If you’re wondering about how to keep your new year’s resolution about healthier eating without adding extra time to your day, you’ll want to try this easy and flexible recipe for Red-Lentil Soup with Vegetables.
It starts with a base of red lentils, also known as masoor dal. These lentils are fully cooked with about 20 minutes of simmering. I add fresh, organic vegetables, which also cook quickly to keep prep time to a minimum. This recipe features green beans and baby kale, but you can try limitless other combinations—or to save time choose just one favorite vegetable. Many grocery stores now offer bags of fresh, organic pre-chopped vegetables or boxes of pre-washed greens. You can also experiment using your favorite herbs and spices. (Here’s a link to organic red lentils, but they are less expensive when purchased in bulk sections of health food stores.)
Think about Your Doshas
If you’re experiencing vata or kapha problems—which are prevalent in the cold winter months—you might want to focus on vegetables that don’t increase those doshas. Sweet potatoes and zucchini come to mind. Peas and carrots. Broccoli and cauliflower would be another good combination for this recipe, but they do increase vata. Bok choy seems like a good match with arugula, though the bok choy will also increase vata symptoms such as gas and constipation unless well cooked. Rather than totally avoiding such vegetables, you can mitigate their impact by adding more heat to your soup with extra ginger or garlic, or adding a pinch of asafetida when you put in the ginger.
Most herbs and spices are somewhat warming, so they are perfect for wintertime. Go easy on cilantro and mint during the cold months as they are quite cooling.
Renew Your Commitment to You
Recently I looked back at the new recipes I presented in 2020, and I saw that last year I posted nothing but comfort foods! Being a teacher of healthy living, I was a little embarrassed by this revelation. But, then, I have to admit that 2020 was quite a challenge for me personally. It was a year when I mourned my mother’s death, undertook an extended hiatus to recover from my caretaking role with her, and dealt with a painful physical injury of my own. I am certain that each of you has your own story of the challenges last year presented—how you survived the severity of COVID-19 and handled your own profound losses. I think many of us were looking for comfort in 2020.
In retrospect, I have to laugh at all the sweet foods I was sharing with all of you—and eating as well, a fact that is confirmed by my larger jean size! I was conscious of this pattern of emotional eating while it was happening, but I was also gentle with myself in that regard. Let me reiterate my stance that enjoying sweets from time to time is all part of a sacred and delicious life. Still, there comes a time when enough is enough, and most of us know when we have reached that point.
A new year always ushers in opportunities to recommit to a healthier lifestyle. I decided to embrace one of the new year’s resolutions I shared in late December: “Stop eating when you’re full. Even better, stop eating just before you’re full.” I lost three pounds in ten days after taking that simple step (while also avoiding dessert). My digestion has also improved
I invite each of you to renew your commitment to vibrant health as you explore all the possibilities of this new year. To support you, I’ve committed to creating more delicious vegetable soups and sides in 2021, so that you and I can fit into our favorite shorts and bathing suits by summer! Enjoy this 30-minute, one-pot meal, Red Lentil Soup with Vegetables as a welcome recipe for your 2021 repertoire.
P.S. Did you notice the heart in the soup? It happened by itself!