As the nights draw in I get a sudden urge for a soup-er cooking session. Autumn can be a busy time, with another school holiday looming and Halloween celebrations on the horizon. This quick and easy soup recipe is perfect for filling cold tummies after an evening of trick or treating or a day out with the family.

The main constituents of this recipe are the lentils, stock and tomatoes. The carrots can always be swapped for red peppers or left out altogether if you prefer. As the year moves on I like to throw in a handful of chopped kale and maybe some chickpeas, making it a substantial and filling meal. As always, I encourage you to play around and see what works for you and yours.


1 white onion

2 garlic cloves

2 medium carrots

90g red lentils

1 vegetable stock cube

400g tin of tomatoes

650ml boiling water

2 small bay leaves

Small handful of fresh coriander


Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic cloves. Gently fry in a large saucepan until soft and translucent, don’t burn the garlic as it will taste bitter.

As the onions are frying wash and chop the carrots. I don’t bother peeling for a soup but you can if you prefer. Rough chop into bite size pieces. Add to the onions and garlic and gently fry for around five minutes.

Once the vegetables are ready; tip in the lentils, stock cube, tinned tomatoes, and bay leaves. Stir well before adding the boiling water.

Leave to simmer for around 35 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop your ingredients from sticking. Add a little more water if you think it needs it.

Roughly chop the fresh coriander. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper. At this point you can either serve the soup chunky, or whiz with a hand blender for a smooth consistency. Top each bowl with a generous sprinkling of fresh coriander and enjoy.

- Claire Davies is a York food writer with a passion for seasonal ingredients and historic recipes. Her blog, The Greedy Wordsmith, can be found online.