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I love lentils. There. I’ve said it. And organic green lentils are superb. I include these green lentils in at least three meals a week, summer or winter. I’ll toss them in my green leafy veggies, star them in stews or mix them up in a big pot of soup.
Salad can be a controversial friend over colder months, so this winter, I suggest you make friends with lentils. Trust me; they’ll friend you right back.
Lentils are a great pantry staple, and we all know I’m a big lover of an easy to navigate pantry. Plus have you noticed that when you have an organised pantry, you are more inclined to do home cooking and you feel like nothing can stop you!
What people really find out when they discover lentils is just how versatile and filling, they are, with no empty carbs. When done correctly, they give soup a creamy texture, subtle flavour and substance. Lentils are nutrient-dense and rich in plant-based protein. You heard that right; I said plant-based protein. Some people assume you can only get protein from animal sources, but plants and legumes are abundant in protein. Getting protein from a variety of sources is critical in maintaining overall health.
Protein isn’t just for bodybuilders or those trying to put on size; protein is one of three macronutrients and makes up the main components of our muscles, bones, organs, skin and nails. We need protein to help us produce the right amount of haemoglobin, hormones and immune antibodies. Protein is a complex structure, made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. Lucky for you, this soup mix is rich in plant-based protein, as well as soluble fibre.
Dietary fibre is vital for gut health and can keep us fuller for longer. Soluble fibre, found in little lentils, helps slow down the emptying process in our stomachs, increasing satiety. Fibre can also lower our LDL cholesterol levels and stabilise blood glucose levels. Foods rich in soluble fibre include whole grains and seeds such as rice, quinoa, oats and, of course, lentils. One cup of cooked lentils offers about 16 grams of fibre, making up more than half of our fibre requirement for the day.
Okay, I get it, lentils are great, but why are there so many and which ones should I choose?
Oh, I thought you’d never ask!
Brown lentils are the most common variety and have a mild, earthy flavour. You’ll find them in veggie burgers, casseroles and stews.
Red and yellow lentils, known as ‘split’, are processed into smaller lentil bits. They’re somewhat sweet and nutty and often used in Indian and Middle Eastern Cuisine. Hello, dahl.
Now, for my favourite, allow green to reign supreme! Green lentils have a robust and slightly peppery taste and are great for salads, side dishes and of course, my Gorgeous Green Lentil Soup.
You don’t need to soak lentils but soaking them can help remove some of their phyto-chemicals which can be the culprit of many a gut issue, including gas and bloating.
I’m using organic green lentils as they’re better for the environment and our health. Murray River Organics have a variety of lentils on offer, including split lentils, French green lentils, black Beluga lentils and green lentils. They even have lentil flour, to fulfil all your lentil dreams!
I’m combining green lentils with coconut oil from Murray River Organics. Murray River Organics have the best organic oil in the biz. Thinking about their cold-pressed coconut oil makes my mouth drool. Coconut oil adds a sweet coconut flavour to cooking, adding another rich layer of flavour to my soup. Coconut oil can serve as a make-up remover, body moisturiser and hair conditioner.
With this Gorgeous Green Lentil Soup, you’ll satiate your taste buds and your tummy. If you want to avoid after-dinner hunger on meatless Monday (it’s okay, we’ve all been there. Yes, I’m looking at you, soggy mushroom burger, and no, I’m not sorry!), try my Gorgeous Green Lentil Soup on for size.
Gorgeous Green Lentil Soup
Supercharged tip: Soaking grains, lentils, nuts and seeds for 30–60 minutes in warm water helps make them easier to digest. If garlic or onion is a problem for you, you could also cook the lentils with asafoetida (Hing) a beautiful spice that you can find in Indian and Middle Eastern grocers. It has a pungent earthy taste similar to garlic and onions but will to help prevent gas and bloating.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.
Add the spices and stir for another minute until fragrant.
Add the lentils, tomato, stock and lemon slices, stirring to combine.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
Add the lemon zest and juice, season to taste, and cook for a further 1–2 minutes.
Top with parsley and serve with a lemon cheek each.
Written By Lee Holmes - Naturopath
Founder of Supercharged Food.
On July 28, 2020