1large brown onion (180g or 1 ½cups of the chopped onion)finely chopped
1largecarrot (70g or ½ a cup of the chopped carrot)peeled then chopped
1stalk of celery (⅓ of a cup of chopped celery)finely chopped
2cloves of garlicminced
¼tspdried red chilli flakes
⅛tsp cayenne pepper
A small handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)leaves removed and the stems finely chopped
1heaped tbsptomato puree (paste)
1400g/ 14.5oz can of chopped (diced) tomatoes
1litre / 4 cups of vegetable stock made with 2 stock cubes
150g 1 cup of dried red lentils
2dried bay leaves
½tspof sea salt
¼tspof freshly cracked black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.Add the chopped onion, celery and carrot and cook for 10 minutes. Stir the vegetables occasionally.
Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, ¼ teaspoon of dried red chilli flakes, ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, ½ a teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 level teaspoon of ground cumin and the chopped coriander (cilantro) stems to the onion mixture and stir well.Cook for a minute then add a heaped tablespoon of tomato puree and stir it into the vegetables.
Now pour in the chopped tomatoes and the vegetable stock and stir well, then add the lentils to the pan. Stir well again.Add the bay leaf and season with the salt and black pepper.Simmer for 20 minutes or until the red lentils are cooked.Stir in the chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves now.Remove the bay leaf.You can now blend the soup if you wish. I use a handheld blender to blend the soup.Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and a scatter of chopped coriander(cilantro) leaves.
Stock - I used two vegetable stock cubes to make the stock for this soup. You can use a store-bought ready-made stock or a homemade stock. However, if you do I recommend diluting that stock by adding half a cup of water to it.
Red Lentils - Dried red lentils work best in this soup, however, you could use chickpeas or cannellini beans if you wish. Do not blend the soup if you use beans in it.
Vegetables - This is a great soup for adding in veggies, spinach or kale works really well in this too.
Spices - If you prefer less heat in your soup then omit the cayenne pepper and reduce the amount of the red chilli flakes. If I was serving this to young children I would also omit the red chilli flakes.
Nutritional Information - is approximate, it is calculated using an online nutrition tool and is based on one serving of 6. It does not include toppings such as yoghurt.
Freezing - To freeze the soup do not add the chopped coriander/cilantro leaves. Leave the soup to cool then transfer it to freezer bags, remove any excess air then seal and place in the freezer. The soup will last for 3 months in the freezer. Defrost the soup overnight in the fridge before heating on the hob until piping hot.
Making ahead - The soup can be made a day or two beforehand. Don't add the coriander/cilantro leaves until you are ready to serve. Store the soup in the fridge once cooled and use within two days.
Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible.