Curried Red Lentil Soup

Red lentil soup is a staple in my home. We love it! I have always prepared it “Indian-style” with curry and other common Indian spices. It is a wonderful way to enjoy lentils. Lentils are high in fiber, and worth adding to your healthy diet. Every time I make this at work, or variations of this recipe–people really enjoy it!

Ingredients:

1½ cups red lentils, rinsed and drained
¼ cup uncooked steel cut oats, rinsed
¼  cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
Water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes (or to taste)
2 tsp. fresh grated or minced ginger
1 tsp. fresh grated turmeric (or ½ tsp. dry ground)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. curry powder (or to taste)
4-5 cups of chopped vegetables of choice: sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, potatoes, beets, squash, kale, etc.

Put lentils, oats, and quinoa into a medium-size soup pot. Cover with about an inch of water. Cook on medium-high heat. If it foams up, remove foam and continue to cook. When lentils begin to break down, add bouillon, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and curry powder. As the lentils continue to cook (15-20 minutes), add veggies—adding the chopped leafy greens last. Cook on medium-high heat—adding more water as it evaporates and cooks down. Continue to cook until the lentils break down and veggies are tender—adding more water as needed. Cook until all ingredients are thoroughly cooked and well combined. Serve warm or hot.

Benefits of Lentils

Though all lentils provide fantastic health benefits, red lentils cook more quickly and are considered to be the tastiest of the bunch. While cooking, they usually turn from reddish to a lighter yellow color. Lentils should be rinsed before cooking. Like any legume, soaking lentils overnight and discarding the water helps speed up the cooking process and helps remove impurities.

  • Protein– Lentils are rich in protein, which is well known to the vegetarian and vegan communities. In fact, a 1 cup serving of lentils provides nearly 40% of your daily recommended value of protein, and you will only be getting 230 calories for that entire cup!
  • Iron– Often another big problem for vegetarians and vegans is getting enough iron in their diets. Lentils provide iron, without the fat and cholesterol associated with red meat. Women, especially pregnant women, and children should be especially careful to get adequate amounts of iron as their needs are greater.
  • Fiber– Lentils are another great vegetable source of fiber, and their high fiber content helps you to feel full with less food. High fiber legumes like lentils are especially useful for those trying to stabilize blood sugar levels, as your metabolism burns them very slowly over time. The fiber is also effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
  • Anti-oxidants– Lentils contain anti-oxidants similar to those in tea, red wine and other foods.
  • Heart-Healthy– In addition to the fiber, magnesium and folate, a B vitamin, are found in lentils and very important nutrients to heart health.
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