Simple Tomato & Red Lentil Soup


This is a hearty, healthy store cupboard favourite, perfect for a simple weeknight, a packed lunch or simply to keep you going through the day: a mug of soup makes a great on-the-go snack - balancing blood sugar in a particularly nourishing way..


Cooked tomatoes contain phyto-chemicals and carotenoids such as beta-carotene (from which the body makes eye-protecting Vitamin A) and lycopene which is known to have heart protective properties. Cooking them in olive oil also greatly enhances these properties.They are high in anti-oxidants such as all important vitamin C & contain useful amounts of vitamin E, so they score highly as healthy anti-agers, as well as nourishing the immune system. You can of course use fresh tomatoes for this recipe in Summer, but a good brand of tinned tomatoes will do just fine too. Celery, carrots & onions all contain plenty of vitamins & minerals such as potassium, magnesium and a range of helpful phyto-chemicals. The warming spices also add to the anti-oxidants potential here.


Red lentils are a store cupboard favourite - easy to cook & digest, great for your gut (protecting the bowel & supporting your microbiome), but they are also high in protein and rich in nerve supporting B Vitamins, particularly Niacin (B3). Lentils contain valuable minerals such as zinc and iron too - and eating them with vitamin C rich foods such as tomatoes, makes these important minerals that much more absorbable.


The phyto-oestrogenic effect of all lentils and chickpeas can help balance your hormones too - so you can mix and match in this recipe depending on what you have in the cupboard.


This recipe makes 4+ portions:


Ingredients

2 tbsps good olive oil, more to drizzle at the end

1 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, smashed

1 medium carrot, diced

1 stick of celery, chopped

1 litre of hot vegetable stock (from a cube or bouillon)

1/2 cup - or about 80g of red lentils, rinsed

1 can of quality tinned tomatoes (or 4 large fresh ones)

1 tsp tomato puree

1 large pinch of cayenne pepper, or smoked paprika

1 large pinch of salt

Several good grinds of fresh black pepper

Nutritional Yeast flakes and/or fresh herbs to garnish


Method

  1. Chop all of the veg + garlic and fry gently in the olive oil. Don't let them catch on the bottom

  2. Make up the litre of stock in a measuring jug

  3. Add the paprika or cayenne to the pan

  4. Then the lentils

  5. Stir thoroughly to combine

  6. Add the tomatoes & puree. Stir again.

  7. Add the hot stock & the salt + pepper

  8. Simmer for 25 minutes, then leave to cool slightly

  9. Blitz with a stick blender or in a jug

  10. Check the seasoning and serve with the garnishes


And totally enjoy such a simple, delicious, warming dish ;-)

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