Lentils soup offers deep nourishment. Lentils are inexpensive, and extraordinarily rich in folate – a B vitamin that is essential to women of reproductive age as a mother’s folate status influences health of her newborn. Mothers with insufficient folate intake are more likely to give birth to babies who suffer from neural tube defects than those who have sufficient folate levels. Liver, too, is a potently rich source of folate.
Lentils are also rich in phosphorus, which earned them a beloved place in the heart of Dr. Weston Price, a nutrition researcher of the early 20th century who traveled the globe researching traditional diets and their influence on the health of native populations. In a letter to his nieces and nephews, which can be found in the most current edition of Nutrition & Physical Degeneration (you can purchase it online from independent booksellers, Price outlines his recommendations for affordable, nutrient-dense diets and in that letter he heartily recommends lentil soup as a dietary staple for its phosphorus content coupled with its affordability.
Lentils, like all pulses, are best served after a good long soaking. You see, these nourishing foods contain potent antinutrients which bind up minerals in the digestive tract preventing their full absorption. In soaking beans and lentils, as well as grains and nuts, before consuming them, you can mitigate the effects of these naturally occurring antinutrients thereby increasing the nutrients available to your body and decreasing overall cooking time.
spiced lentil soup with roasted tomatoes andeggplant
- 2 cups green lentils (picked over and rinsed well)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 lbs heirloom tomatoes (halved and seeded)
- 1 lb eggplant any variety , (peeled and cubed)
- 2 tbsp unrefined extra virgin olive oil (plus extra to serve)
- 2 tbsp clarified butter/ghee
- 1 medium yellow onion (peeled and sliced thin)
- 3 ribs celery (sliced thin)
- 1 tsp powdered mustard
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 quarts roast chicken stock or filtered water
- 1 bunch kale (trimmed and coarsely chopped)
- Pour lentils into a large mixing bowl and cover with hot water by two inches. Stir in vinegar, cover with a kitchen towel, and allow the lentils to soak for eight to twelve hours. After they’ve soaked for eight to twelve hours, drain off the water and rinse them well.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange tomatoes and eggplant on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about thirty minutes or until the tomatoes begin to caramelize.
- Melt ghee in a heavy-bottomed stock pot and stir in onion. Fry the onion in ghee until it softens and becomes translucent, six to eight minutes, then stir in mustard, cumin and coriander.
- Pour chicken stock into the pot over the onions and stir in soaked lentils. Cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, about twenty minutes. Once the lentils are tender, stir in roasted tomatoes and eggplant and continue simmering, covered, for a further twenty to twenty-five minutes.
- After twenty to twenty-five minutes, turn off the heat, stir in the kale and cover. Allow the kale to wilt under in the ambient heat of the soup. Season the soup to taste with unrefined sea salt (see sources), coarsely ground black pepper, and additional olive oil.