Oh yes, lentil soup is great for you. A nutritious and tasty dish, this soup is one of the best things you can order at a restaurant if you want to keep things healthy. Able to be paired incredibly well with an array of other ingredients and dishes, lentil soup should always be on your ideal appetizer list.
Exploring the history of lentil soup is not a simple task. To truly get to the bottom of the pot, we need to dive deep into world history and ancient civilizations. We also need to look at the history of lentils as legumes and lentil soup as a recipe separately.
To begin, we need to travel back to around 8000 B.C. in what we now know as Syria. There, we have some of the first evidence of domesticated lentils ever found. Found on the banks of the Euphrates river, these lentil crops were an important source of nutrition to our ancestors.
2000 years later lentils came to Greece, with which began the introduction of the legume to Europe. Even though they were considered a poor man's food at first, lentils slowly climbed the social food ladder, eventually getting to the status they have today.
That's all on lentil history. Now, let's get to the origins of the lentil soup recipe.
It has been noted that lentil soup was a popular dish back in the time of the Alexandrian Empire. Rising almost 1700 years after the legume was introduced to Greece, it's evident that the use of lentils developed as society did. If lentils were eaten by themselves before, now they've been upgraded to the star of a tasty soup enriched with many ingredients.
Various vegetables as well as spices could be found in the dish, as people sought something both tasty and nutritional. The soup was served both with meat and as a meatless dish, cementing itself within the fabric of society and ensuring its existence throughout the centuries to come.
Being that lentil soup is such an old recipe, it's natural for it to have undergone quite a few changes in its lifetime. As we said before, in ancient times this dish was usually accompanied by a few select vegetables and poultry. Today, however, we have access to a lot more ingredients, so of course, the lentil soup recipes are richer.
Today's classic lentil soup recipe you can find in restaurants contains a plethora of ingredients. For starters, it's rich in various spices and herbs, such as rosemary and bay leaf. Furthermore, the amount of veggies in the dish is vast as well, with onions, garlic, carrots, and tomatoes adding their flavors. Finally, an essential part of lentil soup is also vegetable broth and chicken broth, and some people even add red wine.
It's important to add that we also have access to more types of lentils nowadays, like red lentils, green lentils, brown lentils, and so on. This vaster selection affects both the taste and the consistency of the soup itself, elevating the recipe further.
Lentils are pretty much a combination of both protein and carbohydrates. One cup of cooked lentils has about 18 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbs. Obviously, this is a big difference, but when you take into account how difficult it is to find truly protein-rich foods, especially if you're vegan or vegetarian, the difference is worth it.
The same amount of lentils has around 230 calories, 0.8 grams of fat, and an amazing 15.6 grams of fiber. All in all, lentils truly are the superfood they are known to be.
However, when we talk about lentil soup, we have to factor in the caloric value of everything else added in it. For example, if you add a bunch of starchy veggies and have lentil soup with potatoes, you'll see the carb count rise. If you, however, add chicken, you'll get a rise in protein. Because of this, it's a bit difficult to pinpoint exactly how much protein or carbs are in any given bowl of lentil soup.
However, the general stats above can give you a pretty good starting point, as lentil is the main ingredient in lentil soup!
If this read made you hungry, here are some restaurants that serve a great bowl of this delicious dish!
Kohinoor Restaurant in Baltimore is another stellar lentil soup spot you'll fall in love with!
If you don't see your city on this list, head to our website. There, you can search via dish as well as location and find some of the best spots near you.