Though it’s almost June, many days I am making soups as we are having some cool and damp spells. Those of you that have been with me for a while know that I love soups. LOVE. For a few reasons…
(1) They are usually easy and quick to make.
(2) Typically the batches are large so you can refrigerate or freeze some for another lunch or dinner.
(3) They are the perfect vehicle for getting in the most nutrient-dense ingredients, like legumes, vegetables, and grains.
Not only do soups make it easy to get a healthy and delicious meal on the table, they are deeply comforting and pleasing to the senses. There is something very soul-enriching in making and eating soups. The chopping and prep calms my mind, the simmering of the stew fills the house with aromatics, and there is a feeling of ‘plenty’ to see a large pot of soup waiting to be eaten on the stove. Indeed, soups are soul-satisfying. So much for me that I my soups chapter in LTEV is called Vegan Soup for the Soul.
And, most often our whole family enjoys soups and stews. Except when our girls detect pieces of bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and the most dreaded – whole spices! The mood drifts from calm to mildly irksome as I watch them picking out one piece of onion, then red pepper, then cumin seed – and on. Drives me banonkers. (Kid-approved vocab, no need to call me on it.)
I made this Tomato Lentil Soup with Cumin and Fresh Dill from LTEV recently, and was SO surprised by our daughter’s reaction when I served it. Went something like this:
Daughter: What soup are we having tonight?
Me: I’m not sure if you remember this one, I haven’t made it for a while – have a taste.
Daughter: Yum, I LOVE this soup, this is the soup you made on New Year’s Eve!
That would be New Year’s Eve TWO years ago! I was shocked she remembered it, particularly because I hadn’t given it a quirky name like “Sniffle Soup” – which they know very well. But, their friends joined us that year on New Year’s and when I asked her how she remembered, she said “oh, I remember this soup because we all brought it downstairs and had it with that yummy bread and everyone loved it“. We remember the food we love and memories are created, apparently even as wee ones.
Another food we love is cashew cheese. For this version, I added fresh herbs and a just a couple of sun-dried tomatoes (one of the suggestions in the Truffled Cashew Cheese - recipe is in Let Them Eat Vegan).
Doesn’t the cheese look thick and rich and savory? It is. And, this bread is magnificent! It is a gluten-free bread that I bought at a local shop – Antony and Sons. It is made with coconut flour, and if I recall it has no yeast and also no oil. Yet, it isn’t dry and crumbly as some gf breads can be.
I share this soup with you today, because maybe it’s a little chilly where you are too… or maybe because you’d like to create a few new soup memories. And, for the picky-poos in your house, they won’t notice ANY of the whole spices or veggies. Trust me. (Or at least, trust your beloved immersion blender!)
Tomato Lentil Soup with Cumin and Fresh Dill gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, oil-free
This soup may surprise you. Looking at it, you wouldn’t think it is as delicious as it is! The flavors are not aggressive, but meld in such a way that keeps you coming back for just one more ladleful.
splash of water
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
3/4 cup celery, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
4 large cloves garlic
2 ½ cups white potato, peeled and chopped (OR 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, added later, see note)
1 – 1 ½ cups cauliflower, chopped
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dill seeds
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
2 cups vegetable stock
3 ½ – 4 cups water (more if using cooked rice, see note)
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 can (28 oz) crushed or diced tomatoes
2-3 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
Heat the water in a large pot over medium or medium- high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, potato (if using), cauliflower, cumin seeds, ground cumin, dill seeds, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir, cover, and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lentils, stock, 3 1⁄2 cups of the water, and the bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the lentils have cooked through and are softened. Then, add the tomatoes (and brown rice, if using instead of potato), and turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf, and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until completely smooth. Turn on the heat again to medium-high, and cook the soup for another 5 or more minutes to heat through (you can return the bay leaf to the soup or not). Once reheated, stir in the fresh dill, remove the bay leaf, and serve, sprinkling with extra fresh dill, if desired (chives or green onions are also nice addition, as pictured). Serves 6 or more.
Savvy Subs and Adds: If you have leftover cooked brown rice, it substitutes well for the white potato. Simply omit the potato, and add the cooked rice later in the cooking process, along with the canned tomatoes.
Serving Suggestions: Try with a large Classic Caesar Salad, topped with Brazil Nut Parmezan.
Recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan.
I most love making soups with beans… lots and lots of beans! What are your top-picks when making soups, and do you have a favorite soup recipe?