Persian-Style Tomato and Lentil Soup


  • 1 medium yellow onion (8 oz), diced

  • ¾ cup (5 oz) green or brown lentils

  • ½ cup (3-1/2 oz) uncooked basmati rice

  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp dried mint leaves (optional)

  • ½ tsp fine salt, plus more as needed

  • ½ tsp freshly g round black pepper

  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, divided

  • ½ bunch (2 oz) fresh parsley, preferably curly, leaves and tender stems, finely chopped and divided, plus more for serving

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons), plus more to taste

  • Fresh herb sprigs, such as parsley, scallions, tarragon and/or dill, for serving as desired (optional)

  • 6 oz feta cheese, for serving (optional)


  1. In a large Dutch oven or pot with a lid, heat the ghee or oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and stir occasionally until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes.

  2. Stir in the lentils and rice, coating them in fat. Add the tomato paste, cumin, dried mint (if using), salt, pepper and cinnamon. Add about 2 cups of the stock and stir to dissolve the tomato paste and even disperse the spices. Add the remaining stock, stir well, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium-low, stir, cover and simmer until the rice and lentils are cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. (If the soup thickens more than you would like, add water, ¼ cup at a time.) Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

  3. Stir in about ¾ of the parsley and remove from the heat. Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Divide the soup among bowls, top with the remaining parsley and serve hot, with cheese and fresh herb sprigs, if desired.

  4. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional Info

calories: 261;

total fat: 8 g;

saturated fat: 5 g;

cholesterol: 18 mg;

sodium: 569 mg;

carbohydrates: 39 g;

dietary fibre: 11 g;

sugars: 6 g;

protein: 9 g.