Nourishing Red Lentil Soup

This is a cracker of a soup.  My all time favourite. Whenever there is a fresh batch in the pot I can’t stop myself eating it. I have just finished making a brew to take photos for this post and have already inhaled two bowls full !  On a cold day it is heart warming comfort food at the same time crammed with healthy nutrition.  Your body will love you for it.  It is very thick and also works well served cold as a dip with crudités, toasted french bread or vege sticks.  If you’re feeling adventurous add a tin of chickpeas or cannelini beans, red kidney or butter beans to the brew as well.  Have fun with it – you can’t go wrong with this recipe.  Children love to help in the kitchen, Bekele (4yrs) had fun blending the spices for me in the mortar and pestle – check his cute pic at the bottom of the post 🙂

Ingredients

4 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

4 medium red onions, sliced fairly finely

2 litres vegetable stock, hot

1 cup dried red lentils

3 tbs cumin seeds

1 tsp ground paprika

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

5cm piece of ginger, grated

optional: seeds from 10 cardamom pods, 1/4 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp ground turmeric

lemons for squeezing

coriander leaves for garnish

fresh ground black pepper and sea salt

Method

Put all spices in a mortar and pestle and grind until well mixed and the cumin and cardamom seeds (if you are using them) have broken down a little  (they don’t need to be powder).  Place onions oil ginger and spices into a large heavy bottomed pot and turn on to a low heat.  Stir gently to toast the spices for one minute – you will smell the the aromatic oils being released – then add the tomatoes hot stock and lentils.  Stir to combine, turn up the heat to get the mixture to a gentle simmer and simmer stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.  The lentils have a tendency to stick to the bottom – hence stirring quite important !  When cooked remove from heat and season – tasting the mixture to ensure the correct amount of salt and pepper is used.  Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh coriander.  YUM

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