Turmeric Lentil Soup with Kale
If you're looking for something cozy and restorative this one's for you! This golden turmeric lentil soup has a bright yellow hue and is full of healing properties from the turmeric and ginger that flavors the broth.
Turmeric is becoming more and more popular, even trendy you might say (turmeric latte?), but for good reason. This ancient spice is full of antioxidants that are highly recognized for their anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to the healing properties of turmeric, this soup is full of protein-packed lentils, hearty kale and warming spices. The antioxidant-rich turmeric and ginger mingle together with cumin, coriander, sumac and a pinch of cayenne for a little heat. The flavors are rounded out with a squeeze of lemon juice.
If you're feeling under the weather or looking for a way to incorporate more turmeric into your diet, try this turmeric lentil soup. Enjoy!
Benefits of Turmeric
This will be a light overview of a topic I plan on diving into a little deeper soon, but for now I'll keep it brief. Turmeric, the spice that makes up the foundation of curry, has a mild but distinctive slightly bitter taste. It can easily be recognized by its strong golden color (which stains!) and is commonly used as a natural dye. The most common form of turmeric is powder but turmeric is actually a root, similar to ginger, that can be used fresh.
Aside from its culinary uses, turmeric is the powerhouse of spices. It has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years and is one of the most thoroughly researched plants to this day. Turmeric, more specifically curcumin (one of its antioxidant components) has been shown to help improve high cholesterol, high blood pressure, inflammation, diabetes, depression and cancer.
Granted, nature doesn't give us one single miracle substance, but rather they work wonders in synergy with other plant components. In this case black pepper. Studies have shown that piperine, a component of black pepper, greatly enhances the concentration and absorption of curcumin in our bodies. Fat has also been shown to enhance the absorption of turmeric. Luckily, we don't have to go out of our way to incorporate these ingredients when consuming turmeric since both healthy fats and black pepper are typically used in everyday cooking.
While turmeric isn't a cure all, it does have health promoting properties that are reasons to keep this spice as a pantry staple. If you are new to turmeric and not accustomed to its distinct taste, start small and (like with all spices) eventually you'll build an affinity for it, soon being able to start incorporating more at a time.
This recipe takes into consideration cooking the lentils. I have made this with precooked lentils and it significantly cuts back the time to about 10-15 minutes. That being said, the flavors develop over time so the longer it simmers the more flavorful your soup.
If you don’t have coriander or sumac on hand you can simply leave it out and the soup will still taste wonderful. I purchase my sumac (one of my most used spices) from Penzey's but you can also pick some up from a well stocked grocery store or your local Indian food store.
I give you the option to blend half the soup before you add the kale if you want a slightly thick, creamy body. I love the soup either way but taking the extra step to blend it adds an extra touch of coziness.
Turmeric Lentil Soup with Kale
If you don't have coriander or sumac on hand, simply leave them out. For an extra flavor boost, serve with a handful of cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Blending half the soup is optional but recommended. It gives it a thicker, creamier body.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 4 large cloves)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed and sorted
1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon sumac
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, to taste)
2 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cup loosely packed chopped kale
1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
squeeze of fresh lemon
Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Warm the olive oil and add the onions, carrots, celery, salt and pepper. Sauté until soften and onions start to become translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the lentils and spices, stirring for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 30 minutes, until lentils are soft. Using and high-speed blender (or immersion blender) puree about four cups of soup (or half the liquid). Make sure to hold the top of the blender with a towel to block the steam. Pour the soup back into the pot/dutch oven and stir.
Add kale and lemon juice and let simmer until kale has softened, about 5-10 min. Taste to season with additional salt and pepper. Serve with an extra squeeze of lemon and fresh cilantro.
The soup can be store in an air tight container for up to a week.
P.S. These Heathered Napkins from Beautiful Ingredient are composed of recycled hemp and organic cotton and come in a wide variety of natural colors. I choose the heather grey with sky blue stitching around the edges but plan on stocking up on all the colors, not just for props but everyday use. If you are interested in beautiful yet practical cloth napkins, visit the Beautiful Ingredient or Food52.
I was given this Heathered Napkin by the most gracious Kari of Beautiful Ingredient. As always, all opinions are my own and I truly love this product and plan on continuing to support her eco-friendly company.
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