I wouldn’t say that I like my food really spicy (I prefer to still be able to taste my food under the layer heat), but I do love spices and spiciness! Any breakfast scramble (tofu or veggies) isn’t complete without Cajun seasoning and any mention or thought of curry leaves me practically drooling and unable to think of anything else. So, when my sister and I were brainstorming what kind of soup to make on our first day of baking/cooking for our freezers – more on that later – my first thought, especially once I realized I wanted an easy lentil based soup, was curry. The following Curried Lentil Soup is what we came up with. I used a Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry recipe from Veganomicon (page 186) that I had made before as a soup for an idea of the method, measurements, and spices to use, but used our own mix of lentils and vegetables to create a very different soup.
Curried Lentil Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch piece ginger, minced
1 large shallot, diced
1 cup chopped carrot
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup diced potato
3 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/2 tsp each: turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ground coriander
3/4 cup red split lentils
3/4 cup green/brown lentils
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/2 tsp sea salt (omit if using store-bought vegetable broth)
Set out all of the ingredients and chop the vegetables. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the shallot, garlic, and ginger for a couple of minutes, until tender. (You might notice this recipe doesn’t have any onions in it. That is because I really don’t like them and besides shallots and small amounts of dehydrated onion I do not cook with them. If you want to add onions to this soup, add them first, sauté until translucent, and then add the shallot, garlic, and ginger.) Add the spices and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add carrots, celery, potato, and lentils (after sorting and rinsing them). Slowly pour in vegetable broth and water. Cover the pot, raise the heat to high, and boil for 1 minute. Stir, then cover the pot again, lower heat to medium-low, and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Check to see if the potatoes and lentils are done, they may need a little more time. When the potatoes and lentils are cooked then your soup is done. Cover and let sit about 15 minutes before serving, to let the flavours meld.
I like this soup as is, with a piece of toasted whole grain bread (my favourite is Silver Hills) or served over brown rice or quinoa. Enjoy!
As I mentioned earlier, this was one of the things that my sister Jem and I made on our first designated day of baking and cooking for both of our freezers. In addition to this Curried Lentil Soup, we also made sun-dried tomato pesto based on this one from Oh She Glows (we froze it in ice-cube trays), chocolate zucchini loaf based on this recipe, chocolate chip peanut butter cookies from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking (we baked 1 tray full and then made 2 rolls of the dough for the freezer), blueberry almond waffles adapted from this recipe, and falafel burgers from The Vegan Table. Half of everything went to me and the other half is for Jem and her fiancé. Our intention was to make a bunch of things that we could both have in our freezers for quick meals and snacks later on. Our day was very successful and we have plans to make this a monthly (or around there) tradition. We have so many ideas of things we want to make!
Making extras for the freezer is something I already do, but making a day of it together was actually Jem’s idea. This gives us a day together, and we figure that it will help get us creative, eat less processed foods, and save some money. It really is those times when you just don’t feel like cooking, or have the time, that it is so easy to reach for a can or box of something way too processed, or to eat out.
What I really love about doing this is that while everything we make will be vegan, or vegetarian if Jem adds cheese to her half of something, neither Jem nor her fiancé are vegan! They are both omnivores and pretty heavy meat-eaters. However, my sister has always been open to trying my vegan and vegetarian food, and is really interested in eating healthier and trying new things. It always makes me happy to get people interested in vegan food and I love sharing my discoveries with her. I think we already have our menu planned out for July’s For the Freezer Day and we are both looking forward to it!
Do you like spicy food? If so, what is your favourite heat-inducing ingredient?
My favourite is chipotle! I use chipotle hot sauce, chipotle chile powder, and canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce. I’m also addicted to Cajun seasoning. I have one now that I’m not sure is vegan. It is going to run out very soon and then I’m going to have to create my own, which I’m looking forward to.
Do you have a favourite vegan soup recipe?
Do you make extras for the freezer? Or cook/bake anything specifically to have on hand in the freezer?
I always have homemade vegetable broth and applesauce in the freezer. Since I’m baking mostly for one, I usually put half of each loaf, muffin, and bar recipe in the freezer for a month or two later. Also, I’ve been trying to cook pots of beans on days when I’m at home in order to keep some handy in the freezer. I’m trying to use more dry beans and less canned ones and I find this is helping.