A vegan, gluten free and low calorie meal with lots of health benefits!
One sunny morning a few days ago, I finally got the chance to lie on my couch for the whole morning(!!!) and go over some magazines and books (food related of course). My eyes landed onto a great recipe of a lentil soup with leeks and green apple that was on a magazine called gastronomos (it’s a Greek word meaning “the one closely related to food and culture”). Immediately I knew I had to incorporate those two ingredients into my lentil soup!
Two things about lentils:
1. My mom taught me to always add some cumin to them. And I always do.
2. For our body to better absorb the iron they contain, they must be combined with a source of vitamin C. Some red or green peppers and a bunch of parsley will do the job. Otherwise you can eat something like an orange or some strawberries right after your meal.
Lentils are my favorite legumes. They are cooked in about 40 to 45 minutes (quite fast comparing to other legumes), they are high in protein, rich in fiber and nutrients and they can help in stabilizing blood sugar levels (meaning you won’t get any weird cravings, among other things). Also, they’re low in calories and very filling, so this recipe is also perfect for anyone who’s on a diet or want to watch his calorie intake. They can be equally delicious as a buckwheat lentil salad with lemon and olive oil and as a hearty soup.
And this soup is really HEARTY. Green apple and leaks work wonders together, creating a warm soup with earthy sweet tones. This is something your grandma would probably make for you 🙂
This soup, as a lot of other soups, tastes even better the next day. Almost every time I make it, I make double the quantity in order to have some for the next day (one less thing to worry about).
I believe this recipe works well because:
- As previously noted, lentils are combined with some red and green peppers and some fresh parsley. Both peppers and parsley are rich in vitamin C, something that helps our body to better absorb the iron from the lentils.
- This recipe serves four people and only 4 tablespoons of olive oil are added, meaning that the dish is low in fat and low in calories. Olive oil also adds some very healthy monounsaturated fat.
- Another highly nutrient ingredient is turmeric. Turmeric is believed to contribute in an overall decreased cancer risk and has a lot of cardiovascular benefits. If combined with some olive oil and black pepper – something being done here – then it’s nutrient value is further increased
- This soup will satiate your hunger and leave you totally content while providing you with a lot of protein and fibers (about 15 grams protein per cup).
- It is a one pot recipe, meaning easy preparation and easier clean up!
- It is delicious!
Note: In order for the lentils to cook properly and fast, you should add the salt at the end (this is something we do with all of the legumes family).
- 2¼ cups dried lentils
- 1 cup chopped leeks
- 1 green apple, shredded with the skin
- 1 red horn pepper (or bell pepper), chopped
- 1 green horn pepper (or bell pepper), chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic (leave it whole or chop it for more intense flavor)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- A bunch of chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or to taste
- About 4 cups of warm water
- In a pot, over medium-high heat sauté the olive oil, leeks and apple.
- When leeks are tender, about 5 minutes, add the peppers, garlic, cumin, turmeric, bay leaves and stir for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the lentils, stir to mix and add the warm water. The water should cover the lentils by 1-2 inches. If not, add some more. Let it boil and reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
- Simmer for 40-50 minutes until cooked. You may need to add some more water if you notice it is almost all gone.
- After 40 minutes add salt, pepper and vinegar and taste to adjust seasonings and see if they need some more cooking (they should be tender but not mushy).
- Serve topped with some chopped parsley.