This beautiful Lebanese dish has been passed down from generations of women within my family and has nourished us with nutrient rich lentils, vibrant seasonal vegetables and warm spices! You can make this dish in one large soup pot, enjoy it over several days for lunch or dinner and create large batches and freeze it for future family dinners to come. It is filled with layers of wholesome, bright and delicious flavors and is enjoyed best with a slice of warm toast, family and friends!
Technique tips: At first, the onions and fennel might seem like a lot in your pot, but not to worry, this is where you begin to build layers flavor in your soup, by cooking them down until they become deeply caramelized and slightly crispy on the edges. Lightly toasting your spices before adding the lentils, rice and squash brings out their unique flavor. Make sure to do this gently, just until you begin to smell their fragrance.
Some store-bought stocks have more salt than others. Make sure to always taste your stock before cooking to adjust the flavor. Remember to bring your soup to a boil, and then slightly simmer with the lid on low heat to ensure the lentils, rice and squash cook gently and thoroughly.
Swap options: You can swap brown lentils for any other color lentils or quinoa, dried split peas and chickpeas, and rice for other grains like farro or barley. For a quick and easy homemade stock, save your vegetable scraps, cover them with cold water, bring to a boil, simmer for 40 minutes, strain and cool. You can freeze the stock or use it right way in many recipes like stew, pasta or soup. This is a great way to add flavor to your dishes and manage waste in your home kitchen!
- 1 cup olive oil
- 3 large onions, peeled, chopped fine
- 1 large fennel bulb, chopped fine
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large bunch rainbow chard, stems finely sliced, leaves roughly torn 3-inch pieces
- 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup long grain rice, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and finely diced
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 9 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1½ cups roughly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 1 small bunch radishes, quartered and finely sliced
- 1/2 lemon, quartered and thinly sliced
Heat large pot to medium-high and add olive oil. Once the olive oil begins to shimmer, add onions and fennel. Stir occasionally and cook until caramelized. Some of the onion and fennel may become slightly crispy, about 15 minutes.2.
Add salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, garlic, and rainbow chard stems and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.3.
Stir in lentils and rice, evenly coating the pulses and grains in the aromatics and olive oil. Stir in butternut squash, deglaze with apple cider vinegar and add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer with lid on on at low heat for about 40 minutes until the lentils, rice, and butternut are cooked.4.
Once the soup is finished cooking, remove from heat, and stir in fresh lemon juice, rainbow chard leaves, and 1 cup of parsley. Garnish with ½ cup of parsley, radishes, and lemon slices and enjoy with a warm piece of toast.