Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lentil Soup- Warming You Up and Cleaning You Out

A beautiful illustration of the lentil plant.
I was finally able to get back in the kitchen Sunday night for a few hours. I attempted to make two new recipes. I say attempted because only one of them was a success...hence this post about lentil soup. The other was split pea soup (something my mother told me last night 'no one ever messes up'). Usually split pea soup is made with ham, but I wanted to try a vegetarian recipe so I used truffle oil and baby portabella mushrooms. No good. I'm not sure what went wrong, but it was totally inedible. I mean usually I can add some more spices and salvage something, but this was just plain GROSS!

Back to my lentil soup...

NOTE ABOUT GRAINS/SEEDS/LEGUMES: They should all be rinsed and soaked in warm water overnight. The rinsing gets rid of dirt/dust/dander, and the soaking releases phytic acid which causes malabsorbsion of the minerals in the grains/legumes/seeds. Soaking also makes them more easily digestible (so you won't get gas! always a plus)

This is super easy. In a soup pot, I sauteed in some onions, carrots, and celery in organic butter and canola oil for a few minutes. Add in 2 cups organic vegetable broth, and 4 more cups of water. Add in 2 cups of lentils, set heat to high and stir. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes and then set heat to medium/low. Cover and let simmer for about an hour. Check periodically to make sure it doesn't dry out. Lentils absorb a lot of water. Season with sea salt, pepper, onion powder, sage, and thyme as desired.

The recipe above made 5 servings for me. I kept one in the refrigerator and froze the rest. This is a great way to have a quick meal. Make a large pot of soup or stew and freeze the leftovers right away. I usually do this with my chili, chicken soup, beef stew, and now lentil soup.

Some tidbits about lentils:

  • The plant likely originated in India and Pakistan, and lentils have been part of the human diet since Neolithic times, being one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East. Archeological evidence shows they were eaten 13,000 to 9,500 years ago.
  • Lentils are actually seeds.
  • With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils, like other legumes, have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any plant-based food, after soybeans and hemp.
  • Lentils also contain dietary fiber, iron, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% rather than 31%).
  • Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice, which results in a complete protein dish. If I had done this research before I would have added in some brown rice- but you can! (Original Source)
  • Since they are such a great source of fiber, if you are experiencing a backlog in the doodie department, just make some of this and it will fix you up in no time! Keep that colon clean!!!
Off to finish a mountain of things before I leave for my sister's for Thanksgiving! I'll be making my famous spinach and artichoke dip and blackberry bread pudding....tune in tomorrow for the details!

What is everyone making for Thanksgiving?

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