As I near the end of my marathon training I am mindful of healthy eating, and on the lookout for yummy, good-for-you meals that are high in carbohydrates. The weather is beginning to cool and for me that’s always a good excuse to make soup. Convincing my family that soup (and bread) is a complete meal is another story.
But my family does like my curried lentil soup. When we used to live in Bloomington, Indiana when my husband was in law school, I used to stop by this great health food store where they would make a soup of the day. Their lentil soup was incredible – I sooo wish I had asked for a recipe! Because they made soup everyday, they had a base of veggies to work from, and I think that might be what made it so good. Whatever their secret, it worked!
Lentils are a good-for-you food packed with lots of essential vitamins and minerals. They contain little to no fat when prepared correctly. Eating a meal in which the lentil is the main attraction can reduce overeating due to its high content of fiber and protein. Their high fiber content also makes them a good protector against bowel cancer. Lentils are an great source of B vitamins too, especially B3, which is essential for both a healthy nervous system and digestive system. They are high in iron, zinc and calcium and are a good replacement for red meat. Like meat, the iron in lentils is better absorbed when they are eaten with a good source of vitamin C like leafy green vegetables (see soup recipe below).
Lentils might seem a little boring, but I promise that when you add curry and the other veggies, they are delicious. What is your favorite way to serve lentils?
Curried Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 8-ounce russet potato, peeled, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 cup of fresh spinach or kale / or a bag of frozen spinach or kale
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
2 cups lentils (about 12 ounces), rinsed, drained
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, potato, celery, carrot and sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Mix in curry powder and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, tomatoes with juices and lentils and bring to boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are very tender, about 45 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate until cold; cover and keep refrigerated. Before serving, rewarm soup over low heat.)