With the weather cooling down as we roll into autumn and winter, our health can be rattled as it adjusts; but a bowl of this nutritious soup may well be the boost your body needs.
Legumes are plant-based sources of protein which can be easily found, prepared quickly and are a cheap way to get a hit of nutrients.
Red lentils are a source of protein, folate and iron. These nutrients support healthy blood production and immune system. Same goes for red kidney beans and both of these legumes can be found in this soup.
When the weather cools, our immune system gets put under stress as our body adjusts. Building up your blood so that it can deliver nutrients to where they are needed as well as eating adequate amounts of protein, the building blocks of the immune system will help support your immunity through the change of seasons.
The spices in this dahl soup are warming and gently stimulating to your circulatory system. Our bodies preserve energy in the cooler months by slowing down and going into hibernation mode. Toes and fingers can get cold more easily for this reason. Gently moving the blood to these areas as well as to your digestive system means you warm up your extremities and the organs that need the energy can get it to break down your food and get the most from it.
This soup is best served hot, covered in fresh baby spinach, coriander, toasted coconut flakes and with a side of heated piece flatbread to soak it up with.
How to stay healthy in winter
Must-eat immune foods
Dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan
- 2 tbs coconut oil
- 1 small brown onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ¼ tsp cayenne powder
- 1½ cups split red lentils, rinsed
- 700g butternut pumpkin, cut into 1cm cubes
- 400ml/1 can coconut milk
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 60g baby spinach leaves
- 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- A handful of fresh coriander, roughly torn
- 1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp coconut flakes, lightly toasted
How to make
- In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over a medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook for around 5 minutes until it is soft and slightly golden. If your onion is sticking to the bottom of your pot or going brown too quickly, turn down the heat on your stove
- Add the minced garlic, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne powder to the pot and stir everything together for around 30 seconds to cook the garlic and spices. Once everything is smelling fragrant, add the red lentils and stir again for another 30 seconds so that they are coated in the onion, garlic and spices
- Add the pumpkin and pour the coconut milk and vegetable stock in to the pot, stir and bring everything to a boil. Once boiling, turn the stove down to a low heat, put a lid on the pot and leave to simmer for 25 minutes. Just before your soup is ready, stir in the baby spinach leaves (leaving some to garnish with if you like) and red kidney beans and cook for another 2 minutes. Then turn the heat off your stove
- To serve, divide the soup between four bowls and top with the coriander, chilli and toasted coconut and serve with some roti, naan or other preferred flatbread or even over a bed of rice. Store any uneaten soup in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months
- You can add extra vegetables to this soup by reducing the amount of pumpkin and adding vegetables like mushrooms or broccoli. Note that these vegetables will have different cooking times so add them to the soup accordingly
- Supercharge the greens in this soup by adding a variety of different leaves such as kale or chard leaves
Roberta of Naturo Medico is a Naturopathic Practitioner who specialises in preventative care and women’s health. From her Melbourne-based clinic, Roberta sees women of all ages wanting to meet their own health goals and assists them on their path with personalised treatments specific to their needs.
Alongside practice, Roberta shares healthful and nutrient-rich recipes with her readers who inspire her to continue educating on what health and wellbeing means and how it can be achieved.
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