Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

The fag end of a packet of red split lentils and a few lone vegetables at the bottom of the fridge were the inspiration for this soup. It’s thick and hearty, aromatic and enticing, a muddle of sweet butternut squash and carrot with onion and leek, everything livened up and united by ras al hanout, the Moroccan spice mix. You can also see something else on the table; it’s a salad made with last night’s leftover roast hake. Recipe coming soon.

Serves 4

Prep: 25 min

Cook: 25 min

1 large onion

10g butter

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 leek

200g butternut squash

100g carrot

100g red split lentils

2 tsp ras al hanout

2 tsp flour

1.2ml chicken or vegetable stock

handful of spinach (if possible; 25g frozen will do)


Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Melt the butter in the oil in a spacious, lidded pan. Stir in the onion and cook gently, stirring often while you attend to everything else. Split the leek lengthways, slice across into thin half moons. Discard root and rinse the slices thoroughly to remove mud. Quarter the squash then halve the pieces lengthways, scrape out the seeds and remove the peel. Cut into small squares approx 1cm thick. Peel the carrot and cut into even smaller pieces. Stir the leek into the semi-softened onion, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until sweaty. Stir again and add the squash. Cook, covered for 5 minutes, stir in the lentils and then the ras al hanout and flour. Keep stirring until disappeared. Add 500ml stock, increase the heat and stir as it comes up to simmer. Simmer for a couple of minutes then add carrot and remaining stock. Adjust the heat so the soup simmers steadily, semi-cover the pan and cook until the veg is tender, the lentils soft and fluffy. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice. Shred the spinach and stir in with finely snipped chives. When the spinach has wilted – a couple of minutes – the soup is done.