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    Velvet soup

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    Velvet soup

    I made this soup deciding there was no reason lentils should be banished as an autumnal staple. To me, they are resonant of Arabian nights and exotica, and with epic amounts of coriander and lemon, totally ripe for summer.

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 50 minutes to 60 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes 60 minutes 20 minutes

    Serves: 6


    • 500g Red lentils
    • 1 litre Vegetable or chicken stock, plus 250ml stock or water
    • 3 Bay leaves
    • 2 tbsp Olive oil, plus extra to serve
    • ½ Onion, finely chopped
    • 2 Salad onions, white part only, finely chopped
    • 2 Celery sticks, finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp Ground cumin
    • 3 Lemons, juice, plus extra to serve
    • 100g Spinach, roughly chopped
    • 20g Coriander, finely chopped


    1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, cover the lentils with the stock and add the bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then simmer on low,uncovered, for 30–40 minutes, until very soft.
    2. While the lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Gently sweat the onion and salad onion on low for around 10 minutes, then add the celery. Sprinkle the cumin on and stir, heating for another five minutes or so and adding a little more olive oil if necessary. Add this mix to the lentils with the lemon juice. Remove the bay leaves and season to taste.
    3. Let everything cool for a bit, then transfer to a blender, adding the extra stock or water to get them soupy. Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do this in two batches.
    4. Pour the soup back into the washed saucepan and reheat on low, adding the spinach and half the coriander. Season to taste again.
    5. Serve at room temperature with some more lemon juice and olive oil, the remaining coriander, and if you have some, a swirl of greek yogurt.

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