Dried limes, or black limes, provide a complex flavor to many Iranian dishes. They not only give the tang of a fresh lime, but also add a fermented, musky depth of flavor. In this lentil soup, the dried lime and sumac add brightness to match the fresh herbs.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
½ cup red lentils
½ cup beluga lentils
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped dill
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1 black lime, poked with a knife (optional)
2 teaspoons sumac
5 to 6 fresh chopped tomatoes, or a 14 oz can
salt & black pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté onion, carrots, and celery until soft, but not browned. This will take about 6–7 minutes.
Add red lentils, beluga lentils, turmeric, paprika, parsley, dill, mint, black lime, and sumac. Stir to combine.
Add enough water to cover everything by about 1”.
Raise the heat to bring to a boil, and then lower to simmer.
Once the lentils are fully cooked, about half an hour, add the chopped tomatoes and salt.
Let simmer an additional 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove the black lime.
Serve immediately, and garnish with mint, parsley, and dill.