It's cold and rainy outside... I need something warm. Something hearty. Something filling. Oh, and... Where DO I get my protein from? And what about iron!?
What should I eat???
YES folks... Humans have apparently been eating lentils for thousands of years now. Archeologists say that lentils (which are from the legume or "pulse" family) have been one of the first crops to be cultivated. So if our ancestors have enjoyed this crop for thousands of years, we could probably benefit from those pearly little gems ourselves!
As a vegan, or as one who sites diets which are recommended by health experts such as Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Dr. Mark Hyman, you probably know that eating legumes is the way to go. They provide many essential nutrients, are versatile and easy to cook .
One of my favorite ways of eating lentils is in a soup. Of course there's dhal and lentils salads, but a warm, hearty soup with some veggies and nice broth, will keep you healthy and nourished when your immune system needs that comfort and boost. Adding miso is great for the digestive system, which, in case you don't know, is the heart of our immune syste!Q
So lets dive right into it... Bring on THE PULSE!
Hearty Carrot, Rutabaga, and Lentil Soup
2 cups dry brown or French lentils, soaked for 4-6 hours
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 med rutabagas
3 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
6 cups of vegetable broth (or substitute some with water)
1 heaping tbsp. red miso paste
Chopped Cilantro for garnish
Begin by soaking your lentils for a few hours....
Lentils are not actually required to be soaked, but I find that I helps digestion and speeds up he coking process, which I like. Drain and rinse the soaked lentils well, place in a small pot cover with twice as much fresh water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer with the bay leaves for about 20 min.
While the lentils are cooking, prep and begin cooking your veggies: start by chopping the onion and mincing the garlic.
Rinse the vegetables well. Peel the rutabaga, and then run the veggies through your food processor- shred the rutabaga and carrots with the shredder blade and the celery through the slicer blade. If you don't have a food processor- shred the formers with a shredder and chop the later to 1/4" pieces.
In a large pot, sauté your vegetables in oil on medium heat, beginning with the onion, adding the rest of the vegetables and seasoning after 3-4 minutes. While doing that, check on the lentils- they should be soft by now. Drain and rinse them, keeping the bay leaves in. When vegetables are soft and translucent, add the lentils and vegetable stock to the pot. Bring o a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Turn the stove off and let the soup cool down for a few minutes, before transferring it to your blender. Or, if you have an emersion (stick) blender, you could blend it in the pot.
Caution: Make sure the soup is not boiling, and DO NOT fill your blender to the top. Otherwise your blender might act in some pretty unpredictable ways! Depending on the size of your blender you may need to blend in 2 or more "shifts", you can use the pot you've used to cook the lentils as your "transfer station" so to speak ;)
Return the mixture to the pot and simmer for another 5-10 minutes, so flavors really lock in. Remove from the stove and let the soup cool down before adding the miso (its recommended not to add miso paste to liquids in boiling temperature, so to retain the enzymes).
Place the soup in a bowl and garnish with some cilantro to your liking... you can serve with some grain of your choice for an full meal!
Stay Warm... Enjoy... AND BE NOURISHED!