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Velvety Red Lentil Soup

Dunja Gulin
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation: 10
  • Cooking: 30
  • Ready: 40

Hearty and comforting, this autumn/winter red lentil soup is something to look forward to after a hard day’s work!


  • 70 g chopped leek (white part) or onion
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 200 g peeled and seeded pumpkin or squash wedges cut into 3-4-cm pieces
  • 120 g carrot cut into 2-3 cm pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 dried tomato halves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cooking wine
  • 150 g dried red lentils, washed and drained
  • 7-cm strip of kombu seaweed
  • 1 litre water
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a little crushed black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar


In a large saucepan, sauté the leek or onions in the olive oil with the salt, uncovered, until they’re soft and transparent. Add the pumpkin or squash and carrot and sauté until the veggies start to ‘sweat’. Add the bouillon powder, turmeric, garlic, bay leaves and tomatoes and stir.

Next, pour in the wine and let the mixture boil. Now it’s time to add the lentils, kombu and water. Turn up the heat, cover and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat and let simmer for about 25–30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are completely tender (if pressure cooking, you’ll only need to let it cook for 15 minutes).

At this point, remove the bay leaves. I usually use my handheld blender to purée the soup and make it creamy, but you can leave it as it is, if you like it chunky and more stew-like. Add the lemon juice, crushed pepper, and umeboshi vinegar and stir. Taste and add more spices if desired.

You can add more hot water if the soup seems too thick, and it will definitely thicken as it cools. Adding 80 g diced beetroot cubes together with the pumpkin and carrot will give this soup a nice earthy aroma and a lovely reddish-orange hue. Leftovers are always welcome and this is one of the best things that could wait for me in the fridge after a hard day’s work!

Additonal notes

Recipe taken from The Vegan Pantry by Dunja Gulin

Photography by William Reavell, published by Ryland Peters & Small

Facebook: Ryland Peters & Small
Twitter: @RylandPeters
Instagram: @rylandpetersandsmall

“This is my favourite autumn/fall and winter soup! My clients might be a bit fed up with it, but since it is really very rich and yummy, I guess they forgive me for putting it on the menu almost every week during the pumpkin season. I hope you’ll lick your plate, spoon, and saucepan, like I do every time I make it!”

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