30 Jan

carrot & red lentil soup

Since it’s still January, I feel like we’re still in some sort of resolution-making grace period.

So can we all agree to at least one resolution in 2014?

Good. Here it is…

We’re not going to sacrifice taste for health. We’re going to eat yummy food that is also good for us and we’re going to feel good about it.

I think it’s about time we all got on the same page.

Now, let’s talk carrot soup.

Wait…

I know. Up until I came up with this particular recipe, I had never eaten carrot soup. It just didn’t appeal to me.

Seriously, pureed carrots in broth?

Yeah, no thanks.

What I soon learned was that if you add the right combination of spices and a few lentils for texture, boring carrot soup becomes surprisingly delicious.

And the best part is that you can feel good about eating it.

I mean, carrots are healthy. Everyone knows that.

But we’ve also got turmeric, garlic, ginger, shallot, lentils, and green tea going on in this soup. All good things that taste good too.

Can we pause here and discuss lentils for a bit?

Great. Here’s what you should know: Lentils are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. They’re a good source of protein, iron, phosphorous, copper, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. They also add substance and texture to soups so that you can fill up but won’t fill out.

That’s a win!

It’s still cold outside so soup just seems right.

But let’s pass on the canned stuff for a while and just make our own with fresh ingredients.

It’s so much better for you, and it’s easy. Promise.

Ingredients

3 carrots – peeled and chopped

1 shallot

1 garlic clove – chopped

1/4 cup red lentils

1/4 tsp brown sugar

1/8 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp ginger (freshly grated or powdered)

1/2 tsp salt

1 package Numi Organics Carrot Curry Savory Tea*

Directions

Toss the carrots around with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Roast at 375 for 15-20 minutes until the carrots are tender and caramelized.

Bring 12 ounces of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and drop in a Carrot Curry flavored tea bag. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes.

In a small sauce pan, bring 1 cup of water to a simmer and add the lentils. Stir occasionally. Cook until the lentils are tender. Turn off the heat, drain, and then dump the lentils back into the pot.

Drizzle a little olive oil into a saute pan over medium-low heat and add the garlic and shallot. Gently saute until tender.

Add the spices and brown sugar to the sautéed garlic and shallot. Stir to coat. Once the spices are toasty and fragrant, kill the heat.

Into your blender, add the carrots, half of the lentils, the sautéed shallot, ginger, spices, and the tea. Blend until smooth.

Pour the mixture back into the pot with the lentils over low heat.

Taste for seasoning and add salt if you need it.

While the soup comes up to a gentle simmer (you’re just making sure the soup is nice and hot at this point), get your garnish ready. I added Greek yogurt and chopped pistachios because that’s what I had but you can obviously add whatever you like to your bowl.

Pour the piping hot soup into a large bowl or two smaller bowls or mugs, top with your garnish of choice (if you want one), and enjoy.

See? Easy.

The soup is already pretty creamy thanks to the blended lentils but if you want a little extra creaminess, you can add heavy cream or yogurt.

*Carrot Curry tea contains: organic carrot, organic curry, organic cilantro, organic onion, organic ginger, organic turmeric, organic decaf green tea.

I realize that some of these spices (turmeric, cumin seed) are not common to most kitchens. The good news is that they are fairly inexpensive. Check the ethnic section of your local grocery store.  That’s where I buy most of my spices. They’re much cheaper but still great quality.

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