I have my lovely au pair to thank for my posting this recipe. Like me, Dajana loves spending her free time in the kitchen and scrolling through the internet in search of new recipes. Recently, she came across a carrot and lentil soup recipe. It was very yummy. But we both agreed it needed some tweaking. So tweak away I did, a few times, until I was pleasantly satisfied with the final outcome.
This is a soup that sticks to your bones. It’s heavy and hearty enough for a winter meal but surprisingly very healthy. The creaminess of the coconut milk and the filling lentils leave you feeling satisfied but without the guilt that comes hand in hand with a delicious but calorie packed chowder. Finishing it off with a generous handful of coriander (a.k.a cilantro, depending on which side of the pond you reside) lifts the soup just that extra bit and balances nicely with the earthiness of the lentils and cumin.
The best part of the soup is how quick it is to make. Just a few things to chop and Voila, dinner done! Serve with some crusty bread, pappadums or naan and a salad and you are ready to kick your feet up on the couch next to the fire and get stuck in.
Unfortunately, my culinary talents often go wasted on my children who, despite having a chef as a mother, would rather eat ham and butter sandwiches for lunch than lentil soup. My girls love olives and Brie but not lentil soup. However, I did make this for a friend’s kids and they licked their bowls clean. So, give it a whirl with the wee ones – if they don’t enjoy it you will be secretly pleased to have more for yourself!
- Olive or coconut oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional or add more for more heat)
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 tablespoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons coriander
- 1 tablespoon sweet (not spicy) paprika
- 2 cups/430g orange lentils
- 8 cups/ 2 liters vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes with their seeds and juice or 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup or 4 tablespoons tomato paste (tomato concentrate)
- 1 14oz can of coconut milk
- 1 bunch of coriander/cilantro, chopped
- Heat a glug of olive oil or a dollop of coconut oil until hot but not smoking.
- Saute the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot and chili flakes over medium heat until soft but not brown.
- Add the cumin, coriander and paprika and toss to coat and toast the spices, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the lentils and stock to the pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and coconut milk to the pot and simmer, gently, for another 15 minutes.
- Serve in bowls and top with a sprinkling (or more) of chopped cilantro.