Thursday, May 22, 2014

Healthy coconut milk, red lentil and warming spices soup

Chamomile and Peppermint Blog - Healthy coconut milk, red lentil and warming spices soup recipe

It's the right time of year for some delicious warming soups to nourish the body and warm the soul.

Not only are soups one of the quickest and easiest things to make, but they are healthy too - packed with antioxidant and nutrient rich veggies; protein-providing beans and grains; spices, herbs and stocks - they are perfect for this time of year to keep our immune systems primed and ready for what winter may bring.

Here is a recipe for a fave that I've been cooking for years. The original came out of a vegetarian cookbook given to me by mum when I first moved out of home over 12 years ago, and it has remained a staple ever since. My fussy two year old digs into this so it's a failsafe in my repertoire for midweek as it is also very quick and easy and you probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen cupboards.

If you are not familiar with cooking with lentils, red lentils are a great one to start with as they require no soaking and cook very quickly. They are an amazing source of cholesterol-lowering fibre, are low GI (great for diabetics - they maintain blood sugar levels) providing you with long-lasting energy and a fantastic source of plant protein and packed full of B vitamins and magnesium - essential for energy, immunity and those feel-good brain chemicals.

Coconut milk is another super healthy ingredient. Don't be scared of the fat in coconut milk - yes it is saturated fat, but it's a medium chain fatty acid - the same as breastmilk - promoting brain and bone health and is great for the immune system - having both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. It is also very easily metabolised by the body as it doesn't require bile acids for digestion. Fat in the right form and quantities is an essential part of a healthy diet, essential for the production of hormones, to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (Vit's A, D, E, & K), for energy, cell and neuron formation and function.

This recipe is gluten and dairy free, anti-imflammatory and for a vegetarian/vegan version, simply replace the chicken stock with vegetable.

Happy Feasting!

Emma xxx

Chamomile and Peppermint Blog - Healthy coconut milk, red lentil and warming spices soup recipe

Coconut milk, red lentil and warming spices soup

Ingredients - 

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves - chopped or crushed
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2.5 cups/600mL chicken or vegie stock
  • 400mL coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper
  •  loads of fresh coriander or mint and lemon wedges to serve

Method - 

Firstly -  Heat oil in a large saucepan, saute garlic and onion for 2-3 minutes or until transparent and tender. Add the spices and saute for a further minute to release the yummy flavour and fragrances.

Then - stir in the tomatoes, lentils, lemon juice, stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low/med and simmer for 25-30mins until lentils are tender. Add more water at any point if it seems to get a little dry or until its the consistency you like. I like to keep mine quite thick and chunky, almost like a dahl.

Finally - Season with S&P and spoon into bowls. Top with lashings of fresh coriander or mint and serve with lemon wedges. Lovely with hot naan bread, or gluten free bread if you would prefer. Eat up and enjoy the goodness!

Chamomile and Peppermint Blog - Healthy coconut milk, red lentil and warming spices soup recipe

This warming winter soup recipe post was created in collaboration with the Australian owned and operated online department store Crazy SalesShop online for soup makers and other cheap goodies to save 30-80% off retail prices, delivered straight to your door!