There is nothing quite like nice warm bowl of healthy + nourishing soup at home after all the holiday binge eating and rushing around like crazy. I am always testing out and making new versions of lentil soup, which often can be hit or miss. This recipe, however, was a huge hit with the family and myself, so it was worthy of its own recipe page. (Now I can actually remember which combination tasted good for next time!)
Why am I always trying to concoct different lentil recipes, you ask? Because lentils are not only one of the highest plant based sources of protein, they are also packed densely with dietary fiber. They are also high in iron, vitamin B Folate + magnesium. They have been known to lower cholesterol, fight atherosclerosis, stabilize blood sugar levels and improve overall heart health.
Be warned though. Even with their high nutrient profile, legumes contain some anti-nutrients as well. They contain phytates and enzyme inhibitors and they can diminish the nutritional value of consuming them. Basically phytic acid can bind up minerals and prevent absorption into the body. The fermentation of these legumes within the digestive track can also cause gas! The best method I have found to mitigate these legume "issues" and savor their nutritional value is to soak them overnight in a bowl of water in a warm environment (adding a bit of apple cider vinegar is optional).
So without any more legume talk, here is the recipe. It is low in calories and high in nutrition. It is comforting and contains lots of veggies and nourishing ingredients. I really hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
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- 4-5 nitrate free Italian chicken sausage links (casing removed)
- 1 medium onion (diced finely)
- 3 carrots (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 celery sticks (sliced thin)
- 6 stalks kale (chopped and stems removed)
- 1 + 1/2 carton organic beef broth (or homemade bone broth)
- 2 cups organic lentils - I use these
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
- Soak lentils overnight in warm environment (adding a dash of apple cider vinegar is optional) to aid in digestion and nutrient assimilation. Strain and rinse with warm water.
- Add olive oil to large pot over medium heat. Add sausage and par-cook (about 3 minutes), using spatula to break up the pieces into desired consistency. Remove onto another plate.
- In the same oil and juices (add more if necessary) add onions and garlic. Stir and cook until soft.
- Add carrots and celery and cook until they begin to soften (about 10 minutes)
- Add back in sausage and stir. Add lentils, broth and spices. Save salt until the end as lentils tend to dry out if cooked for log periods of time in too much salt.
- Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and cover for 30-40 minutes.
- Add kale and stir when it is ready to serve.