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Hi there, RNL readers! I’m Britt. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 17 years, but I married a meat and potatoes guy. I write about the balance we’ve found in the kitchen over at www.theveggievore.com.
I love Melissa’s approach towards eating, so I was honored when she asked me to write a guest post. I thought I’d share a classic avenue for making a complete and economical vegetarian meal: beans + grain + greens.
This soup is super easy to make and, with the addition of high fiber lentils, packs a solid protein punch. I’ve used beautiful Indian spices for flavor—curry and garam masala. If you’ve never tried garam masala, it’s a blend of coriander, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, caraway, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. It adds depth to all kinds of things, but I particularly enjoy it as a coating for tofu or roasted cauliflower. I like the peppery warmth it brings to this spring soup.
Indian Spiced Spring Soup
Makes 6 hearty portions
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or more to taste
1 ½ cups French green lentils
½ cup brown rice
6 cups vegetable broth (It’s easy to make your own!)
5 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
Toppings to suit your fancy
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat.
Add the onion and carrots and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.
Mix in the curry, garam masala and sea salt. Stir until the spices evenly coat the vegetables.
Add the lentils and rice and stir to get everything evenly distributed.
Pour the vegetable broth in, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer—medium heat—and set your timer for 45 minutes.
When there are about 2 minutes left on the timer, mix in your spinach. (It looks like a lot, but it will shrink dramatically!) Allow the spinach to just wilt, but no more.
Remove the pot from the heat and give your broth a taste. Does it feel flat? If so, add a pinch of sea salt, stir and taste again. Keep repeating until you’ve reached a good flavor balance. Salt content varies widely among vegetable broths, so the necessary addition will differ accordingly.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy!
This soup tastes great on its own, but you can certainly top it any way you like. For my bowl, I added sliced avocado, Greek style coconut yogurt, pepitas and a sprinkling of lemon zest, which brings such brightness to the bowl. I can imagine that organic sour cream, sunflower seeds, or a pinch of fresh cilantro would make worthy additions as well.
Should you have leftovers, they are freezer friendly! Next time, you can experiment with other grains and greens. Try rye berries, farro or millet with kale, swiss chard or collards. The possibilities are endless!
Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.