It’s soup season and I’m pretty excited about it, for more reasons than one. First and foremost is that soups automatically evoke feelings of warmth, coziness and comfort. I think most people can agree that soups and stews are one of the highlights of the cold weather seasons. Additionally, soups are fun to make because it’s a simple method that can be adjusted and tweaked in countless ways, making it the perfect dish to get your creative juices flowing. And lastly, soups are also inherently healthy. Yes, you can make a soup indulgent by adding cream, cheese and other rich ingredients, but it’s super easy to avoid these ingredients and make your soup light, satisfying and nutritious using just veggies, whole grains, legumes, herbs and spices.
This Curried Lentil Soup that I came up with, is an ultra healing soup that I know I’ll be making all fall and winter long. Fiber- and protein-rich lentils, flavorful and complex spices, and nutrient-rich veggies come together to create a thick and creamy stew exploding with the flavors of India. This is also what I call a detox soup. Not only is it gluten-free and vegan, but it’s packed with the healing and nourishing power of spices. Cumin and black pepper aid in digestion and relieve stomach discomfort. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that also lowers blood sugar, and manages pain and depression. Coriander is also beneficial for digestion and stomach discomfort, and is high in antioxidants, Vitamins A, C and K, manganese, potassium, and folate. Doesn’t the power of food just thrill you? Maybe that’s just me… #foodnerd.
To me, soup needs a starch or something to round it out a bit. In this case, it could be bread, like pita or naan. But for this recipe, I’m cutting through the spicy richness of the soup with refreshing brown rice flavored with lime zest and juice. It’s perfect. Trust me. So there you go. A well-rounded and complete meal that pleases even the snobbiest of food-snobs (I can say that because I am one), is easy to make, and keeps your mind, body and soul totally nourished.
Anyway, I’d love to stay and chat for a bit but my parents are visiting NYC this week and I’ve got lots goin’ on. So for now, I’m outie (Clueless reference).
Vegan Curried Lentil Soup with Citrus Brown Rice
Serves: 4 Start to Finish: 1 hour
2 tablespoons virgin, organic Coconut Oil
2 medium/large Carrots, peeled and cut into small/medium dice
1 medium Yellow Onion, peeled and chopped into a medium dice
1 Red Bell Pepper, cored, ribs removed, diced
4-5 cloves Garlic, peeled and roughly minced
Sea Salt, I use fine grain
2 teaspoons Curry Powder
1 teaspoon Coriander
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
2 pinches Cinnamon
1 pinch Nutmeg
4 cups low-sodium, all-natural Veggie Stock, organic preferred*
2+ cups Water
2 cups dry Brown or Green Lentils, rinsed and sorted, organic preferred
2-3 teaspoons fresh Lime Juice
1/2 cup all-natural, organic Coconut Milk
Citrus Brown Rice
1 cup dry Brown Rice, rinsed and sorted, organic preferred
2-3 teaspoons Lime Juice, about 1/2 of a lime
Zest of 1/2 lime
In a medium/large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrot, onion, bell pepper and garlic to oil, toss to coat. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Sweat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, get the brown rice cooking. Add dry rice, 2-1/4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a small sauce pan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes. Check on rice by tipping pot over slightly and looking for access water. If all water has been absorbed, remove from heat (covered!) and allow to sit for 10 minutes (the rice finishes cooking during this “steaming” phase).
When veggies are finished sweating, add all spices. Toss to coat and cook for about a minute. Add stock, water and dry lentils. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes and uncovered for another 20, or until lentils are soft and liquid has reduced to a thick soup consistency. Turn off heat. Add lime juice, stir. Add coconut milk, stir. Turn heat back on and simmer for another couple minutes before serving.
When rice is finished steaming, stir in lime zest, juice and additional salt to taste.
*you could also use all water instead of stock
**if you don’t have one or two of the spices, it’s ok to leave them out for simplicity’s sake. Curry powder, cumin and coriander are the most important.