Spicy lentil & tomato soup

This thick, wholesome soup is perfect for a winter’s day and is quick and easy to make.

Nutritionally, lentils are a great source of protein, fibre and folic acid, and they also contain some trace minerals important for health. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, especially lycopene, as well as vitamin K and b vitamins. Studies have shown lycopene to be protective against some forms of cancer, and it has also been linked to a reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.  The onions & garlic in the soup have anti-inflammatory properties and the coriander & cumin are useful in supporting digestion.

Ingredients

1 tbsp oilive oil                            1 onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped         2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

1.75 litres vegetable stock            2 garlic cloves, crushed

4 tsp tinned tomato puree            200g red lentils, washed

3 tsp cumin seeds                        1/2 tsp chilli flakes

2 tsp ground corriander                salt & pepper to taste             

To cook:

Heat the oil in a very large saucepan and add the onions, garlic and cumin seeds. Stir together and cook gently for a few minutes with the lid on. The onions should be softened but not browned.

Stir in the red pepper, and cook gently with the lid on for a further 2-3 minutes and the pepper is softened.

Stir the tomato puree into the hot vegetable stock, and then add the tinned tomatoes and stock to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 6 minutes.

Add the lentils to the soup and simmer for a further 15 – 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The lentils should be well cooked and soft but not mushy. Add salt & pepper to taste.

(Left over soup will keep in the fridge for a few days or it can be frozen for future use)