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:
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
Chop all of the veg + garlic and fry gently in the olive oil. Don't let them catch on the bottom
Make up the litre of stock in a measuring jug
Add the paprika or cayenne to the pan
Then the lentils
Stir thoroughly to combine
Add the tomatoes & puree. Stir again.
Add the hot stock & the salt + pepper
Simmer for 25 minutes, then leave to cool slightly
Blitz with a stick blender or in a jug
Check the seasoning and serve with the garnishes
And totally enjoy such a simple, delicious, warming dish ;-)