What makes the difference between a stew or casserole and a soup? I like to think it’s a fine line, and this ‘stoup’ kinda sits in the middle. You can add more stock or some vegan milk to thin it down for a soup, or blend it up more and reduce it for a stew-type dish. Whichever you choose, it’s absolutely delicious and I think one of my favourite winter lunches.
It’s creamy, it’s comforting, real soul food. It’s garlick-y and slighty herby. There’s a kick of black pepper and a slight tang from a splash of vinegar. It’s not vinegar-y as such, but it helps to add a little bit of complexity that makes this really feel like a meal, and not just something you’ve thrown together. Add some toast or a bit of sourdough bread and this is a real hug in a bowl.
It’s also vegan! If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I’ve set myself a challenge in 2019 to make as many of my lunchboxes as possible vegan. I’m not constraining myself too much by this, and if I’ve got meat or dairy that needs using then it will be thrown in, but I’d like to keep the majority of them vegan. And frankly, if they all taste as good as this it will be an easy job. If you’re not vegan, however, additions which could work well would be bacon (always), or simmer with a parmesan rind to add some extra flavour.
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First round of Vegan Lunchboxes – Lentil & Mushroom Soup. I've challenged myself to make my lunchboxes vegan for the year (as much as possible, I'm not limiting myself if we've got meat/dairy that would otherwise go to waste) and this was a winner! Comforting, almost creamy and really delicious. Perfect antidote to my New Year cold…
- 150g dried Puy lentils
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 pack of mushrooms mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 cup vegan-friendly stock
- 1/3 cup unsweetened plant-based milk—I used Oat milk
First up, cook your lentils. I tend to add boiling water and bring to a rolling boil, before reducing the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add plenty of salt, cook for another five minutes and then drain.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium pan and cook the shallots until slightly softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot, turn up the heat and stir fry for a few minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, and continue to try for 1 minute before adding the vinegar. Stir until evaporated, then add the drained lentils, vegetable stock and milk to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil, before using a stick blender to whizz to your desired consistency. Add more milk or stock if you want a soup, or reheat and simmer until thick and stew-like. Check for seasoning, adding plenty of black pepper.
Serve hot with toast or bread. I also like to stir through some spinach – for lunchboxes I add a cube or two of frozen spinach in the morning before I leave the house.
Do you have any lunchbox friendly vegan recipes?