As March moves on, the weather has become typically changeable – the days have been warm whilst the sun shines, but as soon as it disappears, it quickly becomes cold. Then with the sporadic downpours and chilly winds, it can be quite a confusing time for our bodies as we try to maintain a balance.
Soups are a perfect panacea for a changing season. They are lighter than a more solid meal, but can be made thick, aromatic and unctuous – providing warmth, weight and comfort on a chilly Spring evening.
Although trying to eat 5 (or 10) portions of veg per day is not an issue for a vegetarian, some people do struggle and it is common sense that a vegetable rich soup is the perfect way to get at least half of these portions in a couple of bowls of delicious potage!
This particular recipe is so simple and took approx 20 minutes to make – prepared as I went along so I have tried to list the steps as they happened.
I used preserved lemon and did not add much extra salt – if you don’t use preserved lemon, grate the zest of a fresh lemon and add the juice.
Recipe – serves 4
650g Carrots (either scrub well and dice – or peel and dice)
2 Medium onions (finely chopped)
60g red lentils
2 Garlic cloves (finely chopped)
2 Bay leaves
Handful of sage
1 Tsp Turmeric
1-2 Preserved lemons (dice finely)
1/4 – 1/2 Tsp Cayenne pepper
Fry the onions – you can use coconut oil for a creamier taste – or use the oil of your choice.
When the onions start to brown (not too dark for this one) and are softened, add the garlic and bay leaves. Lower the heat.
Add the turmeric powder and stir in well. Fry for 5 minutes or so, the garlic smell should start to mellow as it is cooked, you don’t want it to burn – it will become bitter and taint the delicate flavour of the soup.
Add the carrots, allow them to sweat for 5 minutes (adding more oil if required). Add the lentils and stir in well, heat for a minute or so – they will start to change colour slightly – add 1 L water.
Cook for 10 minutes then add the chopped sage leaves, diced lemons and cayenne pepper (if using).
Add more water if required, turn down the heat and place a lid on the pan to allow the carrots and lentils to finish cooking.
Once this is done, check for salt, add pepper and then blend with a hand blender to desired consistency (you don’t have to blend, if you prefer chunks!).
Serve with a swirl of olive or rapeseed oil and add some chipotle flakes or paprika for a bit of heat and smoke! We had this with a homemade walnut and herb scone – so nice!