This nourishing vegetable and lentil soup is the perfect winter-warmer: I usually make it at least once a week and it eat it for days (reheated tastes even better).
This perfect winter-warmer is a winner for every dosha, simply follow the dosha adjustments below. This soup is fully packed with proteins. It’s giving you an amino-acid boost that bolsters your tissues and strengthens your immune system. Plus, a powerhouse of spices deliver antioxidants and anti-inflammatarory compounds: to let you fly with ease through the cold and flu season. Additional shitake mushrooms also provide this soup with a great earthy flavour and slightly ‘meaty’ texture.
Native to Asia, shitake mushrooms have gained widespread popularity across the world. They are the third most cultivated mushroom on the planet today. This isn’t surprising as shitake mushrooms boost quite the nutritional profile. They contain Vitamin D, Copper, Selenium, Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Folate (B9) and B12 amongst others. But that’s not all. Shitake mushrooms are also said to have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. They are also said to be potent in fighting inflammations and helping in keeping your blood sugar stable.
Shitake mushrooms also deliver immune-modulating beta-glucans. Beta-glucans activate immune cells, increase antibody production, increase viral-inhibiting proteins and in short, they are great anti-cancer preventatives.
What more can you want from your soup?!
Feeling Vata: This soup is great for you. Swap brown lentils for red lentils for easier digestion and less bloating or gas.
Feeling Pitta: If your pitta is high swap potatoes with sweet potatoes and leave out the hot stuff such as paprika, cayenne and use less or no garlic. Skip the tomato paste.
Feeling Kapha: This is a great dish for you if you simply use a little bit less of the lentils and instead use more of the vegetables. All spices are great for Kapha, so go ahead and season well with the spices recomended in this recipe. Especially cayenne is great to boost Kapha’s sluggish metabolism.
Avoid the lemon in the end and go easy on the salt! Voila!
- half a red onion, chopped
- 2 x garlic cloves, minced
- 2 x celery stalks, chopped
- 3 x medium sized carrots, chopped
- 1 x and a half cougette, chopped
- 2 x medium sized potatoes, chopped into small cubes
- 150g shitake mushrooms (optional)
- 1.5 x tablespoons olive oil
- 1 x Litre vegetable stock / bouillon (yeast free, without added fats)
- 1.5 cups brown lentils (alternatively use red lentils)
- 1/2 x teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 x teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 x teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 x teaspoon of coriander seeds, ground in pestle & mortar
- one pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 x bay leaf
- 1 x tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 x handful of parsley, chopped
- 2 x handfuls of spinach, washed and trimmed
- black pepper and salt for seasoning
- juice from half a lemon
- If you are using dry shitake mushrooms, ensure that you soak them in water before cooking for usually 5-8 hours (according to pack).
- Add the olive oil to a large stock pot. Heat slowly on a very low heat setting, then add the onions and the garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon for a while. Add the cinnamon, cumin, turmeric and add a little salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Grind the coriander seeds in a pestle & mortar and add as well.
- Stir the spices well into the oil and onion mix, until you you have a nice oily mix. Keep heating on low until the onions and garlic become fragrant and slightly translucent.
- Add the potatoe cubes and carrots, and stir into the onion spice mix. Heat up to a medium heat and keep stirring for about 3 to 5 minutes until the vegetables are nicely coated in spices and oil.
- Add the courgette and celery pieces and stir in to the mix for 1 minute. If the mix is to dry add a little water if need be.
- Now add the lentils. Stir well into the vegetable and spice mix.
- Add the paprika and tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the 1.5 Liters of vegetable stock. It should be enough stock in the pot that the vegetables and lentils are well covered (the lentils will soak up a lot of water during cooking). Add more water if not covered enough.
- Add the bay leaves.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the shitake mushrooms if using.
- Cook for another 20 minutes (unil the lentils are nice, soft and mushy and the vegetables are soft and tender, if not simply cook a bit longer until the soup has a nice consistency to your liking).
- Stir in the spinach and half of the chopped parsley, simmer for a another few minutes until the spinach is wilted and cooked to your liking.
- Squeeze half a lemon and stir through the soup.
- Take off the heat and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve and garnish with the left-over parsley, some vegan plant-based yoghurt,and if you're a Kapha type, some chillies and cherry tomatoes go a long way!
This soup is also delicious with some black beans or chickpeas additional or instead off the brown lentils if you're a pitta or a kapha type. Vata's better stay clear of too many legumes or beans.