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All time favourite healthy energising ‘Red Lentil Soup’Try this magic vegan and gluten free soup



Love of Life

I think we’ve all fallen in love with red lentils at some point in our lives, we did, all over again with this soup one evening a long time ago. I still remember Micks face over the kitchen table looking at me asking, “Wow, it’s sooo good but what’s in it, it even feels healthy, why? It tastes good of course because of the mixture of those wonderful classic spices, the slight acidity of the tomato the creamy earthiness of the red lentil and the slight salty touch at the end. I think it also feels good because eating red lentils links us and puts the soul in touch with a long line of ancestors who were saved and who in turn fell in love with lentils many times through human history. It feels like you’re eating something that can save your life.


Food with meaning

Every family has its own classic dishes and every family has someone who makes the best bake, the best roast, the best cake, pie etc. From the moment that signature dish arrives on the table we feel nourished in our heart and soul not just in our body. Those dishes work with us on different physical and spiritual levels. I am sure, if you can see auras, you can see the changes around the dinner table when mum’s pastries and cakes are being munched. This is a piece of family history. Knowing the history of a certain dish or the ingredients creates these histories and in these present moments, these things lift us and our food into higher spheres.



Be Lentil Smart

Here are some interesting facts that I collected and that make me feel good when I am cooking and eating lentils:


- There are hundreds of varieties of lentils, with as many as fifty or more cultivated for food.

- Lentils increase nitrogen and other essential nutrients in soil during growth. They require less moisture than most crops and prevent soil erosion. So by eating lentils you are genuinely helping the earth and the environment.

- The lentil is one of the oldest cultivated legumes, dating back at least 8,000 years. The scientific name relates to the lens of the eye.

- Lentils were a very common food in the ancient world in Greece and Rome. Together with wheat and barley, lentils were the agricultural staples of early Greek culture. Lentils were commonly enjoyed in a type of lentil soup called phake.


- Hippocrates, recognized the health benefits of lentils and prescribed them to patients suffering from liver ailments. Modern medicine has since shown that lentils improve liver function because they contain high amounts of Choline, a nutrient that enables the liver to rid itself of fat so that it can effectively filter toxins from the bloodstream.

- In Rome, lentils were considered a nutritious and tasty food for the poorer social classes. Romans prepared a simple lentil soup called puls, from which the word "pulse" is derived

- In medieval times lentils played an important part in the recovery from the devastating Black Death because they were so wholesome and readily available. The Plague killed 30-60% of the European population, and left most the survivors weak and destitute. The inexpensive lentils provided much-needed nutrients protein and vitamins that were scarce at that time.

- Lentils have been used as an excellent meat substitute for centuries because their high protein content. Lentils have the highest level of protein by weight of any plant-based food.

- Lentils are also rich in iron, phosphorus, copper, vitamin B1, potassium




Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Ingredients

1 large onion

Options to add chopped potato, celery, carrot...

1 cm piece ginger, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbls cumin seeds

1 tbls black onion seeds (Nigella seeds)

1 tbls cumin

1 tsp chilli pepper flake

1 tbls turmeric

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 mug of red lentil (washed)

1.5 l water (preferably boiling hot from the kettle)

1 canned chopped tomato (400g)

Spinach or Kale (350g)

Salt

Finishing options:

· Fresh parsley and/or coriander

· Marmite

· Vegan Nutritional Yeast Flake

· 100 ml white vine


Method

· Put the kettle on to boil while you are chopping the onion. Heat the oil in a medium pan, add the onion and soften it for 2 minutes on low heat. Add the dice carrots/celery/potato and ginger and on a low heat soften them for a good 7 minutes.

· Add garlic, cumin seeds and black onion seeds. Keep stirring and fry them for a minute.

· Add all the grounded spices and cook for another minute.

· Add the washed lentils, keep stirring it while the lentils are coated with the spiced onion mix.

· Pour in the hot water. If you use kale, add into the pot now (if you use spinach just add them at the very end.) Cook over a medium-low heat for 20 minutes until the lentils are tender. Add chopped tomato and let them cook through. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the spinach and parsley/ coriander if you use any.

· Finishing options:

. Just add salt and pepper for your taste and Enjoy your meal!

. You can add a good tbls of Marmite and check the taste, whether it needs more salt or more Marmite

. You can add two tbls of nutritional yeast flake and check the taste whether it needs more salt

. For a lovely twinge add white wine when you add the chopped tomato to evaporate the alcohol


Cooking tips

- Salt can toughen lentils. Only add salt once the lentils are completely cooked.

- Acidic ingredients such as wine or tomatoes can lengthen cooking time. You may wish to add these ingredients but add after the lentils have become tender.

- Lentils placed in already boiling water will be easier to digest than those that were brought to a boil with the water. When the water returns to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer and cover. Green lentils usually take 30 minutes, while red ones require 20 minutes.

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© Photographs by Mick Crudge. All rights reserved.

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