Why Lentil Soup?
This very hearty lentil soup is straight out of my granny’s recipe book. It’s vegan, it’s tasty, it’s healthy!
From an ayurvedic perspective, legumes are essential for a healthy lifestyle and diet. Rich in protein, complex carbs and nutrients, they are a staple in any ayurvedic diet. Lentils can be included in many different recipes such as soups, salads, and even home-made veggie burgers. They also provide you with healthy energy, fiber and can reduce cholesterol. This very hearty and warming lentil soup is straight out of my grandma’s recipe book. Yes, back in the day my granny would be adding meat and butter to this recipe. So I’ve amended it to give you the updated, modern day vegan version. There’s dosha tipps & amendments suitable for your body type as always included in the sections below. Amend this dish suiting your type and I am certain it’ll soon become one of your favourite kitchen staples! Enjoy!
What about digestion ?
You have probably experienced that lentils & beans can cause the odd bout of gas (or bloating). This is why lentils (or beans) are also called the ‘musical fruit’. This is due to the naturally occuring saponins which lentils have to protect themselves against insects. Saponins form the sudsy foam on the surface of a cooking pot of beans. They prevent protein digestion resulting in stagnation and gas of the bowels. Brown lentils are slightly more difficult to digest for some (rather than red lentils or yellow lentils which are slightly easier to digest). Brown lentils are best for Pitta and Kapha. However, due to their drying quality, they may aggravate an already dry Vata dosha.
Cooking Tips to Improve Digestion
Cooking lentils with oil and digestive herbs will help improve their digestibility. Soak the lentils at least for 6 hours or overnight (as a rule of thumb you should do this with all types of lentils). Yellow mung dal and red lentils require the least amount of soaking (with only a minimum of 1 hour before cooking). Don’t add salt until after lentils are completely cooked. By adding salt at the beginning of the cooking process it will make the outside hard, increasing the cooking time. Also ensure that the lentils are completely cooked. If they are not cooked fully they may stress the digestive system. Always eat pulses with plenty of culinary herbs and spices to help digest them, for example asafoetida, ajwain and fennel. Others such as cumin, coriander and fresh ginger can also also help.
Feeling Vata: Brown lentils can be a little tricky for you to digest, cause bloating and gas and canmake a very dry Vata even drier. If you know that this is you, then you can replace the brown lentils in this recipe with red lentils. I, for example, am a Vata/Pitta type and and can tolerate brown lentils in moderation. Always ensure you soak your lentils at least for 6 hours.
Feeling Pitta: This soup works really well for you, go for it!
Feeling Kapha: This is a good meail for you. You can try adding more black pepper, some caynenne, or other warming spice such cumin, ginger, and turmeric. Adding these spices to your cooking can invigorate a sluggish kapha digestion.
Granny’s Hearty Lentil Soup
Granny’s Hearty Lentil Soup (Vegan Style)
- 8 medium potatoes diced
- 1.5 Litres stock ensure you use stock or stock cubes that are pure and with good quality organic herbs only. Avoid stock that has maltodextrin, sugars or extra fats added (no fats needed in a good stock powder). Also avoid all types of flavourings (natural and un-natural) as these are usually just cover-ups for different types of MSG.
- 250 gramm brown lentils
- 1 leek chopped
- 1 bunch parsley chopped
- 8 medium carrots chopped
- Add the potatoes and the chopped carrots to large cooking pot and cover in the stock and start cooking on medium heat.
- Put the lentils in a seperate pot, cover with water (rule: 3 cups of water to 1 cup of lentils), and bring to the boil.
- Once the lentils have boiled, reduce to medium heat and simmer for around 30 minutes until the lentils are cooked.
- Once the carrots and potatoes are cooked, add the leeks and keep simmering on low to medium heat.
- Once lentils are cooked, drain them off the cooking water and add them to the potato, leek and carrots mix.
- Add the chopped parsley to the pot and simmer everything for another 5 minutes.
- Season with salt & pepper and serve in warm bowls.