I think almost every culture or nation makes some version of lentil soup and, even within every household, people make it differently. This version is my own, quick and basic version and when I make it, it signals the start of winter. It is thick, warm, fragrant and smooth, just the way I like it!
A lot of people add vegetables to their lentil soup, like potatoes, carrots, or tomatoes, when I am feeling "fancy" I like to add vegetables, but honestly I think the lentils on their own are just as delicious! With that said, the cumin and mixed spices add flavour and almost mask the taste of the other vegetables, so it is a great way to sneak some vegetables in for picky eaters, adults and kids alike!
This really comes down to personal taste, but some people, like my family, don't like to blend the soup, allowing it to retain some of its texture. I would advise people to try it before blending it and see what they prefer. I like to blend it and keep it a little thick, but you can add enough water until you reach your desired consistency.
In our house, lentil soup isn't complete without fried bread and spring onions. They add amazing texture and flavour, but feel free to leave them out or replace them with something else you like. Also, sometimes you buy lentils that look red/orange, but then when you cook them, they turn brown, don't be alarmed, they taste exactly the same, but maybe for visual appeal, try boiling a few lentils to see if they remain red or turn brown before making the entire dish if the colour matters to you.
Whatever the colour, this soup is a winter staple in my house because it is the hug you need on a cold dreary day!
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion (finely chopped)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (to taste)
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 ½ tbsp mixed spice
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 3-4 cups of water (depending on desired consistency)
- Fried pita bread and spring onions (to serve)
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions with a pinch of salt. The salt will help soften the onions quicker.
- Add the garlic and the lentils and sauté until it is all coated in olive oil. If you are adding other vegetables, make sure they are cubed first and add in with the lentils.
- Pour the water (start with 3 cups and then add as it cooks if you want it to be thinner). Stir, and add the spices, salt and pepper. Taste the water and adjust to taste.
- Once the water starts to boil, lower the heat and cook for about 30-45 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Blend if you would like. Make sure the soup is a little thinner than you'd like it to be, as it continues to thicken as it cools.
- Serve in bowls, topped with the fried bread and onions. Enjoy!