If you live in Cape Town I’m sure you will agree that it is officially soup weather. I LOVE soup. I could eat soup every day and often do. I also find it handy to make a big pot of soup and freeze it into single portions which are easy to defrost and heat for week day lunches or dinners.
I also find soups an easy way to create a low fat, low GI great tasting meal without having to compromise too much on the tastes I like. The soup I’m writing about today has exactly that great combination I love. The lentils add that robust meaty flavour while being low fat, high fibre and high protein. The roasted tomatoes are also a great savoury taste and the roasting intensifies the flavour.
I have trained this recipe many times already and it has always become a firm household favourite. You can vary the colour and texture of the soup as well by choosing different types of lentils. The pink lentils are sweeter and give the soup a pretty colour but you lose out on allot of fibre. I like brown or green lentils as they have a more robust flavour and texture, but the colour of the soup can become brownish.
You can easily add bacon, ham, chorizo or beef to this soup adding to the flavour, but also adding to the fat content.
If you want to garnish the soup nicely, save a few of the roasted tomatoes before blending them and garnish the soup with roasted tomatoes and bit of pesto.
Roast tomato and lentil soup
Makes about 2.5 litres of soup
8 large ripe tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp of brown sugar
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 ribs of celery, finely sliced (optional)
2 large carrots, grated (optional)
1 leek, finely sliced (optional)
2 tins of lentils or (250g of dry lentils - just cook soup longer, until tender)
2 Litres of vegetable stock
1 tsp of salt
Pre-heat your oven to full heat and grill. Place the wire rack in the middle of the oven. Slice the tomatoes thickly and lay them in a roasting pan. Grind salt and pepper over them. Roast the tomatoes with the oven door a crack open to let out the steam. They will lose allot of water and need to have almost halved in size and should be browning on the top. Half way through the grilling process you can sprinkle them with a little sugar. Once roasted, set aside for use later.
In a large pot fry the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and leeks. You can leave out the celery, carrots and leeks for a purer soup. Add the lentils and stock and simmer until the lentils are soft and soup has thickened slightly. Add the tomatoes and using a hand blender puree the mixture lightly. Try not to over puree as some texture is nice.
Taste the soup and adjust the flavour where needed. If the acid of the tomatoes is strong add sugar. If the soup needs depth, add more stock concentrate or salt and you can add a little cumin, turmeric and garam marsala, if desired, which in my opinion improves most things.
If you can ever find mung beans (or green lentils as they are sometime called) they are what I would ideally use instead of regular lentils. They are far more robust in texture and meaty in flavour.