Ethiopian Lentil Soup

Berbere Spice Blend, an Ethiopian combination of flavors, defines this wonderful soup. It’s a mixture of paprika, red chile powder, chile flakes, sea salt, fenugreek, ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, onion, clove, and garlic, and it adds an exotic, satisfying finish that elevates lentil soup from simple to outstanding.

I have been making lentil soup variations for many years, but in the last several months, I have converted from the slow cooker (or stovetop) to my electric pressure cooker almost every time. This may be the very first recipe I’m posting using my pressure cooker, so I will also share that I chose the Fagor 8-quart Electric Pressure Cooker, and am in love with it. It’s a multi-cooker, similar to the Instant Pot, and I use it several times each week.

Once you reach high pressure with this method, soup cooks in 20 minutes – vs. using a pot on the stove, which might take closer to 2 hours. That’s the genius of pressure cooking.

But no worries if you don’t have one. Below are instructions for making this recipe on the stove, in a slow cooker, or by pressure cooking. All methods for this soup lead to delicious.

Serve with a green salad and toasted whole grain bread for a fabulous, comforting meal on a very cold night.

ETHIOPIAN LENTIL SOUP

1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
4 ribs of celery, chopped
1 pound dried green lentils, rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 14-ounce can chopped or crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce (look for no-sugar added)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Berbere seasoning
2 teaspoons kosher salt (generous)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 bay leaf

Optional garnish: salt-free dry-roasted peanuts

Stovetop Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot.

Bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer. Cover, and cook for one hour and 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender and begin to cook down to a smooth creamy soup.

Carefully remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to create a slightly creamier texture, if desired. Serve hot, over scoops of mashed potatoes or brown rice, or with warm crusty whole-grain bread.

Slow Cooker Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a large slow cooker.

Cover and cook on high setting for 6 hours or until lentils are tender. (All slow cookers have their own personality – older ones may take longer, newer ones may take less time.)

Carefully remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to create a slightly creamier texture, if desired. Serve hot, over scoops of mashed potatoes or brown rice, or with warm crusty whole-grain bread.

Pressure Cooker Instructions

Combine all ingredients in an Electric Pressure Cooker. (I love my electric Fagor 8-quart multi-cooker)

Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and set the timer for 20 minutes.

After the cooking is complete, allow the pot to rest for about 10 minutes, and then use the quick release method to release the remainder of the pressure. When valve drops, carefully remove lid.

Carefully remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to create a slightly creamier texture, if desired. Serve hot, over scoops of mashed potatoes or brown rice, or with warm crusty whole-grain bread.

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