Fakies, or Greek Lentil soup, is a very popular dish to make during the season of Lent that precedes Greek Easter. It’s considered ideal for fasting because it is completely vegan, yet very nourishing. During this time of fasting it’s important to eat plenty of vegetable and legume based protein to compensate for not eating meat or poultry. I remember eating this several times at week during Lent when I was little, and I still love it today!
Of course, there is nothing to say that you can’t make this any time during the year. I’m not as strict about fasting with my family and I consider this a classic, nourishing winter soup. I’ve given it my own twist by adding carrots because they are everywhere in America and my children like them. In Greece that aren’t as readily available so they are typically not in the soup. As with all good Greek dishes – this one is very flexible and you can add whatever vegetables you’d like!
Making this is quite easy. It begins with chopping the vegetables and measuring out the ingredients. Then the entire soup is assembled on the stovetop. Once the vegetables are softened and the lentils are toasted you can add the liquid and set it to simmer. In this recipe we use water, but I know people who make it with chicken stock for more flavor when it’s not Lent! After the appropriate amount of time on the stovetop I remove the bay leaves and ladle out the soup with a small pitcher of red wine vinegar on the side.
When I was growing up I was told that adding a splash of vinegar to the soup makes it easier for your body to absorb the iron from the lentils. I have absolutely no idea if that is true, but I generally do love the flavor of the vinegar in the soup so I always have it on the table so people can add what they want.
I hope you enjoy this delicious soup in your household. It’s nourishing, warm, and hearty - the perfect soup for any family meal!
FAKIES | GREEK LENTIL SOUP
This soup is traditionally served during Lent, the season preceding Greek Easter. It’s completely vegan and very nourishing. I make it year-round for my family because it is so healthy and hearty. It was also a very popular menu item at our Greek restaurant.
Makes 6-8 Servings
Timing: 10 minutes prep, 40 cooking
1 16oz bag brown lentils
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
½ tsp cumin
¼ cup olive oil
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp white vinegar
10 cups water + 2 tablespoons
½ cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Optional: red wine vinegar for serving
In a large pot, add the olive oil and bring to medium heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the onion and chopped garlic and sauté until fragrant and onions are becoming translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the carrots and continue to sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
Add the lentils and stir to coat with the oil and vegetable mixture.
Add the vinegar, and stir to combine. You’ll hear a sizzle and this is okay!
Add the cumin and bay leaves and stir to combine. Once combined, add 10 cups of water and ½ cup of vegetable stock. Bring this to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover it and let it cook for about 40 minutes.
Mix the remaining 2 tbsp of water with the tomato paste, bring the heat back up on the pot of soup add the mixture to the soup. Let the soup come back to a simmer, and it’s ready to serve!
Add additional vinegar while serving if you’d like and enjoy!
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