Nothing will warm you up on a cold winter day better than a nice hot bowl of soup. Soup is such a versatile dish. It can be served as an appetizer before a meal, be the main course, or even just a snack.
When you make a soup with red lentils, you have the added bonus of a thick creamy texture because red lentils break down when they are cooked. Red lentils are an excellent source of protein, high in fiber, iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, manganese, and B vitamins.
Whenever you cook beans or lentils, add a small piece of kombu. This incredible nutrient-dense sea vegetable helps strengthen your intestinal tract and aids in digesting the lentils, helping to eliminate the gas some experience when eating beans and lentils.
Burdock root is an excellent strengthening root vegetable native to Michigan.
You may have come across it while hiking in the woods. It is the plant with the huge leaves and round burs that get stuck on your pant legs. You can dig up the plant and eat the root, but most prefer to just buy it from the store.
Burdock is great for your skin, can cleanse the blood, is good for your digestion, and can help eliminate toxins from the body. It’s best known for helping people with diabetes as it contains inulin, the nutraceutical that helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
Burdock root has a unique bitter, earthy taste. It is always best paired with a sweet vegetable such as the sweet potato in the soup recipe below. The seasonings paprika, curry, and cumin give a little spice to the soup without making it too spicy. They spices are warming spices, helping to keep you warm during the cold winter months.
Red Lentil Burdock Root Soup
10 cups water
1 (2 inch) piece of kombu
2 cups red lentils
1 onion (diced)
4 cups sweet potato (peeled and cut in cubes)
2 cups burdock root (cut in thin rounds)
3 celery stalks (diced)
1/4 cup minced kale
1 T. olive oil
3 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. curry
1/2 tsp. cumin
Put the water and kombu in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Remove the kombu once it’s soft. Cut in small pieces and put back into pot. Add the red lentils and let water come back up to a boil. Add the vegetables, one at a time, letting the water come back up to a boil in-between adding each vegetable. Once all vegetables are in the soup pot, reduce to low, and simmer for twenty minutes. Turn off heat and add the seasonings. Stir everything together and serve hot.
Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. She offers weekly, virtual cooking classes that all can attend. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or her radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.
Excerpted from the Winter ’22 – ’23 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.