Red Lentil, Tomato and Potato Soup

I never used to post many recipes here on the blog as I figured to myself  “oh no, no one wants to hear about all my basic home cook recipes, people want to learn how to make more exciting and complicated things.” But then talking among my friends, many of whom want to cook more but end up being overwhelmed by the proficiency level expected from a lot of cookbook and food blog recipes, I realised that there is always a place for staples, the kind of recipes you make week to week because they are easy, tasty, delicious, and yield a bunch so you can freeze it and care for your future self.

And there’s no better way to care for yourself than with a stupidly comforting bowl of this hearty lentil soup. Well, it’s probably more of a stew. Either way, it is thick and filled with vegies and warmth and goodness. Your mum will be so proud of you if you show her you can make this, because it means you’re doing better than fine, you’re doing well.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 5 baby potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tsp all-purpose spice mix (you might recognise this as the stuff you use to coat tofu or meat cuts with before pan-frying. It also makes a damn fine soup spice mix involving anything starchy)
  • good handful baby spinach leaves
  • cracked black pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • grated parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)

1. Get yourself a big pot, add the olive oil and the garlic, and heat on the stove until the garlic is sizzling. Add the potato cubes and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly so that you completely coat them in the oil.

2. Add the stock, the lentils, the all-purpose spice mix and the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and cook, occasionally stirring, for about 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are soft and have sucked up most of the liquid, and the potato cubes are at your preferred level of softness – I like them with a slight firmness to them, but if you like them softer just let the pot bubble away for a bit longer, you’ll just have to stir a bit more vigilantly. If you’re worried the lentils will suck too much liquid in this time, feel free to add a bit more stock, or even water.

3. Add the baby spinach right at the death, stir through so that it wilts, and then do a bit of seasoning with a generous sprinkle of black pepper and sea salt. Ladle out into bowls and top with a nice generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese if you are using it. Voila!

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