Tomato, chilli and red lentil soup

I made a rather disappointing soup the other day. I had a bulb of fennel and a few carrots hanging around so I thought I’d roast them and make soup. Hmm I wasn’t convinced- even when boosted by fennel seeds and plenty of S&P it was bland. I’m sure it was down to the lack of good stock but it made me convinced to find a good staple soup for the coming chilly months.

Sausages and soup are probably the only the only pre made foods I buy regularly and whilst the former is totally acceptable the latter is a bit of a cop out on my part I think.

I’ve always associated soup making with tons of effort and chosen to give it a miss. Why bother when the pots in the supermarket are so tasty I thought?! Plus given I only eat it on weekends my freezer isn’t large enough for me to batch make it which I used to see as the only time proportionate way of making it.

But then I had half a tin of tomatoes left over and coriander plant that was only just hanging in there and I decided to make this. As someone who less than a year ago fervently hated coriander my brother was a little shocked when I heaped a pile of torn leaves on top of each of our bowls but it really goes! And more than you’re first think- personally I want a leaf in most mouthfuls.

Roughly adding up the cost I would say the recipe below costs 50p to make (25p per portion) compared to the £2+ of a similar one in the supermarket. Thinking now about the 25p v £3.45 I pay for soup in Pret I should start taking this to work too!

The recipe is pretty simple and so there’s little excuse not to give it a go if like me you are a serial supermarket souper. I plan to work on a few more similarly quick and small batch soups over the next few weeks so let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to try 🙂

Serves 2
Adapted from BBC Good Food

1tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1tsp turmeric
Vegetable oil
1/2 onion
1/2 tin (200g) chopped tomatoes
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
70g red lentils
Small bunch of coriander

  • Fry the cumin and chilli for 15secs in a dry pan over a medium heat so that they start to release their oils and you can smell them, then add the turmeric and fry for 15secs more. Add the oil to heat it up.
  • Turn the heat down to low and the onion with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring every now and then, until softened (about 5 mins)
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, stock and lentils to the pan, bring to the boil before turning down again to simmer for 15mins.
  • When the lentils are tender blitz with the soup with a stick blender (or in a vitamix/ what ever processor you have) before seasoning and scattering with coriander leaves and extra chilli if desired.

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