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Modern Moroccan Cinnamon-scented Chickpea & Lentil Soup

After keeping myself on a leash for a while I finally joined Swap-bot late last year. I already told you about some food-related swaps in my previous Weekend Cooking post. Today I want to talk about another one: the Cookbook Challenge #1, hosted by Carmen of the Gastronomery Group. Like many of us she has several under-used cookbooks and she wants to tackle them with the help of fellow swappers. She made the challenge vegan-friendly so of course I had to join — never mind that I have a pile of books of my own… ;)

For this first ‘cookalong’ Carmen chose some recipes out of Modern Moroccan by Ghillie Basan and posted them on the group blog. The idea was for us to choose one recipe, test it, document it and send the (virtual) results to our swap partners; in my case our hostess herself. So Carmen, here’s my pick!

Cinnamon-scented chickpea and lentil soup

Serves 4-5.


Preparing Modern Moroccan Cinnamon-scented Chickpea & Lentil Soup

Don’t let the long list scare you: it’s not as much as it seems and most of these ingredients are fairly common in a foodie household. If you look at the preparations you’ll see this recipe is a breeze!

  • 1.5-2 tbsp olive oil (see my tweak among the modifications below)
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger (djahé)
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (kunjit)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 400 gr can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
  • 80 gr brown or green lentils, washed (I used Puy lentils)
  • 950 ml vegetable stock or boiling water & 2 bouillon cubes
  • 400 gr can cooked chickpeas (265 gr drained)
  • 150 gr cooked broad beans (I used 175 gr frozen peas)
  • small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt ’n pepper to taste


Chopping cilantro & flatleaf parsley for Modern Moroccan Cinnamon-scented Chickpea & Lentil Soup

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions until soft.
  2. Stir in the spices (ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron), tomatoes and sugar.
  3. Add the lentils and pour in the vegetable stock or water and stock cubes.
  4. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender (check the instructions on the package).
  5. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and beans and bring back to boil, cover again and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
  6. Mix in the fresh herbs and season to taste.

Serve hot!

Modern Moroccan Cinnamon-scented Chickpea & Lentil Soup

Mr Gnoe and me enjoyed this soup on a cold February night accompanied by (store-bought) bake-off buns and couscous salad.

Couscous Salad

The result?

I only made half of the original recipe on the Gastronomery Cookbook Challenge #1 page and that was amply sufficient for four diners. Especially served with accompaniments like ours. This soup is already plant-based (and chock-full of proteins!) so no veganizing was needed, but still the recipe got slightly tweaked.

  • I took the easy route and used a 400 grams can of chickpeas (= 265 grams drained) instead of dried beans that would have needed to be soaked overnight.
  • Dried broad beans are not commonly available over here (although it’s not impossible to get them in a city like Utrecht) so I had wanted to use frozen but forgot to add them to my grocery list. So I took 175 grams garden peas from my freezer stash instead. Together with the chickpeas that roughly summed up the 400 grams of cooked beans I needed.
  • I made vegetable stock with one bouillon cube instead of two and spiced it up with salt and pepper at the end. I’m still not sure whether I’d use two cubes anyway next time… (if there is a next time?)
  • I didn’t use olive oil for frying the onions but used leftover sunflower oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes in oil.
  • The original recipe said to fry the onions for about 15 minutes… It took me 2-3 to get them soft. ;) If you’re supposed to caramelize the onions then 10-15 minutes would be right but it just says “until soft” so I believe the time publicized to be an errata.
  • I added one celery stalk, just because it was lying around in the fridge. Not necessary at all.

Has the Jury reached its verdict?

This chickpea-lentil soup is certainly a hearty dish, but it didn’t tickle my taste buds. I’ve had bean and lentil soups before, some of which were much more special.

I couldn’t discern a specific Moroccan flavour and I don’t think using broad beans would’ve changed that. Do you? Maybe adding a spice blend like ras el hanout would be a good idea; there’s a recipe for that in the book –and on the Gastronomery blog– as well. But I also just can’t appreciate the combination of multiple legumes: lentils and chickpeas and peas. I do like vegan harira (Moroccan/Algerian chickpea-lentil soup), but this modern version is too much of a mismatch mishmash for me.

So. If you’ve had these kinds of soups before, this recipe is not very exciting. But if you haven’t – this is a good place to start! Common ingredients and little work bring a filling winter stew to the table.

Further ruminations

Blogging pal Uniflame also participated in Cookbook Challenge #1 and got me for a swap partner. She tried the Casablancan couscous with roasted summer veggies and shared her version of the recipe on She Likes Bento. In winter I regularly make oven-roasted root vegetables but I always forget to do something alike in summer. Gotta remember!

February has been a super busy month so I didn’t get around to cooking two other recipes from Modern Moroccan that I like. So there are still a vegan version of grilled sweet zucchini with spices and harissa on the menu.

Now if you feel like trying another Moroccan soup, how about this sesame soup recipe I posted before?

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Join Beth Fish’s weekend cooking with a food-related post!

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo


I had to play truant for a couple of days, but now I’m back at VeganMoFo with my traditional CSA (b)log post and menu plan.

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 41, 2012

  • Red, yellow & chioggia beets
  • Silver beet
  • Lollo Bionda lettuce
  • Hokkaido pumpkin
  • Doyenné pears
  • Parsley

I still got last week’s runner beans and will be getting cauliflower and purple kale tomorrow from another local organic garden. So what’s up this week?

Menuplan Thursday October 11th  – Wednesday 17th

  • Thursday: homemade tomato soup, leftover pasta with pesto, and leftover saag with chickpeas made into a pasta sauce with mushrooms, leek and baked onions.
  • Friday: rice with chili (freezer stash), avocado, home-made salsa picante and steamed silver beet.
    Baking pumpkin crumb cake with pecan streusel from Veganomicon (p.255) for my friend Loes’ birthday. Will adapt the streusel to a nut mix as I don’t have enough pecans.
  • Saturday: Turkish beans (taze fasulye), carrot-walnut salad with soygurt dressing (cevizli havuç salatasi) adapted from Lokanta cookbook and pide bread or a grain dish.
  • A variation of The Green Cuisine’s pumpkin-paprika soup -another VeganMoFo inspired dish!- and beet-potato salad
  • Baked potatoes, veggiedogs and sautéed silverbeet with creamy cauliflower ‘queso’ from Cadry’s Kitchen.
  • Quesadillas with leftover cauliflower ‘queso’; autumn salad with beetroot and baked pear/apple adapted from Baking Made Easy.
  • Dessert: sugared puff pastry with pear and chocolate syrup.
  • Snack: kale chips (or this VeganMoFo spicy kale recipe from The Green Cuisine).
  • Sandwich spread: eggless salad with last week’s celery. Recipe recommendations really MUCH appreciated!

I’ve got a lot of vegetables left over in my fridge, so it’s time for some serious menu planning!

Amelishof CSA vegetables week 43

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 43, 2011

Last week’s veggies:

  • red Batavian lettuce
  • cilantro
  • pointed paprika
  • (Batavian) endive
  • leek
  • celery

Amelishof CSA vegetables week 44

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 44, 2011

This week’s greens:

  • pumpkin
  • lollo bionda lettuce
  • Elstar apples
  • parsley
  • kohlrabi
  • green beans

Menu plan Wednesday November 2nd – Tuesday 8th

You’ll even find vegetables on the menu from my CSA loot further back!

  • Wednesday: eating out with birthday boy @variomatic in Hotel de Goudfazant (Amsterdam)
  • Thursday (Mr Gnoe’s piano night): leek-fennel soup (veganized version of Vega Gerechten p.134) & veggie dog with greens
  • Friday: spicy sweet potato soup, chili con ‘carne’ tacos and fennel-orange salad with black olives (Vega Gerechten p.150 & 179)
  • Saturday: Indonesian dinner! Osèng-osèng kohlrabi, sambal goreng tofu & green beans with white rice (Vegetarisch Indonesisch Kookboek p.50 & 94)
  • Sunday (Dexter-5 Night with Elsje): garlic-Jerusalem artichoke soup, garlic or rosemary bread from Vlaams Broodhuys, 2 types of hummus (red beet & pumpkin), cooking pears and red beet salad with walnuts and balsamico (Vega Gerechten p.81, 61 & 188)
  • Monday: Ethiopian lentil dish (cutting from Leven, lente 2011) with ‘faux sour creme‘ (La Dolce Vegan!), pita bread and kohlrabi salad (Groentegerechten p.32) OR Indonesian leftovers with nasi goreng
  • Tuesday: eating @ mother-in-law’s

A quick post about this week’s organic vegetables from Amelis’Hof. If you think you missed some veggies lately — you’re right! I’m two weeks behind but will post about them a.s.a.p.

Amelis'Hof organic CSA vegetables week 21, 2011

  • Spring onions
  • Bok choi
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Red bell pepper

Looking forward to next week when we’ll be getting STRAWBERRIES!

Menu plan for the week (#21)

Easy Carrot-Orange Soup from Vegatopia

Easy Carrot-Orange Soup

  • Carrot-orange soup, Puy lentil salad (from The Vegan Table Cookbook p.190 via Food for Thought podcast) and panini. [Wednesday]
  • Noodles & sesame-ginger stir-fry with tofu, shiitake mushrooms, pakchoi, leek, paprika and carrot (inspired by Eileen’s stir-fry in La Dolce Vegan! p.148). [Thursday]
  • Veggie hotdog, lentil leftovers & green salad.
  • Noodle salad & leek soup (Mc Donald’s Kitchen p.59).
  • Sweet potato with spicy cumin mayo (VEGA-gerechten p.364), veggie burger and baked leek with oyster mushrooms (Eethuis Iris’ Groentegetechten p.40).
  • Lentil loaf (from The Vegan Table Cookbook p.248 via Food for Thought podcast)

On Tuesday I’ll be dining out with friends so I’m guessing Mr Gnoe will be eating pizza, omelet or something else with cheese and/or egg. ;)

Do you have any plans for the week?

Lentil salad from The Vegan Table

Salad of Puy lentils

Het groentenpakket van deze week (37):
Aardvlo veggiebag week 37

  • venkel
  • bloemkool
  • maïskolf
  • ijsbergsla (wel 2 kroppen!)
  • boterbonen (wasbonen)
  • platte peterselie

Ik maakte nog nooit eerder boterbonen… Wat zeg ik, ik heb ze zelfs nog nooit gegeten! Wie wel?

Salad of leek, tomato, cucumber, gherkin, lettuce, grilled zucchini, red onion and parsley, to be topped with pine nuts & walnut from the other tier.

Houmous with harissa, yoghurt coated apricot, plum tomatoes, cucumber & carrot sticks, homemade parsley pesto with walnut.

Cracker and yoghurt with cooked red currants on the side.

Today’s bento is a mix of several Asian dishes. Yes, Gnoe likes her Asian foodies :)

Upper tier

  • Indian egg-tomato curry (one of our all-time favourites!)
  • Japanese edamame
  • Indonesian nasi goreng
  • gherkin fox
  • cucumber
  • two types of parsley
  • on a bed of lettuce

Lower tier

  • Indonesian emping
  • raspberries and red currants
  • yoghurt coated apricot
  • carrots
  • basil
  • and another fox

Selamat makan!

Oops, it took me a whole week to post about bento #52! It came to work on Wednesday May 20th — and it’s been my last bento up until today. I was too busy! And I don’t have to go to the office for a while now, so bento’s will be sparse in the next few weeks.

In the picture my lunch looks quite cute — but don’t be fooled! The hint is a packet of Smint…

The red stuff you see in the left hand tier is Mediterranean bean paste, which erm.. had a bit too much garlic in it :-o I don’t like tasting garlic all day, so I came prepared.

Here’s another one of Gnoe’s tips: natural & healthy remedies against garlic smell (and taste) are drinking milk, eating an apple and — last but certainly not least — chewing on a bunch of parsley. That’s after you’ve eaten garlic, not before ;) In my experience these solutions work best if you don’t apply them immediately, but after you’ve brushed your teeth without result.

Well, my apple is not in the picture but it did come along. And in the photo you can also see some fresh parsley (not enough though, LOL) — and the before mentioned package sugar free Smint for emergencies ;)

What else could be found in bento #52?

  • red leaf salad (hiding)
  • 3 conchiglioni (pasta seashells) with herbs, slightly greased with olive oil so they wouldn’t stick together
  • black olives
  • slices of orange sweet bite
  • capers, small & large
  • yellow cherry tomatoes
  • parsley (like I said)
  • yogurt coated apricot
  • roasted sunflower seeds as topping for:
  • leek salad (leeks marinated in a basil-garlic dressing)
  • Mediterranean bean paste made of white beans, tomato, red bell pepper (paprika), onion, olive oil and oven-roasted garlic (to eat with the pasta)
  • grated cheese for the conchiglioni
  • pistachios and cashews
  • cranberries

Both the leek salad and the bean paste were easy to make. But… the bean spread was best on the day it was prepared. Next day it had gotten a bit ‘watery’ and needed the salty & sour addition of capers and olives.

So, bento #52 was like a wolf in sheep’s clothes: looking cute, but with a sharp bite! Well, I got a lot of work done that day with few colleagues disturbing me ;) Which is good — is it? It was really my day off… :\

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!


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