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Armenian Lentil Soup with Eggplant and Apricots

Armenian Lentil Soup with Eggplant and Apricots

This recipe for Armenian Lentil Soup is vegan and gluten-free. It’s full of tomatoes, eggplant, apricots, peppers, onions and lentils along with some really fantastic spices like cayenne pepper, cinnamon and cumin.

For the last few weeks I have been making soups to have on hand to eat throughout the week. It’s such a treat to enjoy a good homemade soup instead of heating up boxed or canned soups. (Don’t get me wrong…I eat my fair share of boxed soups from Trader Joe’s.)

Given my love for being warm and all things hot (tea, yoga, sunshine, summer days, space heaters), I eat soup for lunch almost every single day during the winter months. I have a few standby recipes (the best chicken noodle, carrot and butternut squash ginger soupchicken tortilla soup and a balsamic tomato soup I haven’t posted yet to name a few) but I am always looking for new inspiration.

A bag of lentils in my pantry served as the motivation to find a new lentil soup recipe. I love lentils but I always forget about them. I won’t forget anymore because the soup I discovered is AMAZING.

Armenian Lentil Soup

This is an Armenian Lentil Soup. It’s a vegan and gluten-free soup that is full of tomatoes, eggplant, apricots, peppers, onions and lentils along with some really fantastic spices like cayenne pepper, cinnamon and cumin. I based my soup on a recipe found on Epicurious but made a few modifications, mainly in the spice department. I added more of everything than called for along with cumin and turmeric. The cumin addition was due to some of the reviews I read and the turmeric was because I was feeling pretty wiped out and sore from a tough CrossFit workout that day and turmeric is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. It also worked well with the flavors in this Armenian Lentil Soup.

Eggplant and Apricot Lentil Soup

The soup was ready in under an hour but tasted like it had been simmering much longer than that. Don’t be scared off by the dried apricots in this recipe…they totally make the soup. The whole appeal of this soup is the play on contrasting flavors. You’ve got spicy, sweet, sour, mellow…it’s all there and richly layered. My nose ran in the best way while eating this. It’s not over the top spicy but it gets you going. (And note you can adjust the spice to your taste with the cayenne pepper.) It really warmed me up and cleared me out!

Another bonus? This Armenian Lentil Soup is crazy healthy. Vegan (even if you’re a meat eater…this soup is super hearty and satisfying) and gluten-free. Lentils are easy to digest and a good protein source. Low in fat and calories. Powerhouse spices such as cinnamon and turmeric.

I entered the recipe into My Fitness Pal to calculate the nutrition stats and this comes out to under 300 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving. Not bad for such a hearty, filling and flavorful soup.

Armenian Lentil Soup with Eggplant and Apricots

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 6 servingsTotal:

This recipe for Armenian Lentil Soup is vegan and gluten-free. It's full of tomatoes, eggplant, apricots, peppers, onions and lentils along with some really fantastic spices like cayenne pepper, cinnamon and cumin.

You'll Need...

  • 1 cup dried green lentils (can also use black or red)
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth (note it is not longer vegan if you use chicken broth!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 bell pepper (red, green or yellow), diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice or ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon(ish) kosher salt, to taste
  • Chopped parsley, cilantro or mint to garnish

Directions

  1. Rinse lentils in a colander and place them in a large soup pot. Add the broth and the apricots and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. While the lentils are simmering, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat (you need a pretty big pan here). Add the onions and sauté 4-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add all remaining ingredients except the herbs. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable mixture to the lentils and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Note that if the soup becomes too thick during the cooking process you can add more broth as needed.
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve plain or with chopped parsley, cilantro or mint for garnish. You could also try adding a dollop of Greek yogurt to cool down the spice a bit.

Additional Notes

This recipe is adapted from Epicurious.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • 1
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles January 21, 2015, 4:25 pm

    I love lentils. I never crave soup (weird, I know) but this really looks delicious and hearty, almost like a stew. And I love the addition of apricots. I used to make a chicken dish (when I ate chicken) with apricots. So good.

    • 2
      Jen January 22, 2015, 7:56 pm

      this is definitely more like a stew and yes…chicken/apricot combo is delicious!

  • 3
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors January 21, 2015, 5:14 pm

    oh I love lentil soup. This is a fun twist! I bet the apricots are delish in this dish! Can’t wait to try it!

  • 4
    She Rocks Fitness January 21, 2015, 8:01 pm

    YES…I am always looking for new lentil recipes and definitely going to try this soon. I am having lentil soup tonight. I too have been making lots of soups, because they’re so easy to warm up at night when I am too tired! 🙂

    • 5
      Jen January 22, 2015, 7:55 pm

      what are your go to soup recipes? top three faves?

  • 6
    Michelle @ Fit. Flexible. Fabulous. January 21, 2015, 10:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing, I’m going to try it this weekend. As soon as I saw your tweet about lentils, eggplant, and apricots, I was like, YUM. What a great combo of flavors!

    • 7
      Jen January 22, 2015, 7:53 pm

      awesome, please let me know how it turns out!

  • 8
    Trang's corner January 22, 2015, 12:30 am

    I’m so excited to try this recipe. So delicious! So inspirational!

    http://www.trangscorner.com

  • 9
    Cara's Healthy Cravings January 22, 2015, 6:58 am

    I adore spicy lentil soups! I often top mine with a dollop of plain yogurt and chutney. Yours looks delicious.

    • 10
      Jen January 22, 2015, 7:50 pm

      i definitely want to try it with yogurt. i usually love a little of it in dishes with these kinds of flavors.

  • 11
    Jenn@Mark My Miles! January 22, 2015, 8:42 am

    Soup is my go to meal as well in the winter. Thank you for the addition to my soup recipe collection!

  • 12
    Tara | Treble in the Kitchen January 22, 2015, 9:32 am

    Sounds fabulous and looks beautiful!

  • 13
    Emily January 24, 2015, 7:48 pm

    This was delicious. I subbed cauliflower and a turnip for the peppers and eggplant and they suit it very well. Love the sweetness from the brown sugar and apricots.

  • 14
    Sarah January 25, 2015, 3:16 pm

    I subbed zucchini for the eggplant, and thought it was amazing! Great recipe!

  • 15
    Emily January 26, 2015, 1:10 pm

    I made this soup on Saturday night and have been eating leftovers since! It’s so delicious and warming – perfect for this 36 degree/drizzle/snow we’re having. Thank you for sharing!

  • 16
    Emily @SinfulNutrition January 27, 2015, 8:00 pm

    Love me some lentils!! And love the addition of dried apricots. I haven’t had them in a while, and gives me a reason to buy some now. 🙂

  • 17
    Carrie Kaschak February 16, 2016, 10:01 pm

    I have made this soup about 5 times, and I am obsessed with it! It is my favorite thing to throw in the slow cooker and have for lunches everyday. Thanks for the great, unique recipe!!

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