Red Lentils and Roasted Sweet Potato Soup

We’ve had a classic Canadian winter this year. One with the works, spells of freezing sub zero temperatures, lots and lots of snow, slick icy roads and influenza doing the rounds. Needless to say winter is my least favorite season of the year. It’s not just the freezing temperatures that bother me but donning the heavy winter gear every time you step out is so not fun! Of course having to tip toe on the icy ground or trudging along in the snow, while wearing all of that, with a baby in tow, who is equally weighed down in winter clothes, is hardly a walk in the park. And to make things worse, influenza and cold viruses are at their peak in winters. We have all been sick, multiple times this season with bouts of colds and flu.

Since my husband caught a cold last week, I have been researching foods that might help darling hubby feel better and those that boost immunity that could prevent my little one from catching a cold again. Vitamin C, chicken soup and lots of water is what I usually rely on, to help ward of colds. I recently discovered however, that there are certain other vegetarian foods that help fight colds. Two of these, namely garlic and sweet potato, are the ingredients that I used for this soup. Allicin, the major compound in garlic that also gives it that pungency, helps the body fight bacteria and viruses. Sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A (beta-carotene), which helps our body make white blood cells, that help fight infections. Red lentils pack a punch, with their high protein content. The recipe is as follows:

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Serves: 3

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. Sweet Potato – 1 (Cubed)
  2. Garlic Cloves – 4
  3. Split Red Lentils – 1/4 Cup
  4. Onion –  1/2 Medium (Chopped)
  5. Olive Oil – 2 Tablespoons
  6. Salt – 1 and 1/4 Teaspoon
  7. Chicken Broth / Vegetable Broth – 3 Cups (Unsalted)
  8. Cloves – 4
  9. Peppercorn – 1/4 Teaspoon
  10. Oregano – Pinch (For garnish)
  11. Chili Flakes – Pinch (For garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place sweet potatoes and garlic in a baking tray lined with parchment paper or aluminium foil. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon oil and add 1 tablespoon oil to the vegetables and bake for 15 minutes in the middle rack.
  2. In a pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil and then add chopped onions. Saute the onions for a couple of minutes and then add the lentils, broth, salt, peppercorn and cloves. Cover the pot and simmer on low – medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the roasted sweet potatoes and garlic to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
  4. At the end of the 20 minutes, remove cloves and blend contents of the pot.
  5. Garnish with oregano and / or chili flakes and serve hot!

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I hope you enjoy this hot bowl of delicious soup that not just keeps you warm, but also boosts your immune system this winter!

Spinach and Lentil Soup

This recipe was a request from one of my dearest friends. We went to university together back in India. We’ve seen each other through the ups and downs of college life. Many a times I have ended up crashing in her room. We have partied together, stayed up nights studying for exams, eating instant noodles and drinking coffee. The coffee making process used to be a welcome event – a break from the books! And though we haven’t seen each other for 8 years now, I know we’ve still got each other’s back!

This recipe is also a request from a newer friend. I have only known her for a few years now. She is one of the kindest people I know. She’s a mum to a very cute 2 year old. We bond over being mothers of toddlers and food amongst other things. I look forward to many more years of friendship with her!

This soup is a hearty vegetarian soup filled with the goodness of green vegetables and lentils, easy to cook and perfect for cold wintry nights. As with most of my soup recipes this one is super easy to make and one of my favourite soups. My 14 month eats it and she’s a picky eater so I consider her a great judge of my food! I know that if she’s eating it, it’s good!

Spinach is one of my favourite vegetables and you’ll always find some in my fridge. It’s so full of nutrition. Remember Popeye the sailor man? Spinach was his superfood! It’s low in calories and packed with Iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Red lentils are a healthy meat substitute for vegans. They’re rich in fiber and contain as much protein as a piece of steak! They are also packed with iron, folate and other minerals.

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Here’s the recipe:

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  1. Spinach – 120 gms
  2. Red split lentils – 1/4 Cup
  3. Carrots – 1 Cup (Chopped)
  4. Onions – 1/4 Medium onion (Chopped)
  5. Garlic – 2 Cloves (Chopped)
  6. Salt – 1 teaspoon
  7. Peppercorn – 1/4 teaspoon
  8. Nutmeg – 1/4 teaspoon
  9. Olive oil – 1 tablespoons
  10. Water – 3.5 Cups

Instructions:

 

  1. Add oil to the pot. Once the oil is hot, add carrots and garlic. Stir for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and stir for a few minutes, till the vegetables turn a little soft.
  3. Add lentils and water. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to the pot and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Once the lentils are cooked, add the spinach to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Use a hand blender to blend the contents of the pot and simmer for another couple of minutes.
  6. Serve hot with a side of sauted green beans and mushrooms. Stay tuned for that recipe!

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You could also eat it with nice warm crusty bread.

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I hope you enjoy this delicious bowl of soup!