In continuity to our mini series, on nutrient dense soups and stews that will help bolster our immune systems for the coming winter months, we will be taking a deep dive into an easy recipe that packs a rich nutrient punch. Curried-Lentil Soup is a great way to help build and support a healthy immune system. Plus, the spice (YAS) and depth of flavor is truly decadent. We’ll explore why each component is helpful to the body and how to make the recipe at home. This week
Warming Curried-Lentil Soup
Garlic contains powerful essential oils that can only be removed from the body through the breath rather that the usual routes. As we breathe out they move through the respiratory tract and can kill of viruses and bugs; such as those that can cause the common cold and flu. It also contains a compound called ajoene, which interacts with platelet aggregation factor-a compound in the body that regulates the rate and extent to which blood clots.
Onions are very high in a compound called quercitin, which holds a mild antihistamine aff
ect. As a part of the Allium family they also are rich in inulin, which is a potent prebiotic. This helps to increase the number of “good” bacteria which can help to regulate every aspect of digestive health.
Lemons are packed with Vitamin C and antioxidant properties vital to a strong immune system. They also aide in reducing inflammation, swelling, and mucus.
Black Peppercorns are high in piperine, a compound that has been known to hold anti-fever properties and pain-relieving qualities. Cinnamon and Cayenne are both wonderfully warming to the body and are rich in antioxidants as well.
Ginger helps with digestion. It also can be soothing for a sore throat due to the chemical sesquiterpenes that target rhinoviruses, a common family of cold viruses. Sesquiterpenes additionally help to suppress coughing. Ginger can also act as a mild pain reliever and fever reducer, as well as a mild sedative because of the calming properties within the root. Furthermore, Ayurveda studies have found that because ginger warms the body it can help to break down toxins within the organs (particularly inside the lungs and sinuses), by opening our lymphatic channels to keep them clear. When you think ginger as a healer for colds, think respiratory ailments.
Coconut Oil/Milk bolsters the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, capric acid, lauric acid, and caprylic acid- all of which are anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial.
Turmeric is rich in antioxidants in addition to that beautiful yellow hue. It also is highly anti-inflammatory which helps to calm our bodies and systems. Turmeric contain immune-stimulating polysaccharides which could potentially aid in the healing process.
Tuscan Kale (dark leafy greens) an optional add in to this recipe, but an important inclusion to your regular diet regardless. These powerhouse hold a multitude of vitamins and minerals that help the body to protect and fight against colds and viruses. Their anti-inflammatory proprieties can aide the body to heal and calm our systems. Warming and softening the leaves make the fiber easier to digest-giving our body a break from processing the raw form of these staples.
Lentils are a great inclusion to your regular diet. They are high in fiber which help to flush the system effectively and carry out any toxins or waste your body doesn’t need. They are a great way to include proteins into your diet and cooking them down makes them easier to digest while fighting off a cold or virus.
Try some different toppings and add-ins;
- Top with Coconut Milk or Yogurt (thicker) for added creaminess and a touch of sweetness
- Finish with a few sprigs of cilantro to compliment the warmth and heat within the soup
- Toss in different dark leafy greens or vegetables
- Experiment with different types of lentils (red, black, green, etc..)
- Try different proteins White Beans (cannellini would work well) or chickpeas
- Try different types of curry blends
- Coconut Oil for sauteeing
- Coconut Milk for topping and within the soup about 1 1/2 cups
- Coconut Yogurt for a thicker topping
- Salt, Pepper
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic diced and crushed
- Spices: Curry Blend or Cinnamon, Ginger, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Curry, Mustard Powder
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- Lentils or other protein
- Tuscan Kale or other dark leafy green
- Lemon squeeze for finishing
- Dice onion and garlic and add to a medium pot with a bit of coconut oil. Cook until translucent.
- Add spices and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add lentils, broth, and coconut milk. Bring liquid to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft and have absorbed most of the liquid.
- Turn off the heat and add in the Tuscan Kale and stir to soften.
- Season to taste.
- Top with yogurt or other desired toppings.