Here’s a soup that my family enjoys:
Egyptian Lentil Soup
1 lg. onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, peeled & coarsely chopped
2 to 3 oz. lean ground beef or lamb*
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1½ cups brown or green lentils (or 1 cup brown or green + 1 cup red lentils)
2 quarts water
1 small dried red chili (optional)
juice of ½ lemon or more to taste
salt & pepper to taste
Pick over and clean the lentils. In a heavy pot, gently sauté the onion, carrot, and ground meat in the oil until the veggies are soft and the meat is very brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cumin and fennel, then add the lentils and water. Add the chili if desired.
Cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chili (if used). Add the lemon juice and taste for seasoning, adding salt and peper to taste. Each serving may be garnished with onion slices warmed in olive oil and additional lemon wedges.
*I usually go ahead and use a pound of ground meat for my carnivores, but you can leave it out and the soup is still wonderful. Also, you can add some finely chopped hearty greens (spinach or kale, for instance) along with the water to pump up the nutrition.