This vegan, high protein, complex carbohydrate, iron rich soup tastes like a love affair between health food and guttony. I kid you not. It’s incredibly hearty and filling to satisfy even the largest of appetites. (I can vouch for this – my active 6’4″ husband with the appetite of a teenage boy loves this soup as an entire meal.)
I started to fall in love with lentils after my daughter was born and I was severely anemic looking for any non-meat way to boost those iron stores. <<Because if you have ever tried to run with your iron stores in the toilet, you’ll know what death feels like.>> One half cup of cooked red lentils supplies 20% of your daily iron needs. The other reason I love lentils? They’re cheap! Really cheap! Who doesn’t love a cheap protein source? Typically we spend the most food dollars on our protein sources, so this is a huge win for budget eating.
Lentils come in all different varieties. This soup calls for red lentils, which fall apart when cooking and blend into a very creamy base for soups. These are also the highest in iron. Other varieties of lentils include green and black, which hold their shape more when cooked. I have made this soup with green lentils and it still works if that happens to be all you can find at your grocery store.
Lentils are a good source of complex carbohydrate but in order to make this soup a full meal, it needed a little more – cue the entrance of the sweet potatoes. Finish it off with a couple huge handfuls of chopped kale (plus the carrots at the beginning) to get your veggies. Now you’ve got your balanced protein-carbohydrate-veggie packed dinner. All in one spoonful! But, I wouldn’t be mad if you added some crusty whole wheat bread on the side for dipping. In fact, I encourage it.
Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup
Yield: 8 (1 1/2 cup servings)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped (1 cup)
4 carrots, chopped (2 cups)
2 small sweet potatoes, chopped (2 1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp thyme
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 cups red lentils
4 cups kale, chopped
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or stock pot. Add onions, carrots, and sweet potato. Season with small amount of salt and pepper. Saute until vegetables soften, stirring frequently.
- Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, and thyme. Cook for one minute, stirring the entire time.
- Add drained tomatoes and stir until any remaining liquid cooks off.
- Add broth, water, lentils, bay leaf, and 1 tsp salt.
- Simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Transfer 1/2 the soup into a blender and puree. Return pureed soup to the other soup and stir.
- Stir in kale and lemon juice. Allow kale to wilt. Enjoy!
- This recipe feeds a crowd! It saves very well in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Or, freeze it for up to 2-3 months.
- You can use other colored lentils – the final soup will just have a different look and texture to it.
- This soup is much lower in sodium than others, but if you want it even lower, cut salt to 1/2 tsp and use the juice of 2 whole lemons.
Athletes: Many athletes need extra iron to support endurance training and excess losses. Add this into your monthly rotation to help boost those iron stores. Also, a great post endurance exercise meal full of healthy carbohydrates, protein, and antioxidants. I’m looking out for you guys!
Healthy Eating: I love how this meal is completely balanced and ready to be your full meal. Make it on the weekend. Eat it for dinner. Then, have leftovers for lunch all week. I bet your coworkers will be jealous 😉
Kids: Try giving them a small bowl with a piece of bread to dip. Once they like the flavor, they’re more likely to try it. If texture is an issue, puree their entire bowl of soup.