Healthy Recipe: Hot Green Lentil Soup

Recipe by Leandra Rouse Photography by Sam Emmons

This satisfying and nutritious soup is a perfect weeknight meal when the temperature drops. It uses authentic Indian spices which according to Ayurvedic medicine add warmth to the body.

This recipe combines lentils and split peas for a creamy nutty texture, with the wonderful flavor of raisins marinated in the curry. It is wonderful served over a bowl of hot rice with fresh herbs and lime. This combination is so aromatic, bright and warm for an autumn evening or weekend lunch. The lentil-split pea combination was inspired by a recipe in the Esalen cookbook and adapted by adding warming Indian spices to the broth.

Lentils should be a staple in every pantry because they cook quickly and don’t require soaking – you can make a meal in thirty minutes! Lentils are rich in essential nutrients like protein, B vitamins, magnesium, iron and zinc. Here they make a great soup, but you can use them as a burrito filling, sprinkle them over a salad, or even spoon them over rice to make a hearty pilaf.

The ancient Indian medical system, known as Ayurveda, is based on a natural and holistic approach to physical and mental health. It is one of the oldest medical systems and remains a core part of the Indian medical system. Ayurvedic medicine considers the body’s changing health needs throughout the seasons. Ayurvedic philosophy says that the metabolism works harder to maintain the body’s internal temperature during winter. So the recommendation is rich, nutritious and warming to help the body maintain energy. This means increasing the use of heat-producing spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

This soup is so good, make a double batch and freeze it for future dinners. It reheats nicely and makes the healthy choice easy.

Ingredients:

1 cup yellow split peas

1 cup lentils, red preferred

7 cups of water

1 medium carrot, washed and sliced

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 tbsp curry powder

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

8 green onions or scallions, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons golden raisins

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 can lighten 14-ounce coconut milk

2 teaspoons fine grain sea or kosher salt

½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

Instructions:

Blanch the lentils and peas until the water runs clear, and then transfer to an extra-large stock pot with 7 cups of water. Quickly bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add chopped carrots and 1 tablespoon fresh ginger. Cover and simmer until split peas are tender, about 30 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, heat a small saucepan over low heat and toast the warm spices – curry powder, cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ginger. Heat until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Set aside.

In the same sauce pan, heat coconut oil over medium heat and add half the green onion, remaining 1 tablespoon ginger and raisins. Fry for two minutes, then add tomato paste and fry for a few more minutes. Add the toasted spices to the tomato paste mixture and stir to combine. Add this mixture to boiled lentils with coconut milk and salt.

Simmer together for 20 minutes or until the soup is the consistency you like. The longer you simmer the soup, the thicker it will be.

Serve hot over rice garnished with chopped green onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. A spoonful of yogurt and your favorite hot sauce are also great additions.

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

220 calories

10 grams of protein

7 grams of total fat

6 grams of saturated fat

Cholesterol 0 mg

29 grams of carbohydrates

8 grams of fiber

Total sugars are 5 grams

0 grams of added sugars

Sodium 530 mg

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