It’s a common belief that eating a healthy diet is more expensive. It’s simply not true. What is expensive is eating convenience, processed food labelled as ‘healthy’. If it’s processed, it’s likely to contain a range of chemicals and ‘foods’ that the body doesn’t recognise and so these can often do more harm than good. Nothing is better for us than food in it’s natural state where the body can use up all the goodness and help keep us healthy.
In the mid 90’s, I was a busy working, single Mum and often found it was a real challenge to find enough money for the weekly shop.
This soup was a life-saver. My son says he was brought up on it. And that’s got to be a good thing! I still love it. It’s tasty, hearty, nutritious.
Red lentils are rich in iron, folate, heart-protecting polyphenols, zinc and fibre to support gut health and the immune system and a good meat-free source of protein. And of course, the veg and herbs are full of vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients, for example, garlic, sage and rosemary contain concentrated nutrients that fight inflammation and boost immunity.
The traditional recipe is great in the cooler months, with seasonal veg and those lovely woody herbs. It can be made in bulk and frozen too.
Ingredients (all approx. just give it a try)
A tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion
2 sticks of celery
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
125g dried red split lentils
1.5 litres veg stock
A good handful of chopped, woody herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme.
Salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.
Chop and slice the veg, grate the garlic, remove the woody stalks from the herbs and finely chop. Leave the bay leaves whole.
Heat the oil very gently in a large pan and add the onions, carrots, celery and bay leaves, place a lid on and sweat gently until onions are soft and translucent (about 5 mins).
Grate in the garlic and stir for a minute before adding the lentils and stirring all together.Add the veg stock, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and add the chopped herbs.
Simmer gently for at least 20 minutes until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Season to taste and serve.
This soup is very versatile. You can pimp it up with spices such as turmeric, cumin, mustard or paprika and a can of coconut milk or add any wilting veg at the bottom of the fridge. Root or ‘woody’ veg needs to be sweated down. Leafy veg like kale can be chopped and added just before serving.