As promised, I’m balancing indulgence with healthfulness this month – since my last recipe was for a sausage-stuffed grilled cheese sandwich, this one will be much more restrained. It’s a simple lentil soup, bulked up by oven-roasted tomatoes and given warmth and depth with harissa, cumin, ginger, and saffron. A swirl of cool Greek yogurt balances out the subtle spiciness. It’s a very good recipe for these very cold days – satisfying and nourishing at the same time.
This recipe comes from one of my favorite healthy cookbooks, A Change of Appetite, by Diana Henry. It was only released last summer, but it’s already become one of 4 or 5 books that I turn to when I need inspiration for whole eating. It’s also the only cookbook I purchased as a gift for someone this year, which I think says a lot. Anyways, if you’re looking for sources of inspiration for healthy cooking, I’d highly recommend it – and if you’re curious but not sold, read more about it in my full review from a few months ago.
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Lentil and Roasted Tomato Soup with Saffron
Recipe adapted slightly from A Change of Appetite. Serves 4-6.
- 6 plum tomatoes, halved
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 1 tsp dried harissa powder
- salt and black pepper
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1 red thai chile, stem removed, finely diced
- 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 3/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- good pinch of saffron stems
- 4 c. vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 c. red lentils
- plain Greek yogurt, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Whisk together the olive oil, harissa, and salt and pepper, and pour over the tomatoes. Use a spatula to flip the tomatoes and coat in the oil, ending with the tomatoes cut side up. Roast the tomatoes for 40-50 minutes, stirring once, until slightly shrunken and charred in places. Set aside the 4-6 nicest looking tomato halves for garnish.
- In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, thai chile, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and saffron and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, the lentils, and the roasted tomatoes to the pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils have softened into a puree and the tomatoes have mostly dissolved into the soup. Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with a spoonful of Greek yogurt and one of the reserved tomato halves.