Spicy Curried Lentil Soup – Inexpensive & Nutritious!

When it’s cold outside, it’s time to heat things up inside! This spicy soup, redolent of Indian and Thai flavors, will keep the fires inside burning. It’s quite nutritious as well, using lentils as its source of protein. This recipe is also gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan appropriate.

Start with a bag of dried lentils. As an aside, beans are such an inexpensive source of protein. I sometimes get frustrated when I hear the common complaint about how expensive it can be to eat healthy. While that’s certainly true to some extent, our immigrant ancestors prepared many ethnic foods from scratch that did not cost a lot of money. You certainly don’t have to shop at Whole Foods to eat healthy, that’s for sure!

A bag of beans such as lentils costs less than $2 for a 16 ounce bag – those beans go a long way. Add in some cut up vegetables and you’ve got a high quality, nutritious dinner for less than $10. Better than the dollar menu at McDonalds, because this one pot meal goes a long way!

Brown 1 chopped sweet onion and four cloves of crushed garlic in two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Doesn’t this smell absolutely fabulous? Adding the garlic to the onions prevents the garlic from burning and tasting rancid.

Now add in 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger (you can substitute dried ginger if you don’t have it fresh), 1 tablespoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of Garam masala, and 1/2 cup of freshly chopped cilantro. Brown for approximately 2 minutes, as the pungent scents begin to blend.

Now add in 3 cups of water and 2 cups of vegetable stock into the onion mixture, along with 2 cups of dried lentils. Stir in 2 cups of chopped carrots, 1 cup of chopped sweet potatoes, 1 cup of chopped celery, 1 bay leaf, and a pinch of sea salt. Add in a can of coconut milk. Let it come to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the soup for about 20 minutes.

Puree two-thirds of the soup in a blender, returning it to the saucepan to simmer for another 5 minutes. I prefer my soups to have a bit of chunky texture, so I leave some of the veggies alone. If you prefer a smoother consistency, puree the whole soup.

Serve hot in a bowl, adding the freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 of a lime into each bowl. Pair it with a sweet wine, like a Riesling, to counteract the spicy flavors.

Ingredients:

1 bag of dried Lentil beans

1 Chopped sweet onion

4 cloves of crushed garlic

1 tsp. freshly grated ginger

1 Tbsp. of curry powder

1 tsp. Garam masala

1/2 cup of freshly chopped cilantro

2 cups of Vegetable stock

1 can of coconut milk

2 cups chopped carrots

1 cup chopped sweet potatoes

1 cup chopped celery

1 bay leaf

Sea salt

Extra virgin olive oil

Several limes

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