- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 fennel bulb, peeled, cored and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 (14 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes (with juice)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup dried lentils, picked through and rinsed
- 3 cups canned chick-peas, drained and rinsed
- 4 sprigs cilantro
- 4 sprigs parsley
- 2 dried bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- In a medium sized pot heat the olive oil at medium heat and add fennel, gently cooking for a couple of minutes while the fennel releases its natural juices.
- Add the red and white onions, cook until soft and translucent, but without turning brown, stirring mixture from time to time, about 12 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and increase heat to high until the mixture comes to a simmer (about 5 minutes).
- Add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic and saffron if using, letting them infuse the mixture with their flavors for a few more minutes.
- Add the lentils, vegetable stock, sprigs of cilantro and parsley and bay leaves and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Season with salt, pepper and sugar, stirring the mixture a couple of times. Cover pot and let simmer for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
- Add the cooked chickpeas and cook uncovered for another 5 to 7 minutes until heated through.
- Mix well, season again with salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Remove bay leafs and sprigs of cilantro and parsley.