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Preserved lemons (Recipe: slow cooker lentil and brown rice soup with preserved lemons and garlic sausage)


One important thing to know about preserved lemons:

A condiment used extensively in North African cuisine, preserved lemons don't taste like fresh lemons at all, and you really can't substitute one for the other. Preserved lemons, pickled in a salty brine, taste most like capers -- a mildly fruity and floral flavor that adds a surprising bite to soups and stews -- and you can slip them into dishes that usually call for capers. Best of all, It's incredibly easy to make them in your own kitchen. All you need are lemons, kosher salt, a glass jar, and a little bit of patience.

Cooking or baking?
Cooking. In tagines and stews, in fish dishes, and in olive tapenades.

In the refrigerator. As long as the lemons are covered with brine, they will keep for up to one year.

Pantry ingredients in this recipe:
Preserved lemons (more facts and ingredient photo)
Brown rice
Soy sauce

Lentiland brown rice soup

Slow cooker lentil and brown rice soup with preserved lemon and garlic chicken sausage

The combination of preserved lemon and garlic really makes this soup sing. For the stovetop version of this recipe, please visit Soup Chick. Serves 6.


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
12 oz roasted garlic chicken sausage, cut in half lengthwise, then cut across into 1/4-inch moons
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup lentils
1/2 cup brown rice
9 cups stock (I use homemade rotisserie chicken stock, but use any type of stock you have, or water)
1 Tbsp soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 Tbsp minced preserved lemon rind, plus additional for garnish
1 tsp fresh black pepper, or more to taste (I used 1 Tbsp)
Kosher salt, if needed, to taste


In a frying pan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onions and sausage, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until the sausage is lightly browned on both sides.

Transfer onions and sausage to a 4-quart slow cooker, along with the remaining ingredients. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, until the rice is tender. Check the level of liquid during that time; if necessary, add 1 cup of water to keep the lentils from sticking.

Serve hot, garnished with additional minced preserved lemon rind, or allow to cool completely and freeze for up to six months. When you are ready to reheat, you'll probably have to add water or more stock, as the lentils and rice will absorb every bit of liquid you give them.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Chicken with preserved lemon and olives
Couscous salad with herbs
Salmon tagine with chermoula
Split pea, sausage and preserved lemon soup
Lentils with spinach and preserved lemon

Other recipes that use preserved lemon:
Grilled wild salmon with preserved lemon relish, from Simply Recipes
Moroccan eggplant salad with preserved lemon, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Israeli couscous with butternut squash and preserved lemons, from David Lebovitz
Pomegranate lamb tagine with preserved Meyer lemons, from No Recipes
Tuna tartare with preserved lemons, from Beyond Salmon

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I have a jar of lovely preserved lemons waiting for this recipe.
My first taste of them was in Israel at the home of an an in-law with roots in Egypt, an enlightening experience.

Iranians use a variation on Preserved lemons, too. I just recently tasted a dish with meatballs, preserved lemon and eggplant that was so, so good!

This looks great! I love lentil many different ways. I have been wanting to make preserved lemons when my lemons are ready...usually December. I am going to make this soon though, great recipe!

Susan, I'd love to know some Egyptian recipes that use preserved lemons. I think they are such a wonderful ingredient.

Julia, your blog post about Iranian cooking really caught my interest. Must learn more about that cuisine.

Lyndsey, it's so easy to make preserved lemons, especially if you have your own lemon tree. They last for a year, and take just a few minutes to make, so I do hope you make them.

Lentils are my go-to comfort food. This soup would keep me happy for days!

Now THIS I can do! I see preserved lemons in my future!

I made this on Sunday...didn't have any preserved lemons so I left it out. Even without the lemons, this was one of the most tasty dishes I've ever cooked...and my family loved it! It was easy too.

Thanks for the recipe.

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