As winter approaches I love to enjoy a warming bowl of soup. Soups are a straightforward meal solution as you can simply chuck a few ingredients in to get you started, taste, then add more in as you go along. I like to use spices and herbs in my soups, with yoghurt or tahini for extra creaminess. This Moroccan lentil soup is elevated by the spicy Harissa paste, paprika and cumin, which all add a fiery warmth – with the yoghurt, coriander and mint bringing a hint of freshness. The lentils are a good source of protein, and with the carotene-rich carrots and onions (our gut’s good bacteria love onions!), plus the anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, this is the perfect fertility soup for lunch on the go.
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large red onions, finely chopped
A knob of ginger, finely grated
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cups of stock, either vegetable or chicken
300g red lentils, rinsed through a sieve first
½ tsp harissa paste, you can add more to taste at the end
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, half for cooking half to serve
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint, half for cooking half to serve
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lemon wedges to serve
Natural yoghurt to serve
Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat and fry the onions, carrot, ginger and garlic with the ground spices for around five minutes until soft.
Add the lentils, stock, harissa paste, salt and pepper and bring to the boil.
Simmer gently for around 30 minutes until the lentils are soft.
Remove pan from the heat and stir in half the coriander and half the mint, then the lemon juice.
Top with a dollop of yoghurt and sprinkle with the remaining coriander and mint, then a squeeze of lemon from your wedges.
Add a little extra harissa to taste, and serve with a chunk of wholemeal, rye, gluten-free, soda or sourdough bread.
About the author
Mel holds a BSc (Hons) in Nutritional Therapy, an MSc in Nutritional Medicine, and has been specialising in fertility and pregnancy nutrition for over 18 years. Her career includes time spent at the Zita West Fertility Clinic, The Healthy Holiday Company, and Dr Jane Benn & Associates. Mel set up Melanie Brown Nutrition 10 years ago and currently works with clients across the globe advising them on fertility-enhancing diet and lifestyle.