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Immunity Boosting Indian-Spiced Lentil Soup (Gluten Free, Vegan)

gingerhealthyimmune boostingIndianlentilssicksoupturmeric

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Is it just me, or is everyone suddenly sick?  My dad, two of my friends, half the people I run into on the street – they all have one of those colds that comes with the three-in-a-row sneezes and a deep, chesty cough.  This is also the week that I have six photo and video shoots over the course of three days, and – in case that wasn’t enough – Zack and I are moving back to New York.  He’s already settled in Brooklyn with the bulk of our things, and on later this week, I’ll take the trip with the cat (who, despite having lived in London and New York by now, really hasn’t gotten super on board with the whole flying thing).  Bottom line: this is not a time I can afford to get sick.

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This soup is one of my absolute winter staples.  It hits it out of the park on all fronts:

  • it’s super easy to make
  • it requires only that which I typically have in my pantry
  • it’s packed with immune-boosting superfoods
  • it’s filled with fiber and good fat (ideal for kick-starting the de-bloating and weight loss many of us are interested in post-holidays)
  • it tastes absolutely delicious

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There are a few secrets that make this one pack such a potent health punch.  The first is the spices, a mix of staples in Indian cuisine that have been used for thousands of years in ayurvedic healing.  We’re talking turmeric (my absolute favorite anti-inflammatory spice), ginger, cinnamon, cayenne.  Spices are a favorite of chefs healthy and traditional alike: less than a teaspoon packs both a flavor and nutritional punch, with potent anti-oxidants, as well as antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and cancer-fighting benefits.  This soup waltzes the line between sweet and savory, with a gorgeous flavor profile that takes your tongue straight to an exotic vacation.

The second secret is the coconut milk base, which not only lends the whole soup a wonderful richness and depth, but contains a compound called lauric acid.  Beyond coconut, the main source of lauric acid is mother’s milk, evidence of its mega-health boosting properties. It’s one of the most potent antiviral and antibacterial substances around, and I love to fill my diet with it as a preventative and curative for all the colds and flus that circulate during these winter months.

Finally, we have garlic.  Whoop dee doo, I bet you’re thinking, I use garlic in tons of recipes.  Most recipes have you add garlic at the beginning, sauteeing it in a bit of oil before you add your other ingredients.  This not only often burns the garlic, turning its flavor from fragrant to bitter, but it completely eliminates its health benefits.  In this recipe, the garlic is chopped and left to sit for 20 minutes, which activates it (you can read more about this process here).  It’s then added at the very end, after you’ve turned the heat off of the soup.  This allows it to cook long enough to soften its sharp edges and take on a gentle sweetness, while leaving its myriad health benefits (it’s been shown in many studies to be more effective against bacteria than many antibiotics on the market) fully intact.

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The flavors of this soup only get better with time – I love making a big batch on Sunday and eating it throughout the week.  The lentils also make it one of the more filling soups I’ve ever had – I often will eat this (and only this) for dinner and feel perfectly satiated.

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Immunity Boosting Indian-Spiced Lentil Soup (Gluten Free, Vegan)


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried red lentils (you could also use green lentils if they’re soaked overnight and then drained, because they’re tougher)
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1.5 cups or 1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
  • 3 cloves of garlic

Instructions

  1. First, peel and mince your garlic and set aside, so the compounds have time to activate. In a medium pot, cook onion till translucent; add spices and cook for 3 more minutes or until fragrant. Add lentils, vegetable broth and coconut milk. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 – 45 min, or until lentils are very soft and have absorbed most of the liquid, then turn off heat and add the garlic immediately and stir (this cooks the garlic enough to mitigate the intensity of the flavor while preserving all of its health benefits). For some bonus probiotics, top with a bit of yogurt (I used coconut). Serves 4.

 

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Comments

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  1. Beata says:

    Really good recipe, and so far and easy. I didn’t have cinnamon or coconut milk but it still turned out excellent!

  2. Jos says:

    A cup … In Europeanen terms.. How much is that? In weight or amount liter? Thank you!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      You have to look it up for each specific ingredient, but it’s easily Google-able – just type in, for example, 1 cup lentils in grams, or whatever you’re looking for!

  3. Artemis says:

    Awesome! Super spicy and delish! I doubled the batch and can’t wait for leftovers. This would definitely drain a head cold. And it smelled so good while cooking. Thank you!

  4. Steak, Ale, and Mushroom Pot Pies Recipe {Paleo} says:

    […] early on in our conversation I discovered that we have a lot in common. Liz is into healthy treats, Indian food, and yoga, and she can whip up a pretty fabulous salad. Liz is also a traveler and when she […]

  5. Trish says:

    Made this again (of course) and it did not disappoint (again). Husband had some this time around and he commented twice as he was eating a bowlful how delicious this was. If you’re thinking of making this stop thinking and get to making! This will NOT disappoint!!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Oh yay! Thanks for the recommendation, Trish! I’m glad you’re loving it!

  6. Angela says:

    I have a cold, so I threw this together, only adding two more cups of broth, and sprinkling in some black pepper. Looking forward to having some when it’s finished cooking. 🙂

    1. Liz Moody says:

      I hope you like it, and feel better soon!!

  7. Trish says:

    My oh my this dish is superb! Comes together quickly and bursting with serious flavor. I could eat this every week and not get tired of it … in fact that’s my plan! Kept recipe exactly as written – perfect. Thanks!!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Oh yay! I’m so glad you liked it – it’s one of my go-tos as well!

  8. Val says:

    Thanks for reminding me about this delicious recipe. I’m definitely going to make it again!!!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      My pleasure – it’s one of my faves! xx