Lentils are members of the legume family and are an excellent source of fiber. That means it helps to fill you up and will provide bulk in the digestive tract, for better digestion and elimination.
Lentils are also very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, making them a healthy option for people with diabetes or heart disease. They are inexpensive sources of protein and cook up quite quickly.
You can cook lentils to a firm state in about 30 minutes. I prefer to cook them longer, so they break down into a mash, much like split peas do when cooked into split pea soup. This will take from 45 to 60 minutes.
The greens in the soup add even more fiber and nutrition and make it a complete meal. And the sweet potato adds lovely surprise little pops of sweetness for a nice counterpart to the rest of the velvety soup.
Otherwise, the flavor is quite mild. You can make it as spicy as you like by altering how much chile pepper you add, if any. And the curry flavor is very mild also.
Vegan Curried Lentil Soup
3 Tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon minced ginger
1 jalapeno or other mild to medium chile pepper, chopped (optional)
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
8 cups water
2 cups lentils, rinsed
1 large sweet potato, chopped
4 cups chopped spinach leaves*
1/4 cup chopped parsley
In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, sauté onion, celery and carrot in oil until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add garlic, ginger, chile, spices, and salt. Saute two minutes, stirring often. Do not burn the garlic.
Add water, lentils and sweet potato. Cover. Bring to a boil. Simmer until lentils are done, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Add spinach and parsley. Cook another 5 minutes, or enough to wilt the spinach. Taste and add more salt if needed.
*Note: You can substitute other greens for the spinach leaves, such as French sorrel, kale, or cabbage. You might need to cook it an extra five minutes or so.
Serve this with big chunks of bread to sop up all that lip-smacking goodness. You can make this vegan Curried Lentil Soup recipe, and it will fill your house and your belly with satisfying warmth.