Recipe: Thriftiest Lentil Soup

I really had to tighten up the purse strings this January. A couple of unexpected expenses and a weekend away (I spent last weekend in Oxford) meant there wasn’t much going spare. This soup was a lifesaver – ingredients I already had, but it was a completely different flavour and texture to what I was already eating. It added much needed variety but, most importantly, it was absolutely delicious.

 photo 0cbb1fbe-246f-48a3-a8b7-0fe174a24ede_zpsl50yjsmu.jpgOne of the best soups I’ve made. The idea came from Lottie, but I can’t say I hugely enjoyed the soup when I first tasted it. I panicked, added more garlic, and a load of fresh lemon juice. I found the zing really changed the soup, and I would definitely recommend it. I also liked stirring a cube or two of frozen spinach in, hence the green stuff. I’ve made it again since and simplified it down, so here’s the easy version!

It’s a pretty versatile soup too. The first night I ate it, I had it with some sausages. I ate it with a small slice of bread for lunch at work. I poached some chicken in the last (more liquid) portion. And at around 175 calories per portion according to MyFitnessPal it’s pretty much guilt free, so enjoy!

Ingredients (made 6 good sized bowlfuls)

  • 1/2 onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 5 carrots (mine were pretty small)
  • 4 sticks of celery
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 400g red lentils
  • 1l of chicken stock
  • Juice of 1 lemon

 photo 5bcf6628-5b1c-4d92-aed2-1ee2e2cf89cd_zpspw9csodi.jpgPeel and quarter each clove of garlic Finely dice the rest of the veg, and throw into a pan with a teeny dribble of oil and the garlic. Put on the lowest heat possible for a few minutes. Add the cumin and the thyme, turn the heat up, and fry until fragrant. Stir so it doesn’t catch and burn,

 photo c99219dd-f241-4ace-b30a-0ae2c8d330c0_zpsu9bpy9oc.jpgAdd the lentils and the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice and serve, or cool and portion up. This freezes well, but also stores in the fridge for a good couple of days. Add spinach on reheating, if you like

>This is one of the only soups I didn’t get bored of after two days. It’s also especially good with Sainsbury’s Multigrain and Rye Bread, which I’ve become addicted to. I really should start making my own again…

Do you have a favourite soup recipe? What’s the cheapest meal you make?