Being vegetarian/pescatarian I often struggle over being creative with our dinner choices. When our children lived at home, we consumed so much pasta, I feel I have had more than my fill. Another go to, the loaded salad, is delicious. And, cold, dry/rough, similar to the weather outside and the terrain inside many of our bodies during the colder months. I do enjoy a nice piece of grilled salmon with roasted brussel sprouts and nutty grains, but still seek a more juicy alternative. This morning, I woke up thinking about one of my favorites, my husband’s too: Coconut and Red Lentil Soup! I discovered the recipe in Kris Carr’s book, “The Crazy Sexy Kitchen.” If you haven’t seen the book, have a look, it’s amazing! What I like about this particular soup is it’s loaded with protein from the lentils and perfectly spiced so that each spoonful becomes an investigation into the plethora of mouth watering tastes, sweet, sour, salty and pungent. If you want to add some bitterness, incorporate a side of steamed dark leafy greens, for a bit of astringents, sprinkle dried cranberries on top. Now you have all six tastes in one meal with a concentration on sweet, sour and salty the tastes of winter. There is also quite a kick to this soup adding the perfect amount of heat. Give the recipe a whirl, let me know what you think!
Coconut and Red Lentil Soup, Serves 8:
1.5 Tablespoons cumin seeds, 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, half of a red serrano pepper chopped, 1 small white onion finely chopped, 1.5 cups red lentils, 4 to 5 cups vegetable stock or water, One 12 ounce can coconut milk, 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger, .5 Tablespoon Black Pepper, .5 Tablespoon sea salt, 2 Tablespoons lemon zest, 5 Tablespoons lemon juice. Garnish with chopped cilantro and sliced avocado
- Toast cumin and coriander seeds in dry pot on medium heat for 2 minutes until robust aromas unleash.
- Add olive oil, red pepper and onion, stir until golden
- Add the next 6 ingredients
- Put on low heat, stir well and cover. Allow to cook for about 30 to 35 minutes stirring occasionally until lentils have melted. You may need to add more water
- When soup is done, add lemon zest, lemon juice and chopped cilantro
- Remove from heat and serve with sliced avocado
A few variations from a little experimentation: Add 2 teaspoons of turmeric to the spice mix. good for the skin and inflammation. Try serving over coconut rice or basmati rice. Whip up a side of steamed or sauteed dark leafy greens with sea salt, black pepper and roasted cumin seeds with a sprinkle of dried cranberries.
Ayurvedic Note: While the tastes of winter are sweet, sour and salty, it is nice to have all six tastes in each meal with a greater focus on sweet, sour and salty!