For the past five years my husband and I have been addicted to the lentil soup at our local Middle Eastern restaurant. It’s rich and creamy without the addition of butter or cream. About six months ago our favorite ME restaurant changed chefs and the soup is not nearly as good as it once was. So I ventured out to make my own version of their old recipe. Lentil soup is a wonderful side dish or main meal as it is full of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and high in folate. –And eating lentils or beans two or more times per week may reduce the risk of breast cancer by 34%!
Here is a brief history of lentils; they are indigenous to the near East and Central Asia. The earliest remains of lentils was carbon-dated to 11,000 B.C. and was found in the Franchthi Cave in Greece. Lentil soups were used in traditional medicine to improve digestion and purify blood. Lentils grow in pods that contain one or two seeds. There are many varieties that are classified by their color, black, yellow, green, brown, red and orange. Below are a few types of lentils one can buy:
Green and Red/Orange lentils are the most common varieties in the grocery store. So how do they match up to each other?
So as you can see in the hulling process we lost quite a bit of fiber and folate. Green lentils are a great food to have around the house if you are pregnant. Folate and Iron are important in a prenatal diet. –and fiber, well if you’ve been pregnant before than you know.
Lentil Soup Recipe
Sauté onions until caramelized. Do not skimp on this part as it imbues the soup with sweetness. Once the onions are caramelized add carrots and sauté for three more minutes. Add lentils and cumin and coat with mixture. Add broth and bay leaf; cook uncovered on a slow simmer until the lentils and carrots are soft. Puree with an immersion blender. Garnish with cilantro and squeezed lemon. Lemon enhances the flavor and cuts down the need for salt. The consistency is meant to be soupy and not too thick.
239 calories, 2 g fat (0 saturated), 0 cholesterol, 450 mg of sodium (depends on the broth you use), 7g Fiber (32% DV), 17g Protein, Iron 28% DV, Vitamin C 27%DV, Vitamin A 107%DV, Calcium 8%DV, Folate 34%DV, B6 23%DV, Thiamin 19%DV. The soup is also high in phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and zinc.
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