Recipe video above. Here's a different way to use beef mince - a hearty Beef & Lentil Soup loaded with vegetables! Flavoured with spices and low on effort thanks to the ground beef, lentil soups can be so boring - but not this one. :)Healthy, hearty, economical - it's a complete dinner made in one pot. 100% perfect for freezing, use any veg you want and switch up the spicing to your taste!
Saute onion & garlic: Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Cook onion and garlic for 3 minutes until golden on the edges.
Brown & spice beef: Turn heat up to high, add beef and cook until it's no longer red, breaking it up as you go. Add 2 tablespoons of the Spice Mix and cook it for a further 2 minutes - it will smell so good!
Carrot & celery: Add carrot and celery, then stir for 1 minute. (If using your own veg mix, add the veg in this step that will hold up to full 25 min simmer time)
Make broth: Add water, beef stock, canned tomato, lentils and remaining Spice Mix too. Give it a stir, bring to simmer, then place lid on and reduce to medium low so it's simmering gently. Lentils will take 25 - 30 minutes to cook until soft. Very old lentils can take 5 - 10 minutes longer.
Simmer 15 minutes then add zucchini & green beans.
Simmer 10 minutes longer or until lentils are soft (ie. 25 minutes total).
Serve! Taste and add more salt if desired. Ladle into bowls and serve with yogurt and coriander.
* Switch these suggested vegetables for 6 to 8 cups of any vegetables that can be simmered. Add them according to their estimated cook time. Also, stirring in spinach, kale or baby spinach at the end is a nice way of sneaking in even more greens as well as adding some colour.1. Spice mix - Lots of possibilities here. It's easy to judge quantity by adding bit by bit and tasting as you go! I've used a handy simple Moroccan Spice Mix option to give this a flavour boost with minimal effort. But some other suggestions:
Mexican - You can totally cheat and use a packet of taco seasoning (1 pack is the perfect amount) or use the Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe in this Taco Soup. Serve with dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese, corn chips or warm tortillas for dunking. SO GOOD!
Indian - Use a good dose of your favourite curry powder (packet, or mix up as you like) with a touch of Garam Masala for extra authentic flavour! I would use at least 1 tbsp curry in the beef + 1 tsp Garam Masala, then the same in the broth. Add chilli powder or cayenne for heat! Serve with yogurt and coriander/cilantro;
Greek style - Double the garlic, add 1 tbsp oregano leaves and 2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds into the beef. Follow recipe as written, finish with the zest of 1 lemon + lemon juice to taste. Flatbread for dunking!
Italian - Add 2 - 3 teaspoons of Italian herb mix into the beef, plus a teaspoon more into the broth, plus a pinch of chilli flakes. Stir in 1/2 cup of grated parmesan and finish with a sprinkling of extra parmesan. Serve with crusty bread. SO GOOD!
Cajun - Use a good Cajun spice mix! Add a tablespoon into the beef, then add more to taste into the broth - just taste and simmer.
2. Salt - We start with a small amount then add more at end if needed because some Moroccan Spice Mixes are salted, and we don't want to over salt.3. Lentils - Use green or brown dried, or 2 x 400g/14oz cans (drained). For canned lentils, add them 15 minutes into the simmer time - they only need 10 to 15 minutes in the broth (much longer and they will get too mushy).Avoid Puy lentils/French lentils, they hold their shape and don't soften the way we want here!Chickpeas - Excellent alternative, will be like this Lamb Shawarma Mince Chickpea Soup. Beans will also work. Chickpeas and beans can be added atet beginning of the cook simmer time, use 2 x cans (drained).4. Beef stock/broth - Use low sodium so you can control the salt in the soup yourself, especially because some Moroccan Spice Mixes have salt in them too.Stock cubes or powder can be used but the flavour isn't as clean/pure. If you wish to use it, we need to improve the flavour base as follows:
Sauté the onion, celery and carrots together on medium low for 8 minutes – this will form a terrific soffrito flavour base to compensate;
Use 4 cubes or 4 teaspoons powder and 1 litre / 4 cups water (in place of beef stock).
5. Storage - fridge up to 5 days, or freezer for 3 months. 6. Nutrition per serving, excluding toppings.