Friday, November 15, 2013


Best Blog Tips

What a beautiful soup, in every way-- sweet-and-sour deliciousness, and vibrant hot pink color with contrasting flecks of green. It’s a meal in itself, and very easy to make.  I developed my vegan version of this traditional Iraqi recipe during the last war in Iraq.  I was so upset about the war and the devastation and my feelings of helplessness around it that I began researching Iraqi history, culture and, of course, cuisine, which goes back some 3,000 years to the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians and ancient Persians. When Baghdad was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258), this sophisticated cuisine was at its zenith.

This soup always reminds me of that sorrowful time, but it's beauty, healthfulness and delicious taste reminds me that peace is worth striving for.  It also is a great illustration of how food can bring us together at the global table, celebrating our differences and our similarities.  And it is also an excellent example of how very simple, common ingredients (except, perhaps, for the pomegranate molasses, which is common in the Middle East and now becoming better known in North America) can be used to create a sublime eating experience.

Printable Recipe

From my book,
World Vegan Feast (Vegan Heritage Press, 2011)
Serves 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
8 cups vegan broth (you may need another cup or two of broth if the soup seems too thick for you in the end)
1 tablespoon yeast extract, such as Marmite
1/2 cup yellow split peas, picked over, rinsed, and drained
3 medium beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 cups cooked brown basmati rice
1 small bunch green onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup minced parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice or 3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses OR 1 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pound fresh spinach, cleaned and trimmed, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Optional: 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Garnish—mix together:
1 tablespoon dried mint, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large pot.  Add the onions and sauté over medium-high heat until the onions wilt.  Add the broth, Marmite, and split peas to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam that gathers on top. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Add the beets and cooked rice and cook 30 minutes.

Add the green onions, sugar, lemon or lime juice, parsley, and pomegranate molasses or juice. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Bring the soup to a boil again, and add the spinach, stirring as it wilts. Stir in cilantro, if you are using it. Add more broth if it seems too thick to you, and taste for salt.

Serve hot, sprinkling each serving with some of the Garnish, and plenty of Arabic-style flat breads, pita, (recipes here and here) or crusty bread, alongside.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 226.2 calories; 12% calories from fat; 3.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 1131.5mg sodium; 942.8mg potassium; 38.6g carbohydrates; 9.0g fiber; 11.9g sugar; 29.6g net carbs; 11.2g protein; 4.0 points.



Betsy DiJulio said...

My mouth is watering. Forget this "virtual" business, I think I am going to save my pennies and come to the island for our shared birthdays!

Anonymous said...

What an interesting soup! I've never heard of that before!

By the way, your go back link leads to the homepage, maybe you could change the link to the post it's

Happy VVP!

Lucille said...

Thank you, Bryanna! A lovely article! I will eventually try this soup especially with winter coming on. I have tried to get the chicken broth you mention. Amazon will not deliver to my address. I live in Ottawa. Do you know where I could get it? I would feel so much more confident to try many of your recipes if only I could get this ingredient. It sounds fabulous and everybody raves about its taste.

Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} said...

This is a beautiful soup. I love beets and this shorbat looks incredible. Thanks for sharing and happy VVP!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Lucille, carries Better Than Bouillon Vegetable base We should lobby them to carry the No-chicken! But any large health food or natural food store should carry it. I shop in a small city on Vancouver island and our local HFS carries the no-chicken one. If your's doesn't stick it, maybe they'd get it in for you.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said... Thanks! I changed the link. The one they sent on the list didn't work last night, so I just put your home page link in and was planning to check for the right one this morning. (it's only 7:10 am here!). I haven't had a chance to even look at the other blogs yet! Your soup looks fabulous-- just commented!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Lucille, I see that also carries Edward & Sons Not-Chicken broth cubes, but they are pretty exensive (you have to get a case of 12). I went to their website and the price (without shipping) is about $20 cheaper. You have to contact them about shipping up here (you can't go through the webstore for non-US shipping), though, but it might be worth a try. I've heard good things about their products.
Edward & Sons Trading Company, Inc.
P.O. Box 1326
Carpinteria, CA 93014
Phone (805) 684-8500
Fax (805) 684-8220

Anonymous said...

This shorbat sounds utterly divine! What a beautiful dish in every respect xx

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Lucille, Edward & Sons has a low-sodium version of their cubes, too.

Annie said...

Thank you for sharing your inspiration for this lovely soup, Bryanna. I was in Iraq during 2004 - truly an awe-inspiring and sobering experience.

Thank you so much for coming to the Potluck! Great to have you "here!"

Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) said...

That DOES look like a big bowl of utter deliciousness. I love love love lemon-y lentil-y soups (I even posted one recently!) with spinach and rice, and I also love pomegranate molasses; I can only imagine how amazing this all tastes together. I am bookmarking this recipe to make it soon for sure. Thank you for such a wonderful contribution to the VVP!

Lucille said...

Thanks, Bryanna! I'll look into it! I am determined to get this product and I will keep trying. I have made a note of the information you have given me and will see about those products you mention. Thank you so much.

GiGi said...

A rich hued and beautiful soup for a rich history.
Yes, May we all come together at the table one day.
This is the post I have come across during the vvp that utilizes pomegranate molasses, I have intrigued and must get some. I am pleased that I came to this party.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of this soup before, the vibrant red hue is amazing! I'm really intrigued by the combination of flavours, you've just given me a strong desire to go pull your cookbook from my shelf and try out some of the recipes I haven't made yet.

Laura said...

What an amazing recipe! Wish I had some right now!

Teresa said...

This soup looks amazing! Thank you so much for sharing.

Yinka said...

Thank you not only for this beautiful recipe but the story behind it. This is a much needed type of nourishment!!! You remind me that the energy we put into things like cooking and feeding others has wider repercussions than we often consider.

Keely said...

Oh yum! I love discovering new dishes from this part of the world and this one looks so beautiful. I will definitely be making this, great to find even more uses for the pomegranate molasses that I adore! Thanks!