DIARY OF A CHEF AT HOME
a collection of holistic nutrition tips & tricks, plus many of Food on the Table's favourite recipes
Lentils are part of the legume family. They're very high in protein and come in a variety of colors; brown, black, green, red, yellow and orange. You can find lentil dishes in many cuisines of the world; Indian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and North African. Lentils have a very mild taste which makes them great at absorbing spice and flavor. They're extremely versatile and can be used in many dishes; soups & stews, on salads, used as a base in dips and in any dish hot or cold.
Not only are they high in protein, they also have good amounts of vitamin A, B, C & K, minerals like calcium and magnesium and are an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Many people say that it's not necessary to soak legumes because they cook quickly, but I like to. More for the nutritional benefits. Soaking beans & legumes help to increase their digestibility by reducing enzyme inhibitors and unlocking hidden vitamins and minerals in the legume. Soaking also reduces cooking time and removes some of the starches that cause flatulence & abdominal discomfort in some people.
This soup is one of my favorite lentil dishes. It's hearty, comforting and really sticks to the bones. You can add other veggies like cauliflower or greens. If you want to add meat, it goes well with ground/cubed beef or lamb. This soup freezes well, sometimes I'll make a larger batch to freeze so I have some on hand for a quick & easy lunch or dinner.
Ingredients: serves 6-8ppl
1.5 cups Green lentils (soaked & rinsed)
3 Tbsp cooking oil (coconut, avocado)
5 cups stock or water
1 x 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, diced
2 celery, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 Tbsp cumin, ground
1 Tbsp Coriander, ground
1 tsp ginger, ground
1 tsp garam masala
.5 tsp chili flakes (optional)
2 tsp sea salt
Directions: Soak lentils for 4-6 hours (optional), rinse well and set aside. In a large stockpot, heat pan then add oil. Pour mustard seeds and fenugreek into the pot. Allow them to heat up until you hear them start to pop (don't let them burn!). Add onion, garlic, celery & carrots and saute until soft, 8-10min. Add tomatoes, cumin, coriander, ginger, garam masala, chili flakes and salt, stir well. Add lentils and water or stock, use 4-6 cups depending on the consistency you want. 4 cups will be like a stew and 5-6 cups will be more like a soup. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 30-45min, until lentils are soft. Stir in cilantro before serving. Also tasty with a dollop of yogurt & sauerkraut!
One of my great joys in life is cooking! As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) & food lover I continue to explore the balance between healthy, traditional food preparation and tasty dishes.
Check out my new COOKBOOK! Planting Seeds of Nourishment with over 40 whole-foods based recipes and tons of nutrition info!