Red lentil soup is a soup rooted in Middle-Eastern cuisine particularly Lebanon and Israel. It is a solid source of protein and dietary fibre, as well as being tasty and economical. This ‘half an hour soup’ could easily be made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. I have kept it close to its roots taking it to another level with a feta, yogurt and herb mix. This works well if you are trying to eat a small lunch as it will keep you going until the evening.
Ingredients (serves 4)
500g red lentils
60 ml sunflower oil (4 tablespoons)
4 litres of vegetable stock (good stock powder is fine)
1 small tin of chopped tomatoes
2 medium sized onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 fresh red chili or a pinch of cayenne pepperFor the garnish
1 small pot of natural yogurt (120g)
100g Greek feta cheese
1 spring onion or shallot, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
10 grams of fresh coriander
10 grams of fresh mint
Heat the oil, then add the chopped onions and pressed garlic. When the onions and garlic are soft add the spices, chili and black pepper, stir into a thick paste. Add the red lentils, then the stock and tomatoes. Stir together, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for a further 25 minutes. Turn off the heat.
With a stick blender or a food processor pulse the soup 8 or 9 times. Don’t blend until it’s a smooth soup, pulsing just brings it together. If you don’t have either accessories don’t worry it will still be good.
Season with a few drops of fresh lemon and sea salt
Put the yoghurt in a bowl, crumble in the feta, add the lemon zest, chopped mint and spring onion. Mix really well with a few drops of lemon.
Pour the soup into the bowl, add a generous spoon of the feta mix in the middle then the fresh coriander broken onto the yogurt-feta mix. I like to drizzle a few drops of olive oil on the top (optional).