Red Lentil and Silverbeet Soup

This soup is quick to prepare and  combines the health giving nutrients of whole red lentils with iron rich goodness of young silverbeet.  We used silverbeet that was organically grown in our garden and so was very tender.

For this soup we also used dry roasted cumin seeds and coriander seeds (organically grown and harvested from our garden) prepared and ground at home. This released their wonderful aroma and gave a great flavour to the finished soup. If you haven’t tried dry roasting spices before, it is easier than you think and well worth the small effort involved. You will never use the bought ground spices again.

This is another in our series of dishes for 2016 International Year of Pulses 

Red Lentil and Silverbeet Soup


Dry Roasted Spices:

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoons coriander seeds


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 French Shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh roasted ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh roasted  ground coriander
  • 1 cup red lentils  picked-over and rinsed well
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh silverbeet, washed and chopped after the lentils have cooked
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest  and juice 1 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  •  full-fat Greek style yoghurt  to serve


Dry Roasting the Spices:

  1. Heat a  a small heavy based pan on a medium-low heat  and when the pan is hot dry roast the cumin seeds for about 1-2 minutes till they start to crackle  and release their aroma keeping them moving in the pan by shaking the pan and being careful not to burn them. They should turn a slight reddish brown.
  2. Immediately remove them to a plate to cool. Left in the pan the seeds will continue to cook and burn.
  3.  Repeat the process with the coriander seeds, which being larger could take slightly longer
  4. Once cool to the touch grind them individually with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder to  a fine mix
  5. Allow powder to cool for 5 minutes
  6. Seal in small glass jars with tight fitting lids
  7. Shelf life is 6-8 months if stored properly
IMG_20160314_105009-roasted cumin2
Roasted and ground cumin seeds.


IMG_20160314_104450-roasted coriander
Roasted and ground coriander seeds.

Making the Soup

  1. Sauté the French shallots in the olive oil  over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Turn heat down and continue to cook for another 4 minutes or so, until they start to caramelize
  3. Stir in garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently
  4. Add the cumin and coriander, and stir to mix in well and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add lentils and water.
  6. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
  7. When the soup starts to boil, reduce heat  and allow to simmer until lentils are soft. About 30-35 minutes.
  8. Add mint, and the add salt and ground pepper to taste.
  9. Mash some of the lentils with a wooden spoon and stir well.
  10. Add the silverbeet and cook for 4 minutes
  11. When the lentils and the silverbeet are cooked add the lemon zest and juice.
  12. Check the seasonings and adjust if necessary
  13. Serve and garnish with dollop of  Greek style yogurt

Note – If you want to add a little colour to the soup you can cook a tablespoon of tomato paste for a minute after adding the spices Step 4.

IMG_20160314_124507-red lentil and silverbeet soup cooked



Growing your ingredients – Growing Silverbeet

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