Warning: This soup will fill the house with gorgeous smells whilst cooking!
This delicious (and healthy!) soup came about for two reasons: Firstly, I wanted to create a vegetarian soup with Moroccan flavours which didn't contain chickpeas, and secondly, there's a jar of ras el hanout in my spice cupboard which was crying out to be used in something!
So here it is, I'm very pleased with it, and everyone else really loved it too! Feel free to shake up the flavours by substituting a different spice mix, or adding cooked pulses after blending it to make a heartier soup.
Yields 10 portions (recipe easily halved) of approximately 250g each, at only 99 calories per serving!
[Calories in square brackets, vegetable weights after peeling/coring]
- 1 large or 2 small red bell peppers (130g) [40 calories]
- 250g sweet potatoes 
- 1 large courgette (250g) 
- 250g carrots 
- 1 red onion (100g) 
- 3 garlic cloves 
- 1 x 15ml tbsp olive oil 
- 1 x 15ml tbsp Ras El Hanout (see Notes) 
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock (ensure gluten and dairy free if appropriate) 
- 1 x 400g tin tomatoes 
- 2 tbsp double concentrate tomato puree 
- 50g split red lentils 
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
- Large handful fresh coriander leaves 
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice, to taste [4-8]
- Plain yoghurt (optional) [13 calories per 15ml tbsp]
- A few fresh coriander leaves
- Flatbreads or pitta, warmed through (not included in calorie count)
1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200C / 180C fan oven, then cut the peppers and sweet potatoes into 2cm chunks. Cut the carrots into 1cm slices and courgette into 1.5cm slices. Peel the garlic and onion, and cut the onion into 8 wedges.
2. Put all of the vegetables and the garlic into a large roasting tin in a single layer, and sprinkle with the olive oil and Ras El Hanout, then toss together until evenly coated. Roast in the upper part of the oven (but not right at the top!) for 30-35 minutes until just starting to caramelise turning the vegetables over half way (the carrots will not be quite tender just yet, but they will cook through in the next stage).
3. Add the roasted vegetables, tomatoes, tomato puree and stock to a large pan, bring to the boil, add the lentils and then cover and simmer together for 20 minutes until the lentils and carrots are tender.
4. Add the coriander leaves and 1 tbsp lemon juice, and blitz to desired consistency with a stick blender or in a food processor. Taste, and add a little extra salt and lemon juice if needed.
5. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt if desired (you can make a few swirls with a cocktail stick if you like, to pretty it up!), and some fresh coriander sprinkled on top. Warmed flatbreads make a nice accompaniment.
If your Ras El Hanout has any whole spices in it, I would advise grinding the quantity for this recipe finely before using, otherwise you may end up with the odd husk etc. from the spices in your soup which your blender may not break down. Not the end of the world, but nicer to grind them all up first! I used Sainsbury's Ras El Hanout.