Curried Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup

I am really enjoying this winter weather! I look forward to eating nice, warm, comforting meals. Of course soup is on the top of that list! If you are a fan of sweet potatoes, lentils, and curry, then you are going to LOVE this soup! This soup has just the right amount of kick from the curry but the sweetness from the potatoes balances it out nicely. Did you know that lentils are a stellar source of folate and fiber? They are an excellent energy source and they keep you full, which makes them perfect for winter meals! Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, minerals and healthy starch. I love to serve this soup with homemade bread…talk about pure comfort! This soup stores well, so you can make a batch and eat it for several meals during the week. I think the flavors develop better after the first day of making it. YAY for cooking once and eating like 4 times!

1 Tbsp grape seed oil (optional)
1/2 large onion, diced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, rinsed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (NOT yams)
1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup green lentils, thoroughly rinsed and drained
1/2 cup red lentils, thoroughly rinsed and drained
Sea Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion, ginger, carrots and celery (alternately, you can dry saute the onion, ginger, carrots and celery adding in a bit of vegetable broth so veggies don’t stick). Season with a pinch each sea salt and black pepper and stir. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and fragrant.
Add garlic and sweet potatoes and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes to brown slightly, and then add curry powder. Stir to coat. Cook 2 minutes more.
Add 6 cups vegetable broth and increase heat to medium-high. Once at a low boil, add lentils, stir, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, uncovered, or until lentils and sweet potatoes are tender.
Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Note: if you don’t like the flavor of curry, omit and add 1 teaspoon dried thyme instead.
Serve immediately with cilantro and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice. Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. (Adapted slightly from Recipe Source: Minimalist Baker)

Vegetable Chowder

I always look forward to January. I enjoy the cool weather, wearing layers, a nice fire in the fireplace and of course soup! Soup is one of my favorite meals for lunch and dinner because I can pack a nutritional powerhouse into one bowl. Soup is also very comforting to the body and spirit. I feel emotionally grounded and reflective over a bowl of soup. Emotional eating can be a good thing!

I was craving a good, creamy soup the other day. I looked in my refrigerator and pantry and came up with this recipe. RIGHT ON! This recipe really hit my “soup spot” and gave me ample protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep me going strong. The great thing about soup is you can create a delicious meal with what you have on hand – grains, legumes, vegetables, pasta, spices. It’s so fun to create a soup that is all your own. Give this recipe a try and enjoy the comfort a nice bowl of soup brings. Stay warm!

*My tip for getting a creamy soup without using dairy or fat: pureed beans. I recommend using a high-powered blender to get a nice, smooth consistency.

a good drizzle of grapeseed oil (optional)
1/2 onion, diced
3 small carrots, sliced
2 large stalks celery, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup fresh green beans, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 cup water
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (15-ounces) garbanzo beans, undrained
1 cup lentil macaroni pasta
1 cup steamed broccoli florets, cut in half
1/2 cup frozen peas

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Drizzle in some grapeseed oil, if using. Saute onion, carrots and celery for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Alternatively, you can dry saute the onion, carrots and celery adding in a bit of water to prevent sticking.
In a high-powered blender, place garbanzo beans. Blend until a nice puree is achieved. Set aside. To the soup pot, add in garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add in green beans, water, broth and bean puree. Stir well. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add in lentil macaroni, broccoli and peas. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste for seasonings. Serve.