By Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, CDE
As winter grips part of the nation with its icy fingers, nothing spells cozy comfort as much as a steaming, hot bowl of soup to combat the cold, and this carrot-lentil soup does not disappoint! The tantalizing aroma of fresh ginger and carrots will have your family begging for seconds so make sure you have enough to feed your clan! With beta carotene from carrots, antioxidants from turmeric and ginger, a ton of protein, fiber and potassium from the wholesome lentils, this hearty (fusion), soup is as nutritious as it is scrumptious! Served with crusty whole grain bread, this soup would make a deliciously complete meal! So go ahead and slurp it up!
- 3 cups baby carrots
- 1/2 cup yellow lentils, (moong dal), rinsed (see picture after Registered Dietitian’s tip at the bottom of the post)
- 1″ ginger root, chopped into 2 large chunks + 1 tbsp finely chopped, fresh ginger root
- 3 hot, green chilies, washed
- 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 plum tomatoes, blanched and chopped
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon rice vine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vegan butter (optional)
- Salt to taste ( I used 1 and 1/4 teaspoons)
- 3-4 tablespoons of scallions, finely chopped
- Steam carrots until tender. Chop into small rounds and set aside.
- Add 1/4 tsp turmeric, the 2 large pieces of ginger, and whole green chilies to the lentils and cook according to package directions, until very soft and mushy. Add additional water as required to ensure that lentils are very soft, not al dente. (If cooking on the stove top, you will need roughly at least 4 times the amount of water compared to the amount of lentils-I used 2 cups of water for 1/2 cup of the dry lentils in the pan of a pressure cooker).
- Using tongs, (lentils will be very hot), remove the chilies and ginger chunks from the cooked dal (lentils), allow to cool slightly, then chop finely. Set aside.
- Heat the oil to medium high heat in a thick bottomed sauce pan.
- Add chopped onions, saute until soft and translucent.
- Stir in the cooked ginger and chilies from step # 3 above, as well as the tablespoon of raw, finely chopped ginger into the pot.
- Add the chopped, blanched tomatoes, combining until blended, stirring for an additional 3-5 minutes.
- Add turmeric, chili powder, vinegar and salt to the onion-tomato mixture in the pan.
- Add the chopped carrots and cooked lentils to the pan until combined. (See steps 10, 11 below).
Allow to cool and then transfer all the contents of the pan to a blender, gradually adding 2 cups of water until blended.
- Transfer back to the same pan, stirring on medium high heat for a few minutes.
- Gradually add another couple of cups of water or just enough to get a “soupy” consistency.
- Bring soup to a rolling boil and allow to simmer on low heat for an additional 5-6 minutes at least.
- Stir in the butter or ghee.
- Season to taste with salt, additional chili powder if desired, per taste.
- Serve hot, garnished with finely chopped scallions.
Registered Dietitian’s tip:
- While the carrots in this soup are packed with beta carotene or vitamin A, which enhances vision, immune function and bone health, the lentils in the soup are abundant in the mineral potassium, which unlike its counterpart electrolyte sodium, can help lower your blood pressure. An excellent source of healthy, plant-based protein, yellow lentils are very easily digested and are also a rich source of fiber to boot!
- Try pre-soaking lentils for at least a couple of hours to speed up cooking time. Drain the soaking liquid and cook in fresh water to reduce symptoms of bloating and flatulence that some folks may experience. Beans and lentils contain oligosaccharides called galactans. Oligosaccharides are smaller chain complex carbohydrates with 2-6, and occasionally up to 10 monosaccharide (single sugar) units. Human beings do not have the enzymes to break down these compounds, hence they are poorly absorbed, causing gas and “awkward social moments”!!! If you tend to get flatulence with beans or lentils, try soaking them overnight in water, then discard the water and cook in fresh water. That said, the yellow lentils featured in this recipe tend to cause the least, gastro-intestinal intolerance compared to other, larger lentils and beans.
Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!!
Disclaimer: This blog is strictly for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your physician or registered dietitian for recommendations tailored to your specific needs.