Mushroom Lentil Soup
With so much cold and flu circulating in every public place at this time of year, I started eyeing the shiitake mushrooms at the grocery store today… and then invoked the Goddess Annapurna to help me create a delicious approach to mushroom soup. This Mushroom Lentil Soup is just that—a dish that’s definitely for mushroom lovers, as it boasts a hearty amount of the immune-boosting shiitakes.
The neutral-flavored red lentils, also known as masoor dal, give the soup substance as well as protein and iron. I use a mixture of traditional Ayurvedic spices (cumin and coriander to balance agni) along with classic American herbs (rosemary and sage), which you might expect to find in a mushroom bisque. You can add a couple of tablespoons or more of wine if you wish—just a little adds a nice dimension to the flavor.
Shiitake mushrooms have been used in Asian cuisine for centuries, and today they are beloved worldwide as a somewhat expensive delicacy. Chinese and Japanese medical practitioners have always touted the immune-boosting capacity of shiitake. Ancient Ayurveda did not consider mushrooms to be food, since they classified fungi as tamasic, a quality that dulls the mind. Mushrooms, by the way, are also said to increase vata. Yet some mushrooms have been used medicinally in Ayurveda for thousands of years. Today, with much medical research demonstrating the healing power of shiitake mushrooms, many modern Ayurvedic practitioners recommend shiitake. If you have doubts about their suitability but you love mushrooms, I suggest that you see how you feel after eating them. You will know best whether or not they support your well-being.
During these cold winter days, enjoy this Mushroom Lentil Soup as a main course or side dish, and boost your immunity to the nasty viruses that are wreaking havoc this time of year!