Vegetable Lentil Soup

As always I just rummaged to see what I could find in my house and came up with this soup that was so delicious I decided to write it down to remember how I made it.

Lentil Vegetable soup is just so nourishing and comforting, it's like a bowl of minestrone but without the pasta in it so there is a good dose of protein by using Lentil instead.  The secret to any good soup is stock.  I used to have time to make my own stock with all the left over vegetables, I still do on occasions and then freeze it into cubes to use.  This time I resorted to one of the cartons from Whole foods, Low Sodium Vegetable Broth.  These are great in times of need and speed and I find myself using them more and more.  Just be conscious to read the ingredients to make sure they don't have too much unnecessary additional ingredients in them.  I find just using the broth the flavour gets a bit intense, so I tend to use 2/3 broth and then add an additional 1/3 water.  i don't really measure things I just add water to cover everything and leave about half a finger worth of water on top for reduction.  

You will need:

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 celery sticks chopped
  • 1 courgette chopped
  • 1 carton of vegetable broth
  • few cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • dash (about a table spoon or to taste) of Worcestershire sauce
  • Aprox 2 table spoons of tomato paste
  • Cup of green lentils (you could use any type, the firm lentils are better, like yellow and green as they retain their shape and don't go mushy like the red lentils you use for Dhal)
  • handful of chopped kale (add at the end)
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley (add at the end)

The secret to good soup is sweating off the vegetables for AGES!!!  Put the onion, carrot, celery and courgette into a pan with some olive oil and sweat them off with a pinch of salt for a good 15 minutes until really tender and you can smell all the flavours of the vegetables.

Then add the vegetable stock and water to cover everything and let reduce for about 10 minutes.  After this I add the tomato paste and mix in to give a nice warm colour, it also thickens it up a bit.  I also add the herbs and sauce at this point and do everything by taste, so my guidelines are pretty rough, add more or less as you desire flavours.  You will feel like Goldilocks and go 'mmm, just right' when you hit that sweet spot!  I refrain from black pepper and too much salt until serving as flavour changes so much as you reduce and cook soup.

Once you have added all your spices add the lentils, then just leave the soup on a really low heat for an additional 20 minutes or until it's nice and thick.  Then add the kale and parsley and you can serve when you want. It's really yummy, warming and soothing.

Timings are very rough, just keep an eye on it and keep tasting it! ENJOY!