Greek lentil soup (vegan)
It's about time that I share this recipe with you. It's one of my favourites, after all. My mom taught me how to make it, and my yiayia taught her. A recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation, and one I'm sure I'll be passing down to my family one day. Just the thought of a bowl of this soup brings me comfort, no matter the time of year. I know it's quite a bold move to post a recipe for soup just as spring arrives, but this is actually one that I eat year-round. It's great hot, cold or at room temperature.
One of the reasons that I love this soup is that it's so easy to make. You're likely to have all the ingredients to hand and once you've chopped your veggies, there's not much to it. It's also very nourishing and freezes well. I often make a big batch of this soup on the weekend, freeze half, and eat the rest for dinners or lunches throughout the week.
The method is really quite simple - soften the vegetables in a bit of oil, add in some lentils, vegetable broth and seasonings and simmer until the lentils are cooked through. The traditional recipe calls for green lentils, but I like to make this soup with du puy lentils. I find they hold their shape a bit better and make for a clearer soup. If you're more of a green or brown lentil fan, then add those in instead. If you have time to make your vegetable broth from scratch, it really brings this soup to the next level, but store-bought will also give great results if you don't have any to hand. I recently started making my vegetable broth from scratch using a great tip that I learnt from Sarah Copeland's gorgeous cookbook Feast. She suggests storing vegetable trimmings and peelings from everyday vegetable prep in a bag in the fridge and making stock once you've gathered enough. I've been keeping a bag in the freezer and I find it works great.
Now, there is one small detail that's very important for this lentil soup. Just before serving, it is essential to add a splash of vinegar to your bowl. My family normally goes for red wine vinegar, but I like raw cider vinegar - use a vinegar that you like. The soup will still taste great without the vinegar, but adding some in at the end really ties the dish together. Try it out for yourself and you'll understand!
Greek lentil soup (vegan):
This soup is a family favourite. The recipe has been passed down to me from my mom, who learnt how to make it from my yiayia. It's simple, healthy, comforting and so easy to make. Enjoy it hot, room temperature or cold. Whichever way you choose to eat it, don't skip out on adding vinegar to your bowl before serving - it really ties the soup together!
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 small/medium onions, small dice
- 1 small head celery (including leaves), small dice
- 1 medium carrot, small dice
- 1/2 red romano pepper, small dice
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 1/2 cup du puy lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 8 cups vegetable broth (preferably homemade, but store-bought will also work)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- To serve: raw cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, chopped parsley, and bread
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, red pepper and garlic and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the vegetables soft.
Add the lentils to the pot and stir to combine with the vegetables and oil. Add the vegetable broth, bay leaves and 1 tsp salt (skip the salt if using salted vegetable broth). Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 30-40 minutes, until the lentils are cooked. Taste the soup and adjust with more salt if needed.
To finish, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to the pot and stir to incorporate. Serve the soup hot, cold or room temperature. Before serving add a splash of vinegar to each bowl. Top with chopped parsley if desired and serve with bread. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for longer.