This is my favourite soup right now so I just have to share it with you! This recipe makes a large batch, so I cook it once and feast on it for the rest of the week.
batch cooking saves time
I like cooking large batches because it saves me time. I can dedicate an hour and 15 minutes of my time every Monday to cook this glorious soup and then for the rest of the week, I’m free! My meals are sorted. I don’t have to think about what to eat or spend time cooking each day. It takes me 20 minutes to prepare the ingredients and then I let the soup simmer until it’s done. It doesn’t need much attention while cooking, either.
I freeze about half of the soup into several jars and leave the rest in the fridge. It tastes just as good several days later. In fact, the soup tastes better the longer it sits because all those flavours meld together. Yum!
how to enjoy
Later in the week, I simply cook my preferred starch of the day and reheat a portion of soup (usually enough to fill a large coffee mug). If pasta is on the menu, I’ll boil some noodles, drain them, and dump the soup right into the pot. Simmer and stir until it’s heated through, remove from the heat and cover. Let it sit for a few minutes so the noodles soak up a bit of the soup, cut some bread for dipping, and my favourite meal is ready.
Sometimes I’ll cook extra pasta for the following day. I combine it with a mug or two of soup, keep it in the fridge overnight so the noodles soak up all that red lentil goodness, and then the next day I eat it in a sandwich. Just imagine a seedy baguette stuffed with pasta and freshly sliced tomato. AMAZING. I know a pasta sandwich sounds weird, but it tastes great. Don’t knock it until you try it! 😉
I’ve made variations of this soup for several weeks now, adjusting the seasonings here and there. Now I’m quite happy with it! The curry powder is a new addition following our trip to India. It gives the soup a rich colour while adding a hint of spice. You can use any type of curry powder you like, mild or spicy.
minimal packaging, maximum flavour
The ingredients are simple, affordable, and many are available plastic-free or without any packaging whatsoever. I purchase loose vegetables and mushrooms from Carrefour, bulk spices from Naturalny Sklepik, and bulk soy sauce from Asia Deli. Red lentils (and a slew of other dried goods, like pasta and couscous) come from Auchan’s bulk bins. I buy diced tomatoes in cans and tomato paste in large jars.
If you have a freezer, buy tomato paste in the largest jar you can find and portion it into ice cube trays. Once the tomato paste freezes, pop them out and store them in a jar. You don’t need to thaw the cubes before using them; simply toss them into the soup and they’ll melt on their own. Easy! You’ll save some money too since larger containers of tomato paste tend to be cheaper than the smaller ones (per ounce or gram). AND you’re left with a nice jar to use. 🙂
All this talk about soup makes me hungry. I guess it’s time for some soup, couscous, bread, and an episode of BBC Earth on Netflix—my dinner routine! I hope you like this recipe. Enjoy! 🙂
The Best Red Lentil Soup!
My favourite soup at the moment. Cook it once and have meals for the rest of the week!
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (~250 grams)
- 1 leek, sliced thin
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup red lentils, dried
- 3 cups water
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 Tablespoons tomato paste (4 cubes)
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 3 cans water
- 2 teaspoons thyme, dried
- 1 teaspoon basil, dried
- 2 teaspoons oregano, dried
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (~60 twists of the grinder)
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 zucchini, peeled, sliced into quarter pieces or diced (peeling optional)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
Place mushrooms, leek and 1 cup of water in a large pot. Heat on high heat until simmering. Saute for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally until mushrooms shrink and leek becomes translucent.
Rinse and drain lentils in cool water several times, just to remove any dust. Add lentils, 3 cups of water, bell pepper and carrot to the pot. Stir well, cover and bring to a boil. Leave the cover ajar to let the steam vent. Stir occasionally and simmer for 10 minutes. Reduce heat slightly if it boils too wildly.
Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, three cans of water and all seasonings listed in the THIRD section. Stir to combine. Slightly cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and reduce heat slightly if it boils too wildly.
Add zucchini. Stir to combine. Lower the heat to medium. Slightly cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in soy sauce and cover. Let it rest until you're ready to dig in!
- The veggies can be sliced or diced however you like. I tend to roughly dice everything into small chunks. They don't need to look pretty. 🙂
- Only use the white and pale green portions of the leek (roughly half the length). Discard the tough dark green leaves.
- This soup is even better the next day.
- I make this soup once a week. The batch is large so it gives me close to a week of meals. I usually eat it once a day, sometimes twice!
- Once the soup is cool, I ladle it into two large jars and keep them in the fridge for the next few days.
- I freeze the rest of it in several jars, filling them 3/4 of the way full. The night before I plan on eating it, I transfer it to the fridge and let it thaw in there until I'm ready to reheat it.
- Serve it with couscous, pasta, rice and don't forget plenty of bread on the side. 🙂