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So, I’m making soups these days… Very strange! What’s happening to me? I’m becoming like my mother (not such a bad thing). She used to make soup ALL.THE.TIME… which is possibly the reason I deferred it for so long! We lived in Tasmania, by far the coldest state in the country. Neither of my parents was on a steady income so it made complete sense for her to do so. But you know, those memories… spinach soup! Ugh. Let’s not go there. But comfort soups like her Lamb and Pearl Barley Soup – now that was a meal to remember! I’m all for comfort soups.

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I’m also completely behind any meal that can be created in under one hour, with one pot and minimal effort. More days than I’d like to admit, it’s 5pm and I realise that dinner needs to be made – pronto! I was in just such a predicament the other day when I noted a half-empty bag of red lentils in the cupboard. What could I make with that? A quick Google search later, and this recipe came up trumps! With a fairly short list of ingredients, most of which were at hand, I was good to go! It was bubbling on the stove in no time and 30 minutes later, we were ready to eat.

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Not long after, a friend shared a very similar recipe via social media, but with the addition of raw cashews… I was intrigued. It turns out that cashew cream is incredibly easy to make. The two recipes, fairly similar in their own way, were easily merged. Super simple to create, this lentil soup becomes even more nutritious with the addition of blended cashews, adding a creaminess not usually found in lentil soup/dhal. Alex loved it and Theo came back for seconds and then for thirds – something which has never happened before – so I think we’re onto a winner!

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Spicy Red Lentil Soup with Cashew Cream and Lemon
Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients
1 cup raw cashew nuts
1 cup cold water
2 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chilli powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, trimmed and diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 litre (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups water
1 cup red lentils
Juice of ½ lemon, more to taste
1 tablespoon honey, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), to serve

Method
Place cashew nuts in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of cold water. Set aside to soak while soup is cooking.

In a heavy-based pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over low to medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in spices and vegetables and fry for 2 minutes longer, stirring.

Add tomato paste, broth, water, and lentils. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée the soup until smooth. Separately blend cashew nuts and cold water to make a thick cream. Add to the pot.

Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and honey, to taste. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and sprinkled with fresh coriander.

Serve with Ham, Corn and Polenta muffins as a side.

Adapted from NY Times via Revive Cafe

Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #redhotcentre!

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