• Leigh

Save the Planet Soup: Creamy Red Lentils


Save the beef for another time. Today how about a nutritious soup made with red lentils. The soup is creamy, but includes no cream. Instead the red lentils break down within about 30 minutes of cooking and make the soup velvety smooth. Onions, garlic, and a few spices give the soup savory-sweet flavor. It's warming, tasty, and just right on a cold winter evening. Because lentils are high in protein (and a good source of iron, other minerals and vitamins, and fiber), you can skip the meat and help lower the carbon footprint. You also will contribute to your heart health. In addition to providing valuable soluble and insoluble fiber, a cup of cooked lentils provides 90% of the recommended daily allowance for folic acid, which protects artery walls and helps prevent heart disease. Red lentils also are cheap, keep well in your pantry or cabinet, and don't require any soaking or special procedures. You can have a nutritious, warm, and, best of all, tasty dinner on the table in under 45 minutes. And you can make a cow happy.

Creamy Red Lentils Soup -- Serves 6+

16-ounce bag of dry red lentils, picked over and washed well

1-2 tablespoons of canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teaspoon of minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice

1-2 tablespoons of dried cilantro leaves

6 cups of chicken broth (or water and reduced sodium "Better Than Bullion," reconstituted)

1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Fat-free plain yogurt (optional)

Cilantro, washed well and stems removed (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan until hot. Add the onion and cook it until it's tender and translucent--5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper, salt, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and allspice and stir them into the onion. Let the mixture cook a minute and then add the red lentils and chicken broth. Stir everything well and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring it periodically. When the lentils are very tender, remove the pan from the heat. Carefully whisk the mixture to break up the lentils and create a smooth soup (this shouldn't take more than 5 minutes and saves washing a blender). You may need to add a little more water if the soup is thicker than you like. Whisk in the lemon juice and serve the soup "as is" or dolloped with yogurt and sprinkled with cilantro.

#redlentils #lowfat #highprotein

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