Let’s face it, lentils are never going to look pretty so excuse my poor photography. But, there’s probably nothing better to come home to on a dark, wintery weekday evening than a bowl of flavoursome, hearty lentil soup.
Even if you’re not a fan of these little wonders I’d urge you to give them a try, they give such a full, meaty flavour to whatever you add them to that you rarely need to add fat and are super healthy.
Here’s my kitchen cupboard recipe to get rid of all your random leftover veg. I found that I always get left with a few carrots, possibly some celery and these are the perfect starting ingredients for a soup. Pair those with some leeks, lentils and tinned tomatoes and you’re onto a winner.
I also like to make this soup in bulk in the peace of a Sunday afternoon and that then sorts lunch at work out for a few days.
Ingredients (makes 8 portions):
3 large leeks
3 medium carrots
4 sticks celery
Large handful fresh parsley
250g green or brown lentils
400g can chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 large garlic clove
2 litres chicken stock
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp smoked paprika
Extra virgin Olive oil
1. Slice the leeks to half cm slices (discarding tips and base). Crush the garlic and add both to a large pan on medium heat with some olive oil. Sweat down, don’t allow to burn.
2. Slice the carrots and celery into small cubes (as small as you can get) and add to the pan.
3. Add the tomato paste, mix in and continue to sweat down until the veg is soft. If the pan dries, keep adding just a little olive oil.
4. Once the veg is softened, add the tomatoes, chicken stock, cumin, smoked paprika and the lentils and simmer for approx 40 mins, don’t let the lentils soften too much but make sure they’re fully cooked.
5. Finely chop the parsley and add to the soup mixing in.
6. Serve with a little extra virgin olive oil and some more chopped parsley.
Give it a try, it’s super easy and you can pretty much add whatever you want to it. I reckon you could add peppers, kale or whatever leftovers you might have and it would still make a lovely dinner.
The ultimate winter warmer and it’s even healthy, you just can’t go wrong. Enjoy!