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Lentils come in a variety of colors and textures—brown, green, red/yellow, and specialty varieties such as Black beluga and Puy. The most common are brown , which you can substitute for the red ones in this recipe. Red lentils are hulled, cook more quickly and have a creamier texture when done than do the brown lentils.
Lentils are a good source of fiber, protein, and B Vitamins. Their astringent quality makes them a good choice for pittas and kaphas. The addition of vata-pacifying oil and spices, as in this recipe, balances some of the dryness making this a nutritious and filling meal for everyone.
Change it up by adding different vegetables or adjusting the spices to your taste. Serve with fresh bread with olive oil for dipping. Or make it a heartier meal by serving over cooked rice.
Recipe: Red Lentil Vegetable Soup
1 C red lentils
4 C water or vegetable stock
1 large carrot, diced
1 large stalk of celery, diced
1 bunch chopped bok choy
2 C finely chopped green cabbage
Masala (spice mixture):
1 Tbsp oil (organic coconut oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, or ghee)
1 tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder or grated fresh turmeric
¼ tsp grated fresh ginger
½ of one diced green chili (without seeds for a mild flavor, with seeds for more spice)
1 diced fresh tomato (or a tablespoon of tomato paste)
- Rinse the lentils well and bring them to a boil in the 4 cups of water or vegetable broth.
- Reduce heat and simmer gently on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up clumps in the lentils and stop them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- As the lentils begin to boil, a white foam can appear on the surface of the water. Skim the foam off the top, to get rid of excess impurities left on the lentils.
- Warm the oil in a skillet and add masala ingredients. Cook gently for a few minutes, stirring often, until the spices emit a lovely aroma.
- Add the chopped vegetables to the masala mixture and sauté for a few minutes.
- Add vegetables and spices to the soup. Ladle some of the lentil liquid into the skillet to rinse it and then pour the entire mixture into the soup pot, making sure all of the vegetables, spices, and oil are transferred into the soup.
- Simmer for at least 15 minutes before serving, and add salt to taste.
Note To make this soup in an Instant Pot, sauté spices in oil until fragrant, add vegetables, and stir until coated. Add lentils and water, and pressure cook for 12 minutes.
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