Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

veg soupWhat better way to keep out those chills than have a bowl of warming and nutritious homemade soup. Feel free to adjust the vegetables and add in whatever is to hand.  But always use the lentils as it adds protein and fibre, therefore making the soup really hearty and filling.


Makes 4 x 300g servings = which can be frozen

230 calories per portion

250g parnsips

150g swede

200g potatoes

100g leek

150g dried red lentils

1 tsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

½  vegetable stock cube or 1 tsp bouillon powder

½ litre of hot water

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 chilli or 1 tsp dried chilli

1 bay leave (optional)

Salt and pepper

Dash of lemon juice and a handful of chopped fresh herbs

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Wash all the vegetables but only peel the swede.  Both the parsnips and the potatoes can keep their peel (to retain more fibre and nutrients).  Chop in to bite sized pieces

IMG_2099I use a pressure cooker for this soup as it reduces the cooking time,  But if you don’t have one then use a large pan.  Add the oil to the pan and warm before adding the leeks.  Cook on their own for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally to stop them colouring too much.  Add the rest of the vegetables and stir.  After a few minutes add the chilli, spices, bay leaves, garlic, stock cube dissolved in the hot water and tinned tomatoes.

Give the whole lot a big stir and then add in the dried lentils.  With another big stir

If you are using a pressure cooker at this point add the lid and wait for a steady stream of steam to be produced add the weight, turn down the gas to a simmer and set the timer for 10 minutes.

If you are just using a large pan, cover with a lid, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes (storing regularly), or until all the veg are nice and soft and the lentils have broken down

Have a taste and then season with salt and pepper and a dash of lemon and some chopped herbs, such as parsley, mint, coriander

IMG_2100You can leave the soup nice and chunky or use a stick blender to make it smooth.  This will thicken the soup so add some more hot water, until you reached the desired consistency.

It may mean that you then get an extra portion so the recipe will have 5 not 4 servings in which case the calorie per portion will reduce to 200

The soup can be kept covered in the fridge for 3 days.  Any uneaten portions can be frozen and defrosted and reheated before eating

As a chunky soup it can quickly be turned in to a versatile casserole by adding cooked veggie/vegan sausages or Quorn

soupAs a smooth soup it can be used as a protein rich topping for jacket potatoes or a filling for a veggie shepherds pie

Please share if you have other creative ways of using this versatile recipe

Cannellini bean soup

Cannellini bean soup – from the River café cookbook

This a protein and fibre rich soup, that has a thick and satisfying texture.  Feel free to add extra stock if you want it thinner.  I haven’t tried making this with tinned cannellini beans but if you do I suggest two tins (with their liquid) and use everything in the recipe below except the bicarb,  And obviously miss out the soaking and pre-cooking steps

Serves 4

250g dried cannellini beans

2 tbls bicarbonate of soda

1 large tomato

½ bulb garlic, unpeeled

a handful of fresh sage leaves

3 garlic cloves – peeled and chopped

3 tablespoons of olive or rapeseed oil

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped.  ¾ in the soup, ¼ for decoration

salt and pepper

extra virgin olive oil

handful of toasted sliced almonds

river cafe

Begin by preparing the dried beans; Cover the beans with cold water and bicarb and soak overnight. Drain the beans place in a large saucepan, cover with fresh cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain again. Add more fresh cold water and cover 5cm or 2 inches above the beans. Add the tomato, garlic bulb and sage, bring to the boil then simmer with a lid until the beans are cooked. This can take between 40 and 90 minutes. Remove the scum that floats to the surface


Drain the cooked beans (keep the liquid), remove the garlic, tomato and sage leaves. In a pan cook the 3 raw garlic cloves until soft but not brown. Add ¾ of the parsley (including the chopped stalks), cook for a few seconds then add the beans and some of the cooking liquid. Cook for a few minutes before putting ¾ of the mixture into a food processor, nutribullet or use a hand blender or potato masher. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped.

Add some veg stock if its too thick.   Return the chopped beans to the remaining ¼ mixture in the pan. Taste, and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. This is a thick hearty soup, but If its still too thick add some extra stock. Pour in to four bowls scatter over the toasted sliced almonds, some chopped parsley and drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil

bean soup

The soup is nice and thick and hearty

I made this soup as part of a 5 course dinner for 5 of my friends so I made it thinner and served smaller portions in teas cups.  It looked very tasty indeed

vegan soup