comfort food: all season lentil soup

Comfort food is often mentally translated to unhealthy, heavy, full of unhealthy fat and processed carbohydrates. But comfort food can really be anything that brings you a sense of calm or inner peace for those few minutes that you are enjoying them. For me, this means hearty, sometimes heavy. I want my comfort food to fill my belly to the point of being comfortably full – physically and emotionally.

I have never been a big meat eater, but throughout my life it still remained a component because being 100% fruits and vegetables, pasta and rices didn’t do it for me, and I had no interest in stepping into the bean/lentil/legume world. All I can say is… WHAT A WASTE OF LENTIL EATING TIME! Seriously.

Finally, well into adulthood, I made my first chickpea burger, then bean dish and before long the lentils were introduced. Over the years I have made many (so many!) lentil dishes and soups, both from recipes and made on the spot following what I call the “pinch of this, pinch of that” method.

Lentils are incredibly versatile and can easily replace ground anything in a traditional meal such as a bolognese sauce. They are also a great source of iron and protein – two main concerns of people considering conversion to a more plant based diet. Besides iron and protein they aren’t also packed with fibre (the real hero), zinc, potassium, manganese..

Because of their high fibre content they are a great blood sugar stabilizer and excellent digestive health food. They also aid in keeping you full longer due to their high complex carbohydrate content, which is great for virtually any health aspect you’re trying to improve on from energy to weight loss.

This has been my go-to recipe for years now; it often strays to include vegetables or other legumes I need to use up or have on hand, but the basics remain the same!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes

What you need:

  • 2 cups of brown lentils/green lentil/green split peas/red lentils (I usually use a mix!), rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped (any colour but red!)
  • 1 yellow or red potato, diced (fairly small)
  • 1-2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped (optional. I usually include it, but as per respect of a 4 year old it was left out in the picture above)
  • 4-6 cups of vegetable broth (are you more a broth soup fan, or a thicker stew lover?)
  • 1 -1.5 tsp each of cumin, paprika and coriander
  • 1 tsp of parsley
  • 1 lemon, juiced (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How you do it:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the garlic, and onion. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in the celery, carrots, potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes or so – until the veggies soften up and the house starts to smell delicious.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients, except the lemon juice, and bring to a simmer.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, until lentils are cooked
  5. You can either eat as is, add more broth if you like more of a broth based soup, or even use a stick blender to give it a couple swirls to thicken it up if you prefer that!
  6. Squeeze in the lemon juice
  7. Eat up!

I often have this with a salad, but it’s also the perfect homemade garlic bread dunking soup!

This soup freezes really well, and is also (oddly? Not so oddly?) delicious cold.

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