VEGAN | GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE
There’s nothing quite like a bowl of chunky lentil soup to warm you up when the weather is a little chilly outside or you just want comfort food. This is a fantastic recipe which is soup-er easy to make and can be whipped up in no time. Provided you’ve been soaking your lentils! Plus, it’s easy on the stomach if your body takes offence at onions or garlic, yet it still tastes delicious as it relies on spices for taste.
Unlike many soups, we’ve used brown lentils in this recipe. They’re less creamy but they provide a great texture. And they’re the cheapest lentils you’ll find! You can buy 500g of dried brown lentils for less than £1.50; great for those on a budget. All the spices too are ones which are commonly found in most kitchens. Even if you’re not used to cooking at home, this really is a foolproof recipe. And what’s great is that because it’s a soup, you can be quite free and easy with ingredients. Got a bit of leftover carrot? Throw it in! Not got much ground coriander? Add in some extra cumin! Found some za’atar in the back of your cupboard? Try adding it on top for garnish and extra zing.
Oh, and did we mention that lentils are also choc-ful of healthy benefits? It’s thought that in Spain and Italy, their lower rates of heart disease are down to the fact they eat lentils. It makes sense – they contain 44% insoluble dietary fibre which helps keep your toilet habits regular and can help control cholesterol. Their fat content is low and they are also rich in vitamins, including vitamin A (great for eye health) and vitamin C. They’re also a fantastic source of protein and keep you feeling fuller for longer as they’re also complex carbohydrates.
There’s a big debate about whether to soak lentils first before you use them. And how long they take to cook. It all really depends on how your lentils are – the older they are, the longer they take to cook – I once spent EIGHT HOURS cooking dried kidney beans (we’d soaked them overnight too) and they were still crunchy which made for a most interesting chilli sin carne! Technically, you can cook them from dried (just give them a rinse first in cold water) but I always like to give them at least a few hours soaking before in cold water.
You’ll need a blender for this recipe. We found that a standing blender worked well, but there’s no need to splash out when a hand blender costing under £10 does exactly the same job.
- 500g dried brown lentils
- 3 tsp ground cumin or cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped (de-seed for less heat, keep the seeds for some real heat)
- 3 tsp garam masala
- 1 veggie stock cube
- 700ml water
- Salt / pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan with a little oil, heat the spices and chilli gently for a minute, making sure they don't stick.
- Rinse your lentils in cold water and add to the saucepan, stirring through the spices.
- Add your veggie stock cube in 700ml hot water and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for 45 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Add more water if necessary.
- Blend together and put back into the pan and add salt or pepper to taste.
- Serve hot, garnished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, chopped fresh coriander, a dollop of dairy-free yoghurt or sprinkling of za'atar.
- You can serve this with or without a topping - so many things 'go' with this recipe that you can experiment as much as you like. You can even try a spoonful of hummous with it if you don't have yoghurt!
- Bread of course, also goes fantastically.