I couldn’t make it through the chill of January without some hearty, warm-me-up bowls of soup. How about you?
So I married that thought with the theme for this month’s Recipe Redux: “A New Ingredient for the New Year.” When trying to choose the ingredient that I wanted to play with, my first thought came to color … black, in particular! When thinking about black foods, one immediately came to mind that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in restaurants, but haven’t actually prepared anything with from my own kitchen. They’re black beluga lentils. They’re such fun little critters. Not to mention, these pulses are packed with nutritional goodness, including folate, fiber, and protein.
So off to the kitchen I went to whip up a pot of vegan (Meatless Monday-friendly!) soup with these beauties. The result … plenty of texture intrigue, pops of color, and stew-like appeal. The flavor … crave-worthy!
Calories saved: 100
Why it’s better for you: Soooo many reasons! For one, check out the fiber!
- 1 tablespoon unrefined/virgin coconut oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 large red or orange bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon hot Madras or other curry powder
- 5 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup dry black beluga lentils
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh gingerroot
- 1 (5-ounce) package fresh baby kale
- 1 (13.5-fluid ounce) can light organic coconut milk
- Juice of 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons sliced natural almonds, toasted
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Add the onion and peppers and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and curry powder and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth, lentils, and ginger and bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until the lentils are done, about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Add the kale, coconut milk, and lime juice and cook while stirring until the kale is fully wilted, about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.
- Transfer to individual bowls, sprinkle with the almonds and cilantro, and serve.
Per serving: 310 calories, 10g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 890mg sodium, 43g total carbohydrate, 13g dietary fiber, 10g sugars, 13g protein
The “Before” Version
Inspired by Coconut Curry Chicken Stew
Per serving: 410 calories, 28g total fat, 23g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 75mg cholesterol., 1070mg sodium, 9g total carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 3g sugars, 30g protein
- Do a swap; don’t just eliminate meat, poultry, or fish when making a vegetarian version of a meaty recipe. And do select a meat-free ingredient that has hearty satisfaction and a punch of protein.
- You don’t have to have a rainbow in every dish you make. But aiming for at least three distinct colors (such as red, green and black) in a mixed dish or soup like this makes it pop off the plate or bowl. It represents nutrient variety, too.
- Go for zing, such as by using hot Madras curry powder instead of mild curry powder. And don’t skimp on fresh ginger; it can create so much liveliness in lightened-up recipes, especially in Indian or Asian cuisine.
- Finish with freshness. Adding fresh herbs when serving a dish provides sensory appeal. Herbs are way more than simply garnishes, too!