This weekend was so wet and soggy I spent all of Sunday in the kitchen cooking and baking and this is just some of what I made…
Did you know that carrots were originally found in a host of other colours including white, yellow, red, or purple rather than our familiar orange? In fact, purple, yellow and red carrots were the only colour varieties of carrots to be cultivated before the 15th or 16th century. The heirloom varieties are back in fashion and available at any farmers market. I have used the classic orange ones in this soup, however, as I think the vibrant orange colour looks best and I think they have the best flavour too!
This is a great quick and easy soup to make. I have added some lemon juice into this soup to balance the sweetness of the carrots and really bring out the flavour. The small amount of lentils added gives some body to the soup, thickening it a little while still keeping it light.
By topping it with fetta and dukkah it makes carrot soup just a bit more special without too much extra effort. The fetta I used was the Eastern Fetta (a delicate spreadable cheese marinated with preserved lemon, juniper berries, garlic, rosemary and peppercorns) from Small Cow Farm. We did a cheese making course there on Saturday learning how to make camembert, ricotta and mascarpone. It was a fantastic day and we are already planning on doing another one.
Dukkah is an Egyptian dry mix of roasted nuts, seeds and spices blended finely together. Traditionally dukkah is eaten by dipping fresh Egyptian bread first into olive oil and then into the nut mixture but it also serves as a versatile seasoning in Egyptian cooking and is a great coating on fish or chicken. You can buy dukkah now in most supermarkets or delicatessens or you can make it yourself as it is quite easy. There is a great recipe for dukkah on taste.com.au.
As we didn’t have any fresh bread and we didn’t want to head out in the teaming rain, I whipped up some lovely soda-bread rolls to go with the soup. They were delicious and very filling. The blend of seeds in this bread helps to make it lower GI and provides a gorgeous crunchy texture.
Carrots are a healthy and versatile vegetable available all year round. High in the antioxidant beta carotene, other phytonutrient carotenoids, immune-boosting vitamin C and heart-healthy and bowel-nourishing fibre, but very low in calories – one cup of carrot (chopped, 140g) contains only 45 calories.
Apparently carrots can keep your brain young too. Carrots—along with red capsicum, celery, rosemary and thyme—contain luteolin, a flavonoid believed to reduce inflammation that can lead to cognitive decline. In a study published in the October 2010 issue of The Journal of Nutrition, mice that ate a diet that included luteolin had better spatial memory (e.g., how quickly they found a platform in a water maze) and less inflammation than mice who didn’t get any luteolin (poor little mice!).
I am sure you need no further reasons to try this soup which is so quick and easy and just scrumptious. It makes a fantastic warming Winter lunch or delicious light dinner. YUM 🙂
Carrot and Red Lentil Soup topped with Fetta and Dukkah
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped, optional
- 450g carrots, chopped (approx. 4 cups)
- 1⁄4 cup red lentils
- 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons marinated feta cheese
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of dukkah
- Heat a large pot over medium heat.
- When hot, add the oil, onion and chilli and sauté for about 5 minutes or until they start to soften.
- Add the carrots, lentils and stock and bring to the boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots and lentils are very soft.
- Using an immersion blender in the pot or by transferring soup in batches to an upright blender, purée until very smooth. Return to the pot.
- Add water or more stock to thin to desired consistency. Reheat over medium heat until steaming, stirring often. Stir in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Ladle into warmed bowls, sprinkle with parsley, dollop each serve with 2 teaspoons of fetta and sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of dukkah.
Per Serve (soup only): 509kJ or 121 calories; P 5g Fat 3g SFat 0.6g CHO 17g Fibre 6g
Per Serve (with Fetta and Dukkah): 683kJ or 163 calories; P 7g Fat 6.5g SFat 2.3g CHO 17g Fibre 6g
Seedy Soda Bread Rolls (adapted from my soda bread recipe)
- 1 cup (140g) wholemeal bread flour
- 2/3 cup (94g) white bread flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon linseeds
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 200ml buttermilk (or 100ml milk mixed with 100g yoghurt), plus additional 1/2-1 tablespoon of milk as needed
- Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper (like glad bake) and sprinkle with a little flour
- Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt.
- In a small bowl mix together the pumpkin, sunflower, linseeds and poppy seeds. Reserve 1 tablespoon and add the rest to the flour mixture and mix through.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, stirring as you go. If necessary, add the extra milk to bring the mixture together; it should form a soft, sticky dough.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for about a minute, just long enough to pull it together into a loose ball but no longer.
- Cut into 6 even ‘rolls’ and put on the prepared baking tray. Mark a deep cross into each roll with a sharp, serrated knife, cutting about half of the way through.
- Brush the top of each roll with a little milk and sprinkle with remaining seeds.
- Put it in the preheated oven and bake for about 15-18 minutes, until the rolls sound hollow when tapped underneath.
- Cool on a wire rack if you like a crunchy crust, or wrap in a clean tea towel if you prefer a soft crust.
- Eat while still warm.
Per Roll: 777kJ or 185 calories; P 7g Fat 4g SFat 0.7g CHO 28g Fibre 4.5g