First of all, before I forget, Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is a good one for you, and filled with lots of tasty food too. What better way to start than with a delicious soup? It will probably come as no surprise by now (I mentioned it when I posted my pumpkin, broccoli and cheddar soup and spiced pumpkin beetroot muffins) that this recipe came about in large part from what I had to hand, but the result is a really tasty and colorful root vegetable and lentil soup. There is a touch of aromatic spice and lemon in the soup helping it to be both warming but fresh. Then the cayenne-toasted seeds on top add a little spice and crunch.
We had this recently for lunch after going out for a relatively big breakfast and it hit the spot perfectly. My toddler son also happily gobbled it down a couple times with couscous mixed in, as I tend to do for him to make it a bit easier and be a full lunch. While the color is clearly influenced by the beetroot, the beetroot is not overly dominant in the flavor. In fact no one vegetable is, they just work nicely together and the same goes for the lentils.
How it’s made
I chose to grate the vegetables as it is both quick to do with a food processor – probably quicker than dicing them all – and helps them cook evenly and more quickly. True, you still need to wait for the lentils to cook, but rutabaga/swede and beetroot can otherwise take a bit of time to soften so I still think it is worth doing. Or, at the very least, cut them fairly small. Apart from that, though, this is a really easy soup to make. I would just note that unless you are feeding it to a toddler, don’t miss out the sour cream and cayenne pepper toasted seeds, as they really do add an extra depth, a slight heat and crunch through ever mouthful.
The only last thing to say is I would recommend using a decent stock as it does make a difference. Homemade is far and away the tastiest and a lot of bought stocks are very salty rather than necessarily having that much taste. I always make stock whenever we have a whole roast chicken and I made some nice stock from the goose we had at Christmas. If we are having smaller pieces of meat on the bone (eg chicken thighs, lamb chops etc) then I freeze the bones until I have enough to make stock – it doesn’t impact the taste (tip was from a River Cottage program years back!). Also, I can’t remember where the tip came from, but I freeze stock in an ice cube tray so I have nice handy amounts to use when I need it.
And I know we’ll be needing some soon, with this root vegetable and lentil soup high up on the list. Given this weather, I know we’ll want some more soon. And it will no doubt go quickly since I am sharing this batch with Angie of The Novice Gardener and co at Fiesta Friday, Foodie Friends Friday and Foodie Fridays.
Root vegetable and lentil soup with cayenne-toasted pumpkin seeds
A colorful, hearty soup that's easy and tasty. Don't forget the toasted seeds to top!
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 onion large, or 1 small, diced
- 1 cup carrots approx 3 carrots
- 1 1/2 cups rutabaga swede, grated, approx 1/2 a rutabaga
- 1 1/2 cups beetroot grated, approx 1 medium beet
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp lemon juice approx 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 4 cups stock 950ml, suggest chicken, vegetable depending on diet etc
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds 1/2tbsp per serving
- 1/1 tsp cayenne pepper approx
- sour cream optional, or vegan substitute
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook for a couple minutes to allow it to soften.
Add the grated root vegetables as you get them ready and stir. Cook for a couple minutes before adding the coriander, cumin, lemon juice and lentils.
Stir the mixture and cook for a minute or two before adding the stock.
Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and leave until lentils have cooked, around 25-30mins.
Remove from the heat and blend. Soup will keep refrigerated a few days or can be frozen.
When ready to serve, heat a little oil in a small frying pan and add the pumpkin seeds and a dash of cayenne pepper. Cook for a couple minutes until seeds starting to brown slightly.
To serve, add a small drizzle of sour cream to the top of each bowl and top with the toasted seeds.
Try these other tasty soups:
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