This rich, hearty and filling celery and lentil soup uses whatever vegetables are sitting in the fridge. Add leftover cheese rinds for extra flavour.
The coming of summer brings the switch from vegetable to salad bags at my food co-op, which neatly solves the mildly vexing question of what-to-do-with-another-swede, but brings a surfeit of celery in its place. If I am really unlucky, poor vegetable management and utilization can mean that for a week or two, I have quantities of both celery and swede sitting at the bottom of the fridge looking at me reproachfully.
I have nothing against either vegetable, but neither particularly inspire me and I am never going to enjoy munching on a stick of raw celery, which would neatly solve one of the problems. My hatred of food waste ensures that I feel duty bound to use them somehow, although I often leave them at the co-op, to be added to the soup pot for the homeless lunches the church holds every weekend.
Celery works very well in soup, its character is tamed and mellowed by cooking. I would even go as far as to say that a good celery soup is quite delicious. Coupled with my hatred of food waste, I also get a small frisson of delight whenever I use a packet, jar or bottle of something up. I actually burst* into a rendition of “Another one bites the dust” in the shower one morning when I managed to finish up not only my shower gel, but shampoo and conditioner as well. (I really am aware that I need to get out more!)
With this soup, I used an entire head of celery, the remnants of two bags of lentils, the last vegetable stock cube, the frozen contents of the cheese rind pot and all the little broken bits left at the bottom of a bag of frozen broccoli. I was so satisfied with this that I renamed the soup Birdie Song soup, and sang* along “With a little bit of this and a little bit of that …”.
Make a big batch of this at a weekend for easy lunches, it will freeze and can be reheated on the hob or in the microwave. I usually freeze in a microwave proof container and then take to work frozen. As well as broccoli try adding cauliflower, leafy greens (add at the end of cooking), celeriac or even a wedge of the dreaded swede for that all important extra veg!
A rich and hearty soup that uses whatever vegetables you have sitting in your fridge. Cheese rinds add umami flavours.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 head celery roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic peeled and roughly chopped
- 200 ml mixed lentils (1 cup)
- Handful of cheese rinds – I keep a pot for them in the freezer
- 500 ml Vegetable stock
- 1 handful Green vegetables I used a handful of frozen broccoli
- Salt and pepper to taste
Fry the celery and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes in a large saucepan, add all the other ingredients, stir and then cover with boiling water.
Simmer with the lid on for about 30 mins until the lentils are soft. Blitz in the liquidiser or with a stick blender, seasoning to taste and adding more water if needed.
This soup freezes well. Prepare ahead for a quick ready frozen meal.