If you mentioned lentils to me a year ago, I’d give you a “what-the-heck-is-that” stare. But becoming a health coach has led me to experiment and discover some of the hidden food gems such as beans which are packed with lots of nutrients. This LENTIL SOUP is not only super healthy, but it’s easy, tasty, and kid-approved! Yes, my 3 year old absolutely digs this bowl! No pun intended there. 🙂
Now first of all, what are LENTILS? They’re a bushy plant of the legume family, known for its lens-shaped seeds. They are packed with proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber which makes it one superfood. It does wonders to our digestive health, helps lowering of cholesterol levels, has benefits in WEIGHT LOSS since its very low in calories, and also helps with heart disease due to its folate component. Need I further go on?
They are also so easy to make, and reasonably priced compared to other superfoods you might have heard of. Which is why this has become one of the staples in my pantry. You can easily find them in the whole foods /healthy foods section in grocery stores. They also can come in canned, or frozen. Just make sure to read the labels if you go for the canned and pick the one with the least added ingredients as possible. Drain and rinse before adding them into the soup.
About this soup..I’ve made this a number of times with various tweaks. It takes you about half an hour to make but it’s so flavorful that your guest will think you spent so much time in the kitchen. I’ve also added other beans like chickpeas or black beans and it turned out as perfect. I use whole tomatoes (San Marzano) for the base, some stock, and a few spices. I haven’t tried using fresh tomatoes but if you do, I suggest you first blend it in a blender before adding into the soup.
Cooking the beans properly is also a factor for it to be digested properly. So if you are using raw lentils, make sure to soak them overnight with water (covered). The next day, drain and cook them in a pot of about 3-4 cups water (for every cup of lentils) for about 30-45 minutes. Drain and use directly for this recipe or you can store in the fridge for a week or freeze it for a month.
Plant-based eating has lots of benefits to our health. Lots of studies have shown how it can help control sugar levels, cholesterol, which are factors in weight management and overall health. And adding plant proteins into our diet is one way to also diversify the menu from the typical green salad and steamed broccoli. I hope you enjoy this hearty lentil soup bowl as much as my family does.
Enough talking, and let’s get cooking!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1 to 1.5 cups cooked lentils (either canned, or frozen, or freshly cooked)
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 carrot chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1/2 c white mushrooms sliced
1 can whole tomatoes (preferably Italian-style, San Marzano)
1/2 tsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsps olive oil
In a dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic. Add the celery and carrots and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another minute or two.
Add the stock, tomatoes, and all the spices and seasoning. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and cook for about 15-20 minutes stirring constantly. You can add a bit more stock if you want the soup to have a thinner consistency. Serve warm with wholemeal bread or just enjoy on its own.
If you made this soup and enjoyed it, tag me in instagram @tara_fitfoodiemommy.