During colder months, a hot and hearty bowl of lentil soup is the perfect way to nourish your body. This recipe is filled with fibrous vegetables, colorful spices, and will become an instant staple year-round. This recipe can be made stovetop or in an instant pot for a quick, convenient meal.
The brightly colored red lentils used in this soup are not only beautiful but incredibly nourishing for the body. In studies of the “blue zones” around the world (these are the areas with the highest concentration of people living to one hundred), legumes are a staple in most of the centenarians’ diets. In this study, it was discovered that people who eat legumes (like lentils), olive oil, and fish dishes regularly, live longer, on average.
There are many reasons from the macronutrient combination, to vitamins and minerals, as well as the high fiber content that make lentils a superfood. Lentils have an incredible combination of wholesome carbohydrates and high-quality plant protein. One cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber. That’s more than half the daily recommended fiber consumption, without including any of the other fibrous vegetables in this soup. Eating a diet high in fiber helps maintain steady blood sugar, regulates digestion, and helps keep you full longer which may aid in maintaining a healthy weight.
We’ve chosen fresh turmeric, garlic, parsley, and ginger to flavor this soup, although you can certainly use dried versions of these spices if needed. We love adding pops of color and bursts of fresh herbs as a nice contrast to the grounding, comforting taste of this soup. We also love the benefits of fresh, organic herbs whenever possible.
Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids, and specifically curcumin, which is the compound that gives it many of its medicinal properties. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory and acts as an antioxidant. Giving our body foods like turmeric that fight free radicals, lower inflammation, and decrease oxidative stress is one of the most powerful ways to lower the chances of developing chronic illnesses like heart disease or cancer, to increase life expectancy, and to prevent premature aging. Include turmeric in your diet as often as possible to reap the full benefits.
We’ve added fresh parsley after the soup is cooked to keep the vibrant green color and fresh flavor intact. You’ll often see parsley as an ingredient in green juices, thanks to its detoxifying properties. It helps reduce water weight and bloat, so it can be a great herb to add in during your Clean Program cleanse in smoothies, over meat, or in other dishes like this cleanse-friendly recipe.
16-ounce bag of lentils
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 small onion, diced
1 small shallot, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh turmeric, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3-4 stalks celery, sliced
3-4 large carrots, sliced
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup olive oil
3-5 generous handfuls of spinach
1/4 cup fresh parsley
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper
Generous pinch of sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Step 1: If cooking your soup stovetop, set the heat to medium and add olive oil, onions, and shallot to a large pot. If using an instant pot, set your pot to sauté and add ingredients. For both methods, add oregano, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika to onions. Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes or until onions and shallots are slightly softened.
Step 2: Add garlic, turmeric, ginger, and lemon zest to the pot. Stir to combine and cook for two minutes.
Step 3: Next add celery, carrots, and sweet potatoes to pot. Stir to combine and let cook for 2 minutes.
Step 4: Add lentils and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir ingredients to combine thoroughly. If cooking stovetop, turn temperature to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce heat to low, cover with lid, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If using an instant pot, after adding all ingredients, set pressure vent to sealing and press pressure cooking for 18 minutes.
Step 5: Once the soup is done, fold in fresh parsley and spinach. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator and enjoy all week long.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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