Faisal’s Ramadan Lentil Soup

Ramadan, a holy month for practicing Muslims worldwide, is a month long, but it never lands on the same dates thanks to the confounding nature of the lunar calendar in the West. Like numerous families from the Middle East, mine has built a tradition of breaking fast with lentil soup at sunset throughout the month. Simply thinking about the ritual fills me with the fortitude that I wish for everyone in our community at RAICES.

Food brings people together across generations and divides. That is why I am sharing this recipe with you, in an effort to forge connections when we need it most. Like all recipes, mine carries with it an unwritten history and tradition and represents an evolution. Having never been one to follow directions without deviation, I take too many liberties to dare call it my mother’s recipe, but it honors her legacy even as I make it my own — something I hope you too will do.


  • 2 cups red lentils, dried
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 cups unsalted broth (chicken or veggies)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric


  1. Clean and drain the lentils.
  2. Fully submerge the lentils in a bowl of water and soak for 30 minutes and drain again.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot for 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Add the chopped onion and stir for 3-4 minutes with a wooden spoon, cooking until translucent.
  5. Add 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper, cumin, and turmeric each to the onions.
  6. Add the lentils and stir for 60 to 90 seconds.
  7. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover.
  8. Let simmer for approximately 30 minutes, covering the pot from time to time to stir and loosen any lentils and onions on the side or bottom of the pot.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup (Don’t tell Faisal’s mom about this method!)
  11. Return to heat and simmer for 5 minutes. If using, add 1 to 2 handfuls of vermicelli noodles.
  12. Adjust seasoning to your liking and serve!

Ramadan Mubarak,

Faisal Al-Juburi
Associate Vice President, Philanthropy