Spiced spinach dhal soup


Put the red or puy lentils into a medium saucepan and cover with approx 900ml of cold water. Bring to the boil, skimming off any scum which rises to the surface, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, until tender and just falling apart. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in another pan, add the red onion and fry gently for 15 minutes, until browned. Reduce the heat, add the garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for another 2 minutes. Stir in the spices and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the stock, the red or puy lentils and their liquid, canned tomatoes, cayenne pepper and season with salt to taste. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, then add the coconut cream. Blend, using a hand blender or in batches in a liquidiser, until the soup is almost smooth. Transfer to a rigid plastic container and leave to cool. Cover, label and freeze until required. If you are not going to freeze the soup please refer straight to the end. 

Remove the soup from the freezer. You can now either leave it to thaw in the fridge for 24 hours, then transfer it to a saucepan the next day, or remove from the freezer on the day, run the base of the plastic container briefly under warm water and transfer it to a saucepan while still frozen. Cover and leave over a low heat until thawed. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the spinach and most of the coriander leaves and cook for a further minute. Using a hand blender, blend briefly until the spinach is just roughly chopped.

Recipe by
Guest Author
Prep time
30 minutes
Cooking time
25 minutes

A comforting vegetarian one pot delight, a definite crowd pleaser. 


Recipe by Rachel Allen

  • 225g dried red or puy lentils
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2.5cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 medium-hot red chilli, deseeded and chopped, plus extra to garnish if you like
  • 1 medium-hot green chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground corriander
  • 300ml vegetable stock, hot
  • 200g can chopped tomatoes
  • Good pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 100ml coconut cream (you can also use half the fat coconut cream if desired)
  • 100g baby leaf spinach, to serve
  • 20g bunch of fresh coriander, to serve
  • 6 tbsp crème fresh, to serve
  • Serve with 3 Nairn's organic oatcakes

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