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Vegan Lima Bean Lentil Soup Satisfies for Hours
It's generally fair to say that most vegans use the plant-based palette available to them to keep their nutrient levels appropriately topped up. But it's also fair to say that it's pretty easy to fall into a menu rut, sticking with the standard tried-and-true recipes week after week, just because life is hectic and being vegan demands a great deal of time in the kitchen as it is. The risk that the dietary rut represents, besides boredom, is that over time we will unknowingly become deficient in important nutrients. I'm an engineer by training, and I have no right to offer advice about nutrition. But I do like visiting the websites of people who *are* qualified to comment on vegan nutrition and seeing if their advice can help me choose better varieties of plant-based foods to keep my menu interesting and nutritious. This soup recipe came out of one such visit.
The article in question was this post about potassium by The Vegan RD, aka Ginny Messina. The article suggests a list of foods that we might consider alongside our standard cruciferous veggies and grain-based sidedishes, which aren't always as rich in potassium. One of the things that grabbed me was the idea that Ginny always keeps a potassium-rich soup in the fridge, made with beans, spinach and tomatoes (which she calls "three potassium superstars"). I'm not a huge soup person, but I like the idea of a convenient go-to meal that has ingredients that I wouldn't normally choose. The list of potassium-rich foods in Ginny's list is long enough to encourage a whole lot of experimentation.
For this first experiment, I wanted something with a tomato base, with lots of lentils and spinach. I got inspiration from this lovely lentil soup from The Garden Grazer as well as this beauty from Cookie and Kate. What I wound up with is somewhere in between these two, with lima beans thrown in for a little more potassium, and spices that push the overall flavour towards hot and tangy so that I'm not tempted to load it up with salt. It comes together quickly with very little fuss. A bowl of this stuff keeps me satisfied for hours with no hunger pangs. And I find it delicious. This kind of positive reinforcement is what I need to keep experimenting and stay out of the menu rut.
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup dry green (eston) lentils, sorted and rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
28 oz. (800 mL) can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 1/2 cups cooked lima beans (1 small can, drained and rinsed, or equivalent amount of frozen)
140 g (5 oz) baby spinach
1/2 tsp salt
lots of fresh ground pepper
2 Tbl lemon juice
Dice onion and carrot.
In a large pot with a lid, saute onion and carrot in the olive oil for 5-10 minutes over medium heat, stirring often.
Add garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes and paprika. Saute for another minute or so.
Mix in broth, tomatoes and lentils. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1/2 hour (or maybe a little more), until lentils are tender but not disintegrating.
At about the 20 minute mark, add the lima beans.
Add the baby spinach, lemon juice, salt and pepper during last couple minutes of cooking.
Have a nice big bowl full of this for lunch and see if you're not full of energy in the afternoon with reduced snack cravings like I was.
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Posted: Monday, August 22, 2016