Tomato and Lentil Soup
It’s healthy lunch time again!
This is a simple guide to making a healthy soup which tastes lovely, is really satisfying and can be prepared in advance to last you a few days. Plus, there are a few simple variations you can make to keep it interesting. It is vegan and contains lentils – super healthy!
This Tomato and Lentil soup is a half-remembered recipe from a friend, so it’s a bit fast and loose with measurements and instructions. The good news is that it pretty much always tastes good and is tricky to ruin. Use it as a rough guide and trust your instincts.
Tomatoes – minimum 6 to make a couple of good portions, but it scales up well too.
1/2 a medium white onion
Red lentils – 50g
Sugar, salt & pepper
It’s that simple.
- Chop your onion into slices – not too thick, but it doesn’t matter too much
- Start it cooking on a medium heat in a tablespoon of nice olive oil, with your bayleaf and a small pinch of salt.
- Chop your tomatoes into chunks, take care to take out the bit where it joined the stalk – those bits are horrible. Now, if you want to be fancy you can take the skins off, I don’t bother and it doesn’t make too much difference.
- Add the tomatoes and a teaspoon of sugar (preferably brown) to the pan and turn the heat up. Cook for a minute or two til the toms start to break down a bit. I find this helps to get the flavours started.
- Add about 500ml stock. I use veggie stock in this basic vegetarian version of the soup.
- Bring to the boil & add your lentils. There should be enough that you can see them when you stir.
- Cook for about 15-20 mins, til the lentils are soft.
- Blend, taste & season. I often add a dash of balsamic at this point if the toms are very sweet.
And that’s about it! It’s lovely served with some crusty granary rolls, but is filling enough on its own if you’re avoiding bread.
One of the problems of lunches is that they get really boring. This is a great soup to avoid that as you can make it with small changes which help to give it a twist and bring out different flavours.
Roast the tomatoes. If your tomatoes are a bit bland (I’m looking at you, tomatoes in winter in England), but you still have a hankering for this soup, then roast them up. I do this a lot. I roast a big pan of tomatoes chopped in half with oil, sugar, salt and pepper. I use half of them in this soup and the other half go with a softened onion to make a super simple and delicious pasta sauce.
Bacon. Yum. I think that one word is enough, but in case you’d like more info… I use up any leftover rashers from bacon sandwiches at the weekend to make this soup for lunch in the week. Add them when you add the lentils. You can cut the fat off to keep it healthy, or just chuck it in, any old how. You may need to adjust the salt.
Chicken stock. Using a really good strong chicken stock gives a richer flavour.
Chilli. Add dried chilli to the onions or fresh chilli when the tomatoes go in for a spicy treat.
Wine. I like to add a dash of white wine if I have some left over, I just think it gives a deeper flavour if added with the tomatoes, before the stock.
Herbs. This goes well with lots of herbs, rosemary, thyme etc. Throw them in just before the stock for an extra tasty twist.
Cheese crouton. Ok so this doesn’t quite work with the ‘healthy lunch’ idea, but if it’s grey outside and you want a warming bowl of something, with a little bit of luxury, a big fat cheese crouton will do the trick.