It’s the perfect time of year for this warming winter vegetable lentil soup. The dark, grey days that follow Christmas often feel like some of the bleakest of the year. Spring feels a long way away and thoughts of the cold, damp, fog that is just the other side of the front door need pushing from our minds.
This hearty soup uses ingredients you most likely already have in the house. It’s made with winter veg, nutritious filling lentils and store cupboard spices. What’s more, it’s really adaptable. If you follow the recipe to the letter you’ll end up with a delicious winter soup, but if you are missing some of the ingredients then just substitute them for something else. You can use pretty much any winter veg you have in, especially root veg.
If you are missing one of the spices then just add a bit more of one of the other spices, or even a teaspoon of garam masala or curry powder and if you don’t have lentils in then try cannellini or flageolet beans. As long as you stick to the basic recipe you won’t go far wrong. And the lime juice? It just wakes up the flavours and brings the whole thing to life. An easy, nutritious, warming soup. What more could you want on a cold winters day? Happy slurping.
Spiced Lentil and Vegetable Soup
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 medium onion (finely diced)
- 1 ½ cups winter veg* (diced small, i.e. 3 medium carrots or 1 whole leek etc)
- 3 large cloves garlic (crushed)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1½ teaspoons coriander
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 small pinch chilli flakes
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 1 tin green or brown lentils (drained)
- 1 tin 400g chopped tomatoes
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock
- 3 savoy cabbage leaves (tough stalks removed and cut up small or 2 large handfuls fresh spinach or kale)
- Juice of half a lime
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and the winter veg and cook, stirring occasionally and taking care that it doesn’t brown, until the onion is translucent and the veg have begun to soften, 5-7 minutes
- Add the garlic and the five spices and cook, stirring, for a minute or so.
- Add the thyme, lentils, tomatoes and stock. Stir, cover and bring to the boil then leave to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Now add the cabbage leaves or spinach and allow to cook. The spinach will only take one minute, the cabbage and kale will take around 5-6 minutes.
- Taste, add the lime juice and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
- Serve with a grating of parmesan on top, or with fresh bread and a chunk of cheese.
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