We’ve concocted a delicious lentil vegetable soup for you to try!
Soups are a healthy option for anyone, particularly for people who are trying to lose weight.
Most soups (this one included) are high in fibre and low in calories, because they are bulked out by veg and stock.
This means they will fill you up and energise you, without sneaking in excess calories that might lead to weight gain.
Our Mediterranean lentil soup is inspired by the flavours of Italian lentil soup recipes (minus the meat!).
The flavour base of onion, carrot and celery is often called the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Italian cooking. It’s official name is ‘soffritto’ and it forms the bases of many dishes, including ragu and numerous other soups, stews and sauces.
You want to chop the ingredients for your soffritto very finely, so that they break down and release as much flavour as possible. The mixture should taste rich, sweet and oniony.
Soffritto is often jazzed up with other flavours on top of the Holy Trinity. For our lentil vegetable soup, we have chosen to add garlic, rosemary and a sprinkling of chilli flakes.
The heady fragrance of garlic and rosemary, with a hint of heat from the chilli…what a combo!
Mix it all together with sweet, intense tomato sauce, nutty puy lentils and soft strips of cavolo nero, for the perfect vegan lentil soup.
We suggest serving this dish up with crispy croutons made from thick white bread fried in olive oil. The bread soaks up the soup and becomes infused with it’s flavours. It’s an absolute treat!
Lentil vegetable soup: a legume lover’s paradise
Legendary legume that they are, we’ve got to take a minute to focus on lentils.
This is a puy lentil or green lentil soup recipe. They are much the same – puy lentils just take their name from the region of France they were traditionally grown in.
These lentils are known for having a rich, peppery flavour and for the fact that, unlike their relative the red lentil, they don’t turn into mush, rather they maintain their shape when cooked. Red lentils are better suited to recipes like this sexy lentil stew.
We love them partly for their flavour, but also for their AMAZING nutritional profile. The health benefits harboured in those little green balls are quite something to behold.
Protein is probably the most important one on that list, especially for vegetarians. Protein helps to maintain muscle mass and is also the key nutrient in so many processes in our body like our immune system. Legumes, such as lentils, are one of the best vegetarian protein sources.
Fibre is important too, as it contributes to how a filling a food is. Fibrous foods are particularly important if you want to lose weight – a fibre-filled meal will keep you feeling full for a long time, so you won’t have to snack in between meals.
Folate is vital for the production of healthy red blood cells, among other things, and it is also known as folic acid and vitamin B9.
Iron helps produce hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells, which helps carry oxygen around the body.
Krazy for kale
The other superfood in our lentil vegetable soup is kale. Kale has become something of a celebrity in recent years, for good reasons and bad!
It is touted as a nutritional powerhouse because of kale’s various health benefits… and yet it is shunned in equal measure for its flavour and texture.
However, we LOVE kale and think that, with the right preparation, it can be as delicious as it is nutritious!
The problems with kale come when it is being eaten raw or not cooked properly. In these circumstances, it can be quite tough and taste bitter.
If you want to enjoy raw kale as part of a salad, then the best thing to do is massage it thoroughly with olive oil, which removes the toughness. Then you just need to season it well with other flavours, such as garlic and salt.
If you have time, marinating it in olive oil and salt overnight does wonders for reducing bitterness!
However, this recipe calls for thin strips which will be thoroughly cooked through and will absorb all the flavours of the soup, meaning that you don’t need to worry about bitterness!
The kale controversy
One of the reasons we think kale is worth fighting for is the fact that it is literally one of the most micronutrient dense foods in existence. 1 cup of kale contains over 100% of your RDI of Vitamin A, K and C, among others. All this for only 33 calories!
It is also full of antioxidants and has properties that help lower cholesterol and reduce cancer risk.
This recipe uses cavolo nero, a type of kale also known as black cabbage or Tuscan kale.
Between lentils, kale and all the other goodies packed in, this vegan lentil vegetable soup is one of the best lentil soup recipes ever and an amazing healthy dinner or lunch option that you NEED to add to your rotation.
Lentil Vegetable Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion (finely chopped)
- 1 carrot (finely chopped)
- 1 stick celery (finely chopped)
- 2 clove garlic (crushed)
- 2 sprigs rosemary, fresh (separated from stem and finely chopped)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
- ½ cup puy lentils
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 2 slices wholemeal bread (cut into 1 cm chunks)
- 5 cups cavolo nero (thinly sliced (alternatively mangold))
- 1 pinch sugar (optional)
- Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat and once hot add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring until softened and lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic, rosemary and tomato puree and cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened slightly, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the lentils, chili flakes, sugar (if using) and stock. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook until the lentils are almost tender, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the chunks of bread and fry until golden brown and crispy, turning regularly, 4-5 minutes.
- Add the cavolo nero to the lentil mixture and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes, until the lentils and cavolo nero are cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning if you like.
- Divide the lentil soup between bowls and top with the croutons.