Follow Rachel Allen's recipe for a beautiful lentil soup


  • 3 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 150 g (5oz) split red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 l (13/4 pints) vegetable or chicken stock
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tblsp chopped coriander, mint or parsley


  • Place the olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat, add the onion, garlic and some salt and pepper, then cook, uncovered, for about 8–10 minutes or until the onion is slightly golden around the edges.
  • Add the ground spices and lentils and stir over the heat for 1 minute, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer or 10–12 minutes or until the lentils have completely softened. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, stir in the chopped herbs and sprinkle over a little more salt if necessary.