Sweet Potato, Carrot and Red Lentil Soup with Shallot and Kale Topping

By January 3, 2014 nourish No Comments

I have been itching to make a red lentil soup, so it became the best 2nd recipe for my snow day. The one I chose is adapted from Green Kitchen Stories.

Lentils are so easy to cook with because they don’t {necessarily} require soaking like beans. I put necessarily in funky parentheses because even though they don’t need to be soaked, it’s not a bad idea to, especially if you’re someone who has had problems digesting them in the past. Lentils contain trypsin inhibitors and relatively high phytate content. Trypsin is an enzyme involved in digestion, and phytates reduce the bio-availability of dietary minerals. By soaking the lentils in warm water overnight, you can he reduce the phytates.

One thing to know if you are new to cooking lentils is that they differ in consistency and outcome depending on the type you get.  Green, black and brown lentils are heartier and keep their shape when cooked. Red and yellow lentils, on the other hand, soften up and lose their shape. The latter are used a lot in Mediterranean and Indian cuisines in dishes. So if you ever need to substitute, you can do so between the green, brown and black or the red and yellow lentils but not across types.

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Lentils are a staple in vegetarian diets not only because they are tasty, versatile and inexpensive, but also because they are a solid source of protein. With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybean and hemp. While lentils are deficient in two amino acids (methionine and cysteine), sprouted lentils contain sufficient levels of all amino acids, including these. They are also an excellent source of soluble fiber and a good source of manganese, iron, phosphorous, copper, folate, vitamin B1 and potassium. In addition, lentils are an excellent source of molybdenum, a mineral important in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and iron.  An added benefit is that lentils do not contain sulfur, which causes the less than desirable side effects experienced when eating other beans or legumes.

Carrots are rich in antioxidants and minerals. The bright orange hue of carrots is attributed to beta-carotene, Beta-carotene is converted to retinol (vitamin A), which is essential for vision and growth.

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods. Not just because they are delicious, but because they have a lot of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium. And if you had not guessed from their color, they also contain a lot of beta-carotene. So between the carrots and sweet potatoes, this soup is a beta-carotene powerhouse.

The original recipe has an aubergine (eggplant) and kale topping. Even though I love eggplant, I switched mine up to have garlic and shallots, along with mustard seeds to give a little more of an Indian spice to the topping. And for a tinge of kick, I added some cayenne. My roasted acorn squash seeds from yesterday provided an added touch with some crunchy texture and nutty flavor.

Definitely a hit and really easy to make with few ingredients and steps.

Sweet Potato, Carrot and Red Lentil Soup with Shallot and Kale Topper
Serves 4
Allergens: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Corn-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  2. 1 large onion
  3. 2 sweet potatoes
  4. 4 carrots
  5. 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  6. 1 cup / 250 ml uncooked red lentils
  7. 4 cups / 1 liter water
  8. sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  9. cayenne, to taste (optional)
Shallot & Kale Topping
  1. 1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  2. 1 large shallot
  3. 1 clove garlic
  4. 4-5 stems fresh kale
  5. 1/2 tsp mustard seed
  6. 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  7. 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  8. sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a pot. Add onions and sauté until fragrant. Add sweet potatoes, carrots and thyme and cook for a minute or so, while stirring. Now add rinsed lentils, water, sea salt & pepper, cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables and lentils are soft.
  2. Meanwhile make the topping. Heat oil on medium in a large skillet. Sauté garlic for 1 minute and then add in mustard seeds. Sauté for another minute and then add in shallots and all the spices. Stir through and then add in the kale. Sauté for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted down.
  3. Use an immersion (hand) blender to puree the soup (pull out thyme stems first if using fresh vs. dried). Taste and adjust the flavors. Add cayenne at this point, if desired. Serve the soup in bowls with a couple of spoonfuls topping. Garnish with roasted squash seeds.
Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
an unprocessed life http://anunprocessedlife.com/

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