Tuscan Bean and Lentil Soup

Monday, 3 April 2017

Before we get into this week's recipe, I really need to tell you guys about the most delicious vegan afternoon tea I had at the weekend. I went with two of my lovely blogger friends, Charlene and Mimmi, to the Hidden Lane Tearoom in Glasgow to try out their veganised afternoon tea and it was just wonderful. I could probably write a whole post about how good it was but let's just say when you get a stand filled with vegan sandwiches, scones, and cakes it's pretty heavenly. The cakes were perfect (banana, carrot and raspberry flavours) and I honestly think that if they'd given this afternoon tea out to everyone nobody would have known it was vegan, apart from maybe the lack of meat and cheese in the sandwiches. If you're ever in Glasgow the Hidden Lane is definitely worth a visit - you do need to book in advance for the vegan tea though so give them a call beforehand. Plus it was only £12 each which is pretty unheard of for afternoon tea. Yup, I'm going to be dreaming about it for weeks.

Enough talk about cake though, onto soup...

Whatever the weather, soup is always one of my favourite dishes to eat. Call me crazy but even on a really warm summers day I can still enjoy a big bowl of soup with crusty bread. It's just one of those meals that always makes me feel wonderful so I tend to always have some stored away in my freezer for when the soup cravings hit. This recipe is one I am really into at the moment and (as usual) I've made it a lot of times in the past few weeks. It's adapted and veganised from The Soup Book by Sophie Grigson, a book that I used to use a lot but which isn't very great when it comes to vegan recipes. The original recipe uses chicken stock and cheese, and no lentils so I've changed it up a bit but it's still pretty similar to the soup I used to make a few years ago. I love having this one for lunch because the beans and lentils keep me full up for ages, and it's full of veggies so packs in quite a few of your 5/7 a day. Serve with lots of warm crusty bread (optional but totally recommended!).

You will need (serves 4): 
1 onion 
3 carrots 
1 leek 
2 cloves garlic
400g tin borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1/3 cup red lentils 
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock (made with 2 stock cubes)
200g spinach 
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
ground pepper

- Chop up the onion, carrot and leek into small chunks. 
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over a low/medium heat and add the veggies. Fry for 10 minutes to soften. 
- Very finely chop up the garlic cloves, add these to the pot and fry for a minute. 
- Mash up half the beans with a fork and add these to the pot along with the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, vegetable stock, and lentils. Season with black pepper to your taste. Bring to the boil and then simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes. 
- Add the rest of the beans, spinach and nutritional yeast to the pot and simmer for a further 15 minutes. 

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