I think this year is going to be my year of soup. I’ve finally learned to appreciate it after being a life-long soup avoider. It’s all because of smooth soups, which while often delicious, generally make me feel queasy and too full, but actually leave me very hungry 30 minutes later. Oh and there was that traumatic experience when I was a child and I was forced to eat a whole large tin of tomato soup concentrate. That is a memory that continues to haunt me until this day. In fact, even thinking about eating smooth soups makes me feel ill. Perhaps I’m odd, but I can’t be the only one.
However, I do enjoy non-blended soups from time to time (especially my Moroccan chickpea and lentil soup). My general aversion to soup has meant I don’t make them very often, and are usually the last thing I think about making, but their convenience has made me see the light: One pot, minimal prep time, jam-packed full of nutrients, and easy to eat with only one hand while wrapped in a blanket on the couch (possibly the most important thing for winter in an old house without heating). Now I’m craving hearty creations such as this one like there’s no tomorrow. But hey, why am I preaching to you about soup? You probably already like it or you wouldn’t have clicked on a soup recipe.
This is a pretty simple recipe, but very delicious. It’s also quicker cooking than most soups , making this a great weeknight option. The secret to this soup is adding the liquid smoke to the oil before frying the onions, so don’t skip it. It mimics the role of the traditional fried bacon of Mexican lentil soup very well.
2tbsp refined coconut oil (and I mean refined – no coconutty taste)
1/2 tsp liquid smoke, plus more to taste
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup each of finely diced red and green capsicum
1 medium carrot, finely diced (you do NOT want big chunks, I’m talking 1 or 2mm dice)
4 large cloves garlic, smashed with your knife and roughly chopped
1-2 jarred jalapeños (in vinegar), minced, depending on your heat tolerance. I use two.
1 cup whole red (aka brown) lentils, soaked at least 8 hours
1 400g tin diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
3 cups water
1 heaped tsp sugar
1 two-fingered pinch ground cumin
1 two-fingered pinch dried oregano
2 -3 tsp nutritional yeast (yes I mean teaspoons. You don’t want it to taste it, it’s purpose is a flavour enhancer)
3 large handfuls baby spinach
Sea salt to taste
Chopped coriander, chopped spring onions, sweet cherry tomatoes, grilled corn, guacamole (highly recommended), corn chips, none. Whatever your heart desires.
Place the oil and liquid smoke in a large saucepan and heat over low heat. Add the onions and cook until clear and well browned. Add the capsicum, carrot and garlic and cook another two minutes. Add the tomatoes and lentils and stir well.
Add the stock, water, cumin, oregano, sugar and 1tsp salt to the pot. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in the nutritional yeast and allow to simmer away until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Taste and add a little more liquid smoke if you want. The flavour does cook off. Adjust salt to taste, add the spinach and stir until wilted.
Eat all the soup