this sounds different from the regular way!
Thanks a bunch!
Maria in WA

Sara said...

This sounds great, I love lentils!

Karen B said...

I love lentils! I do think they soften more with freezing and thawing than most beans, so, I would cook them a little less if you're planning to freeze them.

A little bit of trivia, lentils cause much less gas than most beans. Can be useful to know if you're trying to gradually work beans into your family's menu more often.

They also are very easy to sprout. I've had very consistently good results sprouting regular grocery store lentils instead of more expensive packages labeled as being for sprouting.

Crayl said...

I had everything in my pantry, so now this is in the crockpot...EXCEPT, Grand Masala? What is it?

SmrfChic said...

Yes! That looks like the right recipe... I will try it out and get back to you on it.
The green chiles in it reminds me of another thing... have you tried making the Chile Relleno casserole from Ortega? I wonder how it would turn it out if you tried making it in the crockpot... I grew up with this as one of my favorite side dishes - served with some steak and maybe some sliced tomatoes.

Anonymous said...

This looks so good! My husband and I went to Turkey for two weeks in June, and lentil soup was served at almost all of the dinners. We loved it, and even ducked into a little hole in the wall restaurant and ordered lentil soup from a lovely woman who spoke no English. We didn't know how to say "lentil" or "soup" in Turkish, so we gestured foolishly until we spotted a picture of the soup on a poster on the wall! I've tried to recreate the Turkish version with some success. I'm anxious to try yours.

SmrfChic said...

And just because I like to drive people crazy... I found another chicken enchilada casserole that looks delish, so here's the link:


Lori said...

I just want to say, I tried this recipe, it totally rocked. I went to theresa in merida's site, she has the comment at the top, and she had a recipe for garam masala! How great was that?! I used her recipe for the garam masala, and yours for the lentil soup, and my family loved it, especially my gluten sensitive kids. Thanks for a great blog!!

Robin in Short Pump said...

Stephanie, I made this yesterday for tonight's dinner. Early taste tests tell me this will be a winner!. I had never heard of garam masala, if you hadn't posted the picture I would never have guessed it is a spice. I couldn't find it at Ukrop's or Kroger, but I found it at Whole Foods. I think it's funny that this recipe is considered a lentil soup because they seem so insignificant to it. I had never cooked with lentils before either, so I will start watching for new recipes. You're right about the cost. My 1 cup of lentils cost all of 60 cents.


isol8d said...

Hello, I'm a new reader. My wife had wanted a lentil soup for a couple of weeks, and with most of the ingredients onhand, I whipped up a batch last night. I blended half in the blender this morning, and its ready for dinner. (my stick blender died after many years of pureeing soups)

I could not find my garam masala, so I used this:

substitute, as well as using ginger powder rather than fresh, and I was a little conservative with it, as my wife doesn't care for ginger all too much. Thanks for the blog! I'll snap a pic tonight.

K8 said...

I totally tested this out this weekend! It was wonderful. It is definitely going in the “make again” file. Next time I may toss in some acorn or butternut squash cubes too. Yum!


kimi said...

Made this last night.... YUM YUM YUM!!! I also added a few handfulls of frozen meatballs and fried up a package of lean bacon, chopped, and added to the c'pot.
SOOOO delish! What a great way to clean out the pantry.
Thanks Steph!!

Slomack said...

First of all--thank you, Crockpot Lady! I have always loved the idea/convenience of a crockpot, but was disappointed because everything I made it in came out tasting vaguely the same. (I was probably using similar recipes, with not much spice variation, come to think of it!).

Your recipes have changed all that. I love reading your different recipes and especially your verdicts; they really let me know which I want to try and which I can skip!

I tried this recipe last night and LOVED it...had to search for the garam masala, but I was glad I did...and love the little hint of cinnamon in there too. I ate my first bowl as it came out of the crock, but blended up most of the leftovers for the richer consistancy.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

LIsa said...

WOW...loved it. It does get better with age...much like me. LOL Hubby liked it but can't have the same dish two days in a row. But I CAN. Only down fall...lots of fiber and well a bit of bloating. But I don't the taste.

Brenna Kater, the Oceanskater said...

Where did you get the garam masala?

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Brenna, I used McCormick, and found it at my neighborhood Safeway.


Brenna Kater, the Oceanskater said...

Oh, cool. I thought I'd have to go to a specialty store.

Brenna Kater, the Oceanskater said...

Do you have the definitive answer on what the dry-to-canned bean conversion rate is? I never use canned beans & it always messes me up, though this one came out well. It was so spicy, though! Probably because I didn't add any extra liquid to account for the beans not being cooked.

Crockpot Lady said...

Brenna, no.
I need to look into that, though. It would be a very helpful thing to know.

Brenna Kater, the Oceanskater said...

I may have to do an experiment with a bag of beans :)

Jennifer Ito ND said...

Could this be the slowcooker enchilada casserole recipe:

I tried to send it directly to smrtchf but could not figure out how.

Susan @ fivemangoes said...

Hi, I'm so excited to have found your blog... I absolutely LOVE using my CrockPot (especially in the Fall / Winter) and I can't wait to try some new recipes! I'm actually making a lentil soup in it tonight! Mmm, smells good! :)

Mary said...

Do you think this would work with some chunks of lamb as well?

Crockpot Lady said...

Mary, I think it would be lovely with lamb.


Laura said...

I made this yesterday. It's the 3rd recipe I've tried from this blog, and the verdict is still out on the other two, but this is a winner! Especially today when it's cold and snowy out. I didn't get to eat much yesterday but it definitely tastes terrific today. I'm looking forward to trying a lot more of your recipes.

beckiwithani said...

Just made this as part of my January vegan(ish) experiment, and blogged about it. Thanks!

Karen said...

I made this soup this week. It is so good (especially as leftovers). I cut the cayenne pepper in half though and it was still a bit too hot for me. I only recently found this blog and this is the first recipe I've tried.

I couldn't find garam masala in my local grocery store but they had it at Wal-Mart right in the spice section. (I was surprised!)

Anne said...

Is a lentil a lentil? I have a recipe that calls for red lentils but I have some brown lentils in my pantry. Is there a taste difference between the different colors of lentils?

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Anne,
I don't know for sure. I really don't. But I DO know that if I had brown in my pantry and something called for red I'd use it. I hate going to the store for just one thing.

Brenna Kater, the Oceanskater said...

I would not use a red lentil in place of another lentil. A red lentil is like a split pea and sort of disintegrates in the crockpot. Green & brown lentils, however, I use interchangeably.

Crockpot Lady said...

ah, well there you go!
thanks, Brenna!

Anonymous said...

Loved this - thanks. By way of repayment, on one of your recipes, you mentioned something about your ginger turning black. A secret about a big chunk, wrap it in a paper towel, stick it in a ziplock baggie, and put it in the freezer - skin and all; unwashed. Then, when you want to use it, pull it out, cut off an arm/chunk/inch (use a big knife-it's frozen solid). Put the rest back in the freezer. For your piece, wait about 3-4 minutes. The skin will peel right off with a paring knife (like a dream) and you can slice it, chop it, grate it, or make tea just like with fresh. I haven't used fresh (unfrozen) ginger in probably 5 years since I learned this method from my Japanese sister-in-law. Love your site. Thanks!
Vicki - Dayton OH

Max mickle said...

This is the first time I have come across this style of cooking soup. which works on the same principal as double boil soup in that boiled water or steam is used to slow cook the soup so that it would not evaporate and the goodness of the ingredients are slowly extracted from the soup.

Kitty said...

I made this today. My husband and I loved it! DH ate 2 big bowls. I doubled the garam masala because I love it so much. Nice and spicy, and just soooo full of flavor.

Anonymous said...

To those looking for garam masala, at my Kroger it's in the specialty spice section, where they have specialty blends and things...near the Mexican foods. It's not in the general spice section in the baking aisle. For what that's worth!

Deb_W said...

I made this today even though I didn't have the garam masala or the pinto beans. It was still GREAT. I am enjoying by the little kick it has even just w/ the ginger and pepper. I served it w/ falafel balls (like a fried hush puppy but made w/ dried chick peas). The starch w/ the soup was perfect. It was like taking a trip to the middle east w/o a passport.

Anonymous said...

Delicious! I added some lemon juice and salt. I love these recipes!

Jenna said...

This was awesome! I couldnt find the garam masala and didnt have nutmeg on hand, so I used pumpkin pie spice since it had ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon! Also, threw in a bit of corriander for fun and because I dont have an immersable blender, I just used a potato masher to break down some the beans. PERFECT, even on a hot July day! Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Yum! So flavorful with just the perfect amount of spice! I love fall and am looking forward to making this again!

kwallour said...

I just wanted to say thank you so much for all of your wonderful SIMPLE recipes. I am a college student in a dorm with a crockpot sitting on my microwave, and I love to be able to cook delicious, but frugal soups and such in my room. I am going to try the lima bean cassoulet recipe tomorow - weekends are my experiment time!

KB said...

Great site. I'm thrilled to have found a place for recipes for my CP--now I won't have to feel guilty about having it sit on the shelf unused!

Just a comment about the Moroccan Lentils. Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend, not Moroccan. A comparable Moroccan blend would be Ras el Hanout or La Kama. Perhaps the title should be "Indian Lentil Soup"?

Anonymous said...

Have you ever grated your ginger ahead of time? At my local store, they sell ginger in a tube (?!?) in the veggie section - refrigerated. I don't use ginger often - ok - maybe - like - once every few months? So, I thought - what if I bought my own ginger, and grated it and froze it? I did that. And I froze it in 1/4, 1/2 and tsp sections, on a silpat. Then, just moved it to a tiny tuppeware container. Now, when I need it, I just grab it and go!
I cannot wait to try this recipe. Sounds DELISH! Didn't see yet, but did you freeze this after you cooked it?

Erin said...

Just made this yesturday :) I soaked the lentils ahead and time because for some REALLY ODD reason, lentils from california NEVER EVER get soft EVEN AFTER 10 hours in the crockpot on high, I have NO IDEA why..... but soaking them over night worked :)

I also ommited the celery and added butternut squash (1/2) like another reader suggested........ it was soooooooo yummy........... We ate it for dindin last night and I ate a bowl today for lunch, still a lot left, at least 3 more bowls! yum! thank you!!!

Rosie said...

I made this yesterday (no substitutions, additions, and/or deletions) and it was delicious. Thank you.

leah the librarian said...

It's funny -- I come back to this recipe constantly and I don't think I have ever commented on how much I love it. I actually have this post bookmarked and make it at least every few months. Thank you for posting. It's healthy and amazingly delicious -- great for vegetarians and even great for entertaining. Sometimes I make a big batch and then use it for lunches at work all week. It's a standard in my house.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this recipe, it's so filling and healthy (and cheap!) Made it yesterday and it was really delicious. I live alone so I cut the recipe in half and used a 4 qt. crockpot. The spices came out a bit too strong so next time I'll use a little less. Just had a bowl for lunch and it's even better the next day!

Anonymous said...

Hello, LOVE your blog, need more inspiration 2 get some crock pot meals going...want 2 make this recipes but I need 2 know...any reason I can't put the other beans in here as dry (but previously soaked) beans?? Rather do it as natural as I can.... Thanks much! CC

mims said...

I put this together last night and it cooked until we came home from church mid-day today. I invited a couple to come for lunch and we all enjoyed this soup VERY MUCH. Next time I'll double the recipe.

My daughter-in-law lives in La Paz, Bolivia and is a big fan of your site. I just bought your second book "More Make If Fast ..." to send down there for her birthday.

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