Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Red lentil and roasted vegetable soup

Breakfast: An almond butter and banana smoothie

Lunch: Red lentil and roasted vegetable soup

Dinner: A char sui vegetable and soba noodle stir fry

When I was at Manchester Uni (a period I know affectionately think of as "the glory years", though my liver might not agree), one of the places I was most likely to be found eating was in the vegetarian cafe near the library. Claire and I used to go there often for their soups and their awesome cake - though if we're honest, it was more the latter than the former.

Their lentil soup was fantastic and brilliantly cheap, and kind to both a student budget and a hungover tummy (and the world). I hope that cafe is still there!

Yet still in my 3 years as a vegetarian I haven't really embraced the lentil soup family. I'm not sure why; perhaps it seemed more of a Manchester thing to me. Regardless, I stepped back onto the lentil bandwagon today as the lack of anything interesting in my fridge led me to make this red lentil and roasted veggie soup which was better than I ever expected.

A filling lunch choice with a lot of goodness inside, I'm having this again tomorrow!

You'll need:
(Feeds 2-4)
3 cups red lentils
3 red peppers
1 zucchini
1 large red onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
a little oil

Soak the lentils in water overnight, or for 1 hour before you begin
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Chop the zucchini roughly and quarter the red onion
Toss the onion, zucchini, garlic and peppers on a baking tray and drizzle with oil
Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning often
Allow to cool then chop all vegetables rougly
Place in a large pan with the stock and drained lentils, then add in the oregano, thyme and red wine vinegar
Cook for 20 minutes, then blend
Season to taste and enjoy!

Lentils have classically been the ultimate food for vegetarians; they're consistently rated as one of the top healthiest foods, and their high protein content means they've carved out a niche for themselves in a veggie diet. They also, however, have a reputation for being a little bland, but you won't believe it when you're enjoying this tasty soup!

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