Cold evenings, cozy blankets, and a simmering pot on the stove—there's nothing like a bowl of hearty lentil soup to warm the body and soul. This week, we're cooking up a simple yet nutrient-packed soup that is perfect for a rainy day! (And for those of us in Seattle? Let's just say we're no strangers to those rainy-day vibes! ☔)
The Lowdown on Lentils:
Lentils might be small in size, but they pack a significant nutritional punch. These little legumes have been a dietary staple for thousands of years, and it's not hard to see why when you consider their incredible health benefits.
Plant-Based Protein: Lentils are a great source of protein, which is essential for muscle repair, bone health, and overall energy. Especially for vegetarians and vegans, lentils offer a protein-rich food option that's easily added to various dishes.
Rich in Fiber: The fiber in lentils aids in promoting a healthy digestive system. But the benefits don’t stop there. Fiber-rich foods like lentils also help stabilize blood sugar levels, keeping those afternoon energy slumps at bay.
Essential Minerals: Lentils come loaded with iron, which plays a critical role in oxygen transport within the body, ensuring your cells are functioning optimally. They also provide a good dose of magnesium, potassium, and zinc, minerals that play various roles in heart health, bone density, and immunity.
B-Vitamins Galore: Folate, a B-vitamin found abundantly in lentils, is crucial for brain function and the synthesis of DNA and other genetic material. Lentils also supply other B vitamins like B6, niacin, and riboflavin, which collectively aid in converting food into energy.
Antioxidant Properties: The polyphenols in lentils, while known for giving them their diverse range of colors, also act as antioxidants. These compounds help counteract oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
Lentils: The Power of Slow Carbs:
One of the standout attributes of lentils is their classification as "slow carbs." Unlike refined carbohydrates that can lead to rapid spikes and drops in blood sugar, lentils are digested more slowly, providing a gradual and sustained release of energy. This helps maintain stable blood sugar levels and ensures you feel full and satiated for a longer period after a meal.
Thanks to their high fiber content, lentils have a low glycemic index (GI), making them an excellent choice for those monitoring their blood sugar activity or simply wanting to keep their energy levels consistent throughout the day. When you opt for lentils, you're choosing a carb source that works with your body's rhythms, fueling you efficiently!
This hearty lentil soup is not only delicious and nutrient-dense but also a fantastic option to make ahead those busy days when cooking just isn't on the agenda. Meal prep for the win!
Let’s get cooking! 😀
just better.® Rainy Day Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup green or brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 Tablespoons of just better.® Prebiotic Fiber
6 cups organic vegetable broth or water
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
2 cups spinach or kale, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
Fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish
In a large pot, heat avocado oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots, sautéing until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Stir in lentils, bay leaf, turmeric, and cumin, ensuring lentils are well-coated with the spices.
Add the vegetable broth or water, and just better.® Prebiotic Fiber.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Stir in diced tomatoes and let the soup simmer for another 5 minutes.
Add the chopped spinach or kale, allowing it to wilt into the hot soup.
Season with salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if desired.
Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley or cilantro.
This soup stores beautifully. Place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. For longer storage, portion the soup into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove.
Adding lentils to your meal plan is not just about ticking off nutritional boxes. It's about embracing foods that have sustained human health for thousands of years. From ancient civilizations to modern kitchens, lentils have stood the test of time as a nourishing and versatile ingredient.
Whether you're coming home after a long day or needing some warmth on a chilly evening, this dish promises to be both a comfort and a health-boosting treat. And hey, if you loved this recipe, why not share it with a friend? And tell us how it turned out! Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram!
Live… just better.®
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