Lentils are the fast food of legumes, they don’t need any soaking and can cook within 20 minutes, which make them a great contender for embracing Veganuary or just resetting the body after all the feasting. Whichever way you look at it, these little protein bombs make instant non challenging fuel, perhaps a little windy but the more you chew the less you jet propel and they are definitely kind to the pocket.
I must confess to being a lentil fiend – I enjoy eating them just dressed in olive oil and salt but there are gazillions of recipes out there; lentil soups and stews, lentils and rice with crispy onions, lentil salads and dips. I have even baked cakes with success.
There are also numerous varieties and each one has its merit: The little red lentils, which conveniently dissolve upon cooking – great for feeding lentil-phobes and making fast dals and soups. The Puy and Beluga lentils, which hold their shape and add colour and definition to dishes and the earthy green and brown lentils beloved of the Mediterranean and Middle East.
This recipe is one of the rush home and rummage in the vegetable basket numbers – flexible and nutritious. The flavouring can be as varied as the ingredients. Add oregano if you want to go Mediterranean, Lebanese seven spice or ground coriander and turmeric if you want to go Middle East, garam masala if you fancy Indian and if you have any fresh green herbs chop them and sprinkle on top when serving. Take some time to sweat the vegetables at the start of cooking and this will sweeten and enhance the flavours. A one-pot wonder guaranteed to seduce and nourish the family on a cold grey day.
Warming Winter Lentil Soup
200g lentils – red, brown or green
150mls olive oil
1 large onion – peeled and chopped
1-2 sticks celery – diced
2-3 cloves garlic – peeled and chopped
2 carrots – peeled and diced
500g pumpkin, squash or sweet potato – peeled and diced
1 can tomatoes – chopped
1-2 tsp of herb or spice of choice
1 litre vegetable stock
salt and pepper
chopped parsley or coriander to serve
Heat a saucepan with the olive oil and add the onions and diced celery. Cook on a medium heat until the onions soften then add the diced carrots and pumpkin/sweet potato/squash cook for five minutes then stir in the garlic. Cook for a minute or two then stir in the lentils. Stir so that the lentils are well coated, then add the tomatoes, oregano and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and cook for 25-35 minutes, until the lentils are soft but have not begun to disintegrate. Taste, then season with salt and black pepper. If the soup is too thick, thin with a little water. Stir in the chopped parsley before serving.
We’re getting ready to head off to Mexico to escape the cold and pick up a few new recipes to share but we’ll be back at the end of February ready to cook up a storm!
Our spring cooking class schedule is now available.
If you are interested or would like to book a class please pop into the shop to see us or drop us an email