Crushed Lentil Soup

Jillian Michaels has been kicking my butt. Every morning. I hear her voice as my alarm clock goes off, her signature “don’t phone this one in” line reverberating as I contemplate pressing snooze. I don’t; instead dragging myself out of bed, mentally preparing for what is sure to be another grueling workout ahead.

Of course, all this torture is self-inflicted. I’ve made up my mind to do at least a little something for myself this summer, given that the majority of my day these days are spent sitting behind a desk, studying, with a rare break to eat or walk Woodley. But I must say, I’ve become slightly addicted to Jillian’s workout DVDs. I now own all of them, after discovering — via exercise T.V. — that the full, 40 minute version of “Banish Fat, Boost your Metabolism” (they’ve since cut it down to a meager 25 minutes — not nearly as hard) was more challenging than any gym boot camp or personal training session I’ve ever done. But perhaps even more shocking was that I wasn’t bored while doing it, despite feeling like I might die. Despite having to break out my emergency-only “breathing machine” once (“emergency-only” usually meaning an asthma attack, which I may or may not have had during the workout). Despite sweating enough to wring out my shirt afterward. Despite all that, I actually find myself enjoying working out these days. In the comfort of my own home. With Jillian Michael’s no-nonsense attitude motivating me perhaps only half as much as her perfect abs staring back at me on my T.V. screen. Maybe that’s just because anything is less boring than studying for the bar exam…

So, what does any of this have to do with crushed lentil soup? Well, I realized that I don’t really want to be one of those people who kills themselves for an hour only to throw it away on a high-carb, high-fat meal afterward. Still, my appetite has been a bit more voracious these days, given my early-morning calorie expenditures. This soup was a quick and satisfying solution to my newfound problem.It’s  high in fiber. Low fat. Low carb. High protein. And not too heavy. It’s great with a salad and takes only a little more than a half hour to come together. This Middle Eastern take on red lentils is a nice change-of-pace from the traditional — and also very good — Indian Dahl.

Crushed Lentil Soup:

1 medium-sized sweet onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups split red lentils, rinsed and picked over

6 cups water

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

pinch of cayenne pepper

parlsey or cilantro, chopped, for topping


1. In a large soup pot or Dutch Oven, saute onion with olive oil over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, until transluscent.

2. Add lentils, water, cumin, coriander and salt. Stir. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occassionally.

3. Stir in lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Remove from heat. Serve immediately, sprinkled with some freshly chopped parsley or cilantro.


  1. says

    I have never tried Jillian Michael’s workouts but they sound great! I did P90X a couple of times, but the programs are a bit too long to keep up with daily for the long term. I’m trying Insanity now, but I like the sound of these shorter workouts!

    The soup looks and sounds awesome!

  2. says

    Thanks for the inspiration — for the soup that is. Not sure I am ready for Jillian! Does running two flights of stairs 10x a day, chasing two toddlers and walking the dog add up to a Jillian work out. Something tells me not! Well, you go girl. In the meantime I will make your soup for meatless Monday and eat it with a slimming salad as you suggest :)

  3. Beth says

    Alisa — What is insanity??? I am so intrigued. I have to admit, I have a bit of workout video phobia — that is, until I discovered the Jillian Michaels videos — and some at-home workout ADD. I either get bored or distracted which is why I like the whole kickboxing/jumping around angle with the ones I’m doing. But, now that I’ve found some I like, I’m willing to test out more. Let me know how you like insanity!!

    Lexie — I’m sure you’ve got enough on your plate!! Plus, isn’t that what all the celebrities say when they lose, like, a million pounds after having their baby? “Oh, I just lost it from chasing after my kid all day. Te hee.” So, you can say your workout routine is very “celerbity,” no? Hope you like/liked the soup! It’s one of my faves (I always order a similar one when I go out for Middle Eastern).

    Aubree — Thanks1!! Such an honor!!! Need to catch up on my blogs, so that reminds me to check out your site for some recent posts anyways!! Take care.

  4. Beth says

    Stephanie — aren’t they great??? They are so easy!!

    Victoria — yay!!! Thanks so much. Glad you liked it. Can’t wait to see you in a week!

  5. says

    I made this soup and my fmaily LOVED it!! The best is that it was sooo easy! It will definitely be included in my round of dinners. Thanks!

  6. Beth says

    Jenny — Yay!! So happy to hear. Just checked out your blog and I love it! Thanks for commenting so I could find you! : )


  7. says

    Oh my gosh, I love Jillian!! I’m obessed with her, I even have her books – “Master your Metabolism” is a goodie…The ‘Banish Fat’ DVD is one of my favourites, but seriously tough! I was going to do one of my Yoga DVD’s this morning but now you’ve inspired me to pop that one in again ;)

  8. Beth says

    Rebecca — you and me both! I actually bought making the cut but didn’t really follow it due to the whole vegan thing…but yeah, I thought I was in good shape until I started the Banish Fat DVD…and struggled through even half of it at first.

  9. says

    I know, it’s a tough one!! I also have ‘Making the cut’ and didn’t follow the food plan for the same reason – tried to do the excercise regimes but slacked off after a while…She is super hard-core! x

  10. J says

    Thanks so so much for posting this! I’ve been craving this for YEARS ever since I moved away from Detroit. It was delicious! Almost as good as Pita Cafe!

  11. Kelli says

    I found you from greenshakesandgiggles. Jenny wrote that this was a family favorite, so I tried it and my family loved it! So economical and yummy, this will be part of our regular meal rotation. Thank you!

  12. says

    WOW…this recipe is wonderful. I added celery, fresh sage,garlic and full lemon quarter. oh my…so delicious!

  13. Beth says

    Thanks, Linda! I’ve recently gotten into adding celery and shredded carrots, even! Glad you enjoyed

  14. Jeannie says

    Hi Beth!

    Liz turned me on to your blog a few years ago, specifically this recipe. I made lentil soup last night and wanted to send you a little note. The soup is great and You. Are. AMAZING.

    Thanks for sharing your recipes and most importantly, a piece of your life. You’re inspirational and make vegan food approachable.

    Cheers to good food and better health!


  15. says

    Jeannie — Oh my gosh that’s so sweet of you!! Thanks so much for stopping by and for the kind words. They’re even more special coming from such a good person like yourself. Much appreciated and glad you enjoyed the soup!! : ) AOE, Beth


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