As per usual, winter hardly stopped by Bahrain this year.
Sure, we had a few days of incessant winds and some colder than usual nighttime temperatures, as well as the occasional rain shower – but all in all the weather’s been pretty peachy.
What I’m getting at is that I didn’t really have an excuse to make this soup (which I would consider to be a “winter warmer” in a cooler climate) but what I did have was a plethora of zucchini from the farmers market and the desire for something hearty and warm after a week of cold packed lunches.
Enter this soup.
1 red onion, diced
1 tsp coconut oil (or cooking spray, or even some vegetable stock if you want this recipe to be oil-free)
2 average sized cloves of garlic, finely grated/crushed
1 courgette, cut into chunks
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 small-medium tomatoes, skinned
1 tbsp pure tomato paste
1 cup red lentils
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (I use the low sodium Kallo organic brand)
1-2 cups water
1 tsp dried thyme, oregano, fresh parsley, basil and/or whatever herbs you have on hand
sea salt and pepper to taste
Start by sweating the onions and garlic in a little oil or stock, until translucent. Add the courgette and balsamic vinegar then cook for about 10 minutes or so until soft. Feel free to add additional stock if you notice the pot getting dry.
At this point skin your tomatoes by dropping them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, then peeling. If you’ve never done this before – beware. It’s awesome. They come right off! Who knew?
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs and remaining vegetable stock and bring and stir through before adding the lentils.
Bring to the boil and add additional water as needed (I added about 1.5 cups), then cover and simmer until lentils are just about done – they should retain their shape so keep a watchful eye to make sure things don’t get too mushy.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with a smattering of fresh herbs and serve piping hot.
If I’m honest, it’s so chunky it’s more of a soup-meets-stew situation. If you prefer a soupier soup I’d only add 3/4 cup of lentils and up the liquid a little.
Either way this one is a winner, whatever the weather!