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Lentil and speck soup with beetroot slaw

A fresh slaw of beetroot and Spanish onion brings welcome lift to this lentil soup.

By Emma Knowles
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 10 mins cooking
  • Serves 4 - 6
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It may seem unusual to top a hot soup with a cool slaw, but we love how the earthy lentils get a burst of freshness and texture from the beetroot. Together they make these bowls meals in themselves.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 100 gm speck or smoky bacon, diced
  • 200 gm canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock
  • 350 gm small green or black lentils
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve
Beetroot slaw
  • 3 beetroot, trimmed
  • ¼ Spanish onion, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, or to taste
  • ½ tsp dry-roasted caraway seeds (see note)


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 200C. For the slaw, place 2 beetroot in a small roasting pan, add enough water to cover base of pan, cover with foil and roast until beetroot are tender when pierced with a skewer (50 minutes to 1 hour). Cool, then peel and coarsely grate into a bowl. Peel remaining beetroot, cut into julienne and add to bowl with remaining ingredients. Season and toss well.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add celery, carrot, onion and garlic and sauté until tender (5-6 minutes). Stir in speck, fry until fat begins to render (3-4 minutes), then add tomato and cook until beginning to darken (3-4 minutes). Add stock, lentils, thyme and bay leaf, bring to a simmer, half-cover with a lid, and cook until lentils are tender (40-45 minutes).
  • 3
    Pulse the soup to a coarse purée with a hand-held blender, leaving plenty of lentils whole. Stir in parsley, season generously to taste and serve hot topped with beetroot slaw and extra parsley.


To dry-roast spices, cook the spices in a dry pan, stirring continuously over medium-high heat until they're fragrant. The cooking time varies depending on the spices used.
Drink Suggestion: Silky pinot noir. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.

  • undefined: Emma Knowles