Potato and Lentil ‘nearly summer’ Stew

This is my fallback recipe for days when I need a ‘hug in a bowl’.  Fallback because the ingredients are pretty sure to be sitting in my kitchen and when combined it really is a brilliantly comforting and warming stew/soup.  I do realise that posting this in May (just when we are experiencing the first flickers of sunny warmth on our faces) might seem a little odd, but this somehow seems fitting because it is warming yet light and perfect for those warm days but not so warm evenings.

Potato and Lentil Soup

Potato and Lentil Soup

While we are on the subject of plus points, it is also quick to make (I reckon 15-20mins), cheap (I costed it out at about 40p per serving) and really healthy (protein rich, fibre rich, good quality carbs, high in vitamins and minerals whilst being low in calories yet FILLING).  Yes, pretty much the ideal meal!

Before we go into the recipe itself lets take a minute to look at a few of the great bits in this recipe, namely the lentils.

Lentils are one of the most under-appreciated foods.  Not only are they rich in protein and slow release carbohydrates, they are low in calories and high in fibre which is essential for good gut function.  They are really versatile; use them to make falafel, burgers and dhal or use them as a replacement (either half or complete) for meat in lasagne and cottage pie dishes.  They are fantastic for using in salads or to bulk out curries and basically we should all be eating a lot more of them!!  They don’t add much flavour so can take on whatever flavour you put with them and the different varieties all come with different characteristics, useful for a range of recipes.  Red are great in soups and stews, adding thicknesss and substance whilst green and puy lentils add meaty texture to dishes so make great meat replacements and are wonderful in salads.

Let me know how you get on,

Enjoy

Faith x

Ingredients

Ingredients (for 2 good portions):

1 carrot, chopped fairly small

1 celery stick, chopped into small slices

1 potato (large), diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

Pinch of chilli flakes,

1/2 mug red lentils, rinsed well

1 vegetable stock cube

1 tin tomatoes

Small handful of fresh coriander (optional – will bump up the cost

method

Take a large-ish lidded and gently fry the carrot, celery, potato, farlic and chilli flakes in a little oil (I like to use coconut or sunflower) for about 5 mins until everything starts to soften and sweat a little.  When the onion is pretty much transparent, throw in the rinsed lentils, the tin of tomatoes, the vegetable stock cube and 2 mugs of water.

Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, give it a good stir and pop a lid on for 10-15 minutes.

After 10 minutes give it a good stir and after another couple of minutes simmering, the lentils will be soft and thats about it!

Check that the potato is cooked through and if it is then you are good to serve.

Spoon into bowls and top with a little coriander.  I also love to top with a spoonful of low fat natural yoghurt or creme fraiche.