By Joshna Maharaj

This is an earthy soup, perfect for warming up on a cool evening. There’s a bit of spice for a nice hit at the back of your throat, and the crumbled feta is a surprisingly tasty garnish.

Makes 4 servings

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive or grapeseed oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
pinch cayenne, plus more if needed
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
3/4 pound (375g) red lentils (about 1 2/3 cups), picked over
7 cups vegetable or chicken broth, or water
5 carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 medium red bell peppers, diced
1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions, green part only
1/4 cup crumbled feta
Fresh coriander sprigs, for garnish (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Add lentils and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are almost tender, about 15 minutes, occasionally skimming froth off the surface.

Stir in carrots and red pepper and simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in coriander leaves and green onions. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve soup garnished with crumbled feta and fresh coriander sprigs, if desired.

Recipe by Joshna Maharaj, from Good Food For All: Seasonal Recipes From a Community Garden (The Stop Community Food Centre, Toronto, 2009). Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.