Makhlouta is a thick, hearty Middle Eastern soup. It is made with lentils and bulgur wheat, and it is great on a cold winter day. A bowl of this soup with a crunchy salad and some toasted pita bread makes a delicious meal.

By Michele Kayal 

Hands-on time:
1 hour
Total time:
3 hours
to 10 Cups

Kitchen Gear

Large heavy-bottomed pot
Measuring cup
Sharp knife (adult needed) 
Cutting board
Measuring spoons
Wooden spoon or heatproof spatula
Pot holders


1⁄4 cup olive oil
2 onions, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 1⁄2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1⁄4 teaspoon tumeric
7 1⁄2 cups water
1⁄2 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
1⁄4 cup white or brown rice
1⁄4 cup coarse bulgur wheat (see note)
2 teaspoons salt


Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.

  1. Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. When it is hot, carefully add the oil. 
  2. Add the onions, garlic, and spices and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. 
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Boil for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and turn the heat to low. Partially cover and cook for 2 hours.
  5. Taste the soup. Does it need more spices? A pinch of salt? If so, add some and taste again.
  6. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. 


Bulgur wheat, sometimes called cracked wheat, comes in sizes from #1, which is the finest, to #4, which is the coarsest. That’s what we use here. You can find bulgur wheat in Middle Eastern markets, as well as in natural food stores and some supermarkets.