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Persian red lentil soup with tahini, beetroot and fried mint

Lentil soup may not sound like the sexiest of dishes, but rest assured, it's a heart-warmer. We've added warming spices and served the soup with a dollop of garlicky tahini. Thin slivers of shaved raw beetroot add earthiness and texture - the beetroot is also excellent simply grated and served piled on top. The poached egg is optional, but highly recommended.

You'll need

80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped 1 celery stalk, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp ground coriander 2 tsp sweet paprika ½ tsp hot paprika Pinch of ground cinnamon 150 gm canned chopped tomatoes 1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock 300 gm Persian red lentils (see note) ½ cup (loosely packed) mint Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon 2 beetroot, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandolin Poached eggs (optional), to serve   Garlic tahini 100 gm hulled tahini 80 gm thick natural yoghurt 1 garlic clove, finely chopped Juice of 1 lemon


  • 01
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion, celery and garlic and sauté until tender (4-5 minutes), then stir in spices and cook until fragrant (30 seconds). Add tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened (1-2 minutes), then add stock and lentils. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, half-covered with a lid, until lentils are very tender (20-25 minutes).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for garlic tahini, stir ingredients and 60ml hot water in a bowl to combine, season to taste and set aside.
  • 03
  • Heat remaining oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add mint and fry until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels (discard oil).
  • 04
  • Half-blend the lentil mixture with a hand-held blender, stir in lemon rind and juice, and season generously to taste. Ladle into serving bowls, add a swirl of garlic tahini, top with beetroot, poached egg and fried mint, and serve hot.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Additional Notes

Note Persian red lentils are available at select delicatessens. If they're unavailable, use black or green lentils instead.

Drink Suggestion

Rich amber ale.

Featured in

May 2016

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