Spicy lentil and beetroot leaves soup

Preparation: 2 hours

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Spicy lentil and beetroot leaves soup

A warm hearty soup that can be cooked whilst doing other things around the house. No wasted beetroot leaves ever again!


  • 2 cups brown-green lentils
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 heaped teaspoon crushed/finely chopped garlic
  • stalks & leaves from 3-4 beetroots
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons roasted & ground cumin seeds
  • half to 1 teaspoon harissa
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons sumac (optional)
  • smoked paprika (optional)
  • coriander leaves (optional)


  1. Wash lentils. Pick out small stones etc.
  2. Place in large pot.
  3. Add 8 cups water.
  4. Bring to boil, simmer briskly for 1 hour.
  5. As soon as you reduce to simmer, add 2-3 tablespoons olive in in another pan on low heat.
  6. Halve & slice onions finely.
  7. Add onions to olive oil.
  8. Saute on low heat for 20 mins. (Covered)
  9. Add garlic.
  10. Saute for another 20 minutes.
  11. Onion-garlic mixture should not burn.
  12. Chop beetroot stems & leaves into 2-3 cm lengths.
  13. Wash stems & leaves. Rinse & repeat.
  14. Add to onion mixture & stir.
  15. When leaves & stems have wilted, add to lentils.
  16. Put cumin seeds into a small pan on low heat & roast for a few minutes – don’t burn.
  17. Grind, and add to soup.
  18. Add harissa paste, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, & sumac (if wanted) to soup.
  19. Adjust with black pepper & salt to taste.
  20. After 15-20 minutes, add juice of one lemon.
  21. Make sure soup doesn't burn on the bottom. Simmer, don't boil.
  22. Can add extra water, if too thick. (Or leave as a kind of dahl, if you like.)
  23. Great with crusty bread.
  24. Even better the next day.


    If you aren't using the beetroots for anything else, you can peel, cube and add to the lentils.

    You can add more harissa if you like spicy food.

    You can also add 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika, or a few tablespoons chopped fresh coriander just before serving.

Fiona Sweet Formiatti

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