Winter is coming . . . (for all you Game of Thrones nerds out there), well, it’s officially here this Wednesday in the Southern hemisphere anyway. With the cold weather upon us I’m sharing my winter meal planner with a warm and hearty dinner recipe every day this week.
Today I’m kicking off with lentil soup, a firm favourite in our house. This one ticks all the boxes for my family; gluten free, vegetarian and low calorie, so we tend to have it on Mr.B’s fasting days. Of course it’s also nourishing, comforting and you can eat it on your lap whilst watching TV. I usually make a bit extra so I can have it for lunch the next day, or freeze a portion for some future emergency.
Lentils are high in protein and fibre and low in cholesterol and calories. Versatile and easy to prepare, they readily absorb all sorts of delicious flavours. They are a healthy staple in many different cultures and are a no-brainer for vegetarians, or anyone really. I use them a lot in all sorts of dishes.
This recipe is based on one from The Australian Coeliac magazine, but with a few of my own adaptations. Unfortunately they don’t have recipes on the website, so I can’t provide a link to the original. The secret ingredient is allspice, so don’t miss it out!
- 2 tbls olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 litre gluten free vegetable stock
- 250g brown lentils
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 400g canned tomatoes in juice, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Gently sauté onions in a large saucepan until soft.
- Add garlic, carrots and celery and sauté for a few minutes until slightly softened.
- Rinse lentils in cold water and check for small stones etc
- Add lentils, tinned tomatoes, stock, thyme and allspice to the pan, giving everything a good stir to combine.
- Cover and bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour until the lentils are soft and the soup has thickened. Thin with a little water or more stock if needed.
- You can serve it like this, or cool slightly and process with a stick blender, whatever you prefer.
- Season with black pepper and serve - we like grated cheese on top and hot buttered toast to dip in. Yum!