Lentil soup is perfect for this cooler autumnal weather. Red lentils don’t need cooking beforehand and add a lovely thickness to soups. The basic soup is a lovely vegan meal starter or lunch. To turn it into a main course, add vegetables and jazz it up with garnishes. Chili, coriander, lime and fish sauce is my favourite combo. Start with the basics and then build your dream soup.
Update: It’s easy to turn this stunning dhal, into next day lentil soup, by adding vegetable stock to leftovers.
Red lentil soup
1-2 tabs olive or mild vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds, whole or crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
1.5 -2 litres of vegetable stock
sea salt and pepper to season
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 cup sweet potato or pumpkin, diced
1 generous handful kale or leafy greens, washed and sliced into ribbons
Garnishes that pep up the flavour
Fresh coriander, a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, fried shallot, fresh chili, fish sauce, cubes of fried tofu, hard boiled egg, shredded cooked chicken or fish.
Saute the onion in oil over a low heat, until transparent. Add crushed garlic and cumin. Cook for another minute or two and then add the rinsed lentils. Stir. Pour in the stock and bring the heat up to a simmer. Don’t season yet, as depending on the type of stock used, it may need very little extra salt. Cook over a gentle heat for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally.
Variations: Add root vegetables (e.g. diced carrot, pumpkin or sweet potato) to the pot, with the lentils. If using leafy greens, add after the soup has been cooking for 20 minutes then continue cooking til the greens have softened.
You can eat the soup plain or add garnishes or protein for extra flavour.
Don’t like lentils? Check out the dozen or so soups in the recipe archive.
This recipe was first published in Gill’s freemonthly e-newsletter. If you’d like to receive simple recipes, health tips and lifestyle wisdom sign up here.