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Deliciously nutritious and comforting soup really doesn’t get any better than my mildly-spiced easy crockpot tomato lentil soup! It’s vegan and gluten-free too!
Just throw all the ingredients into your slow cooker, set the timer, and a few hours later, voilà!, a comforting, low-effort meal to chase away the chills!
Comforting lentil soup for chilly days!
As I’m writing this, the sound of torrential rain is almost deafening. OK, maybe not literally deafening but it is incredibly loud. On days like this, I want something that’s super-comforting, yet really easy to cook.
I’ll admit that it being nutritious isn’t at the forefront of my mind but the fact that this lentil soup is full of goodness, particularly protein and fibre, is an added bonus!
Lentils aren’t just for hippies!
Lentils are usually my go-to food when I’m feeling less than 100% – most often in the form of dal fry or my teenage nephew-approved dal, aubergine, and kale casserole!
Slowly-cooked Croatian stuffed peppers always do the trick too, as does my mulligatawny soup.
I’m not alone in my love of smooshy, spicy lentils being pretty much a cure-all. Millions of Indians are of the same opinion, too!
Easy lentil soup
If you’re like me, and always super-busy, this lentil soup is perfect for you. Even if you don’t have a slow cooker, it only takes around 30 mins on the hob, and most of that is it just doing its own thing, while you go off and do yours!
My slow cooker
A few years ago, my mother-out-law* bought me an all-singing, all-dancing Crock-Pot for Chrimbo. It’s the CSC024 Multi-Cooker, and as well as slow-cooking, it also roasts, bakes, steams (great for rice), and sautés.
The latter is perfect for so many things, including making quick casseroles, soups, stews, sauces, etc. With a capacity of 5.6 litres (almost 6 quarts), it’s more than enough to feed a large family or batch-cook for the freezer. Crock-Pot says that 5.6 litres is for 6-7 people but actually, in my experience, it’s more like 8-10!
Anyway, along with my Froothie and my trusty wok, my Crock-Pot is one of my most-used pieces of kitchen equipment. And no, I haven’t been paid to say nice things about it, I just love it!
*(MoL says she can’t be my in-law because despite being together for almost 20 years, amato mio and I aren’t actually married! Ha ha!)
Easy crockpot tomato lentil soup
You don’t need any fancy ingredients for this lentil soup – just a handful of basics, and away you go! All you need are…
- red lentils
- herbs: basil, thyme, oregano (or marjoram)
- spices: cumin, chilli flakes, black pepper
- vegetable broth
- tinned tomatoes and tomato purée
- plus a little sugar and oil
How to make lentil soup
If you’re using a slow cooker, simply add all the ingredients to the bowl, give everything a stir, put on the lid, and then set the timer for six hours (on high).
To make this soup on the hob
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over a high heat, and fry the onions for 5 mins, until they start to become translucent.
- Add the spices, and continue to fry for another minute, stirring continually.
- Stir in the lentils, herbs and vegetable broth, cover the pan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 10 mins, until the lentils have softened.
- Reduce the heat to low, and add the rest of the ingredients.
- Stir well, cover the pan again, and simmer for 20 mins or so, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and onions are soft.
- Top with croutons for added crunch and satiety. Yum!
- Top with vegan bacon bits (available from most supermarkets) for delicious smokiness.
- If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use dried. If you don’t have the separate dried herbs, use 3 tablespoon dried Italian herbs.
- Brown, green, or Puy lentils will also work in this soup. As will green or yellow split peas.
- Instead of vegetable broth, you can use 1 litre (c.4 cups) water, plus your favourite vegetable bouillon, stock powder, or cubes. As ever, if going down this route, I recommend either Marigold or Massel.
- This tomato lentil soup can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. It can frozen for up to three months.
- Nutritional information doesn’t include any toppings or accompaniments.
While this soup makes a great one-bowl meal by itself, it’s also great with fresh bread or toast (my favourite!). Why not make some today? Enjoy!