Happiest new year to everyone! Hope you are staying warm and happy and healthy and are ready to enjoy everything 2014 brings…. I have some pretty big ventures planned this year so I sure am :]
I know I didn’t post any holiday treats this season, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t indulging in them the whole month of december (see christmas cookies below….)
After a pretty rough diet around the holidays, I can feel my body craving fruits and vegetables in their simplest, whole form and I always feel inspired to start out the new year with clean, energizing whole foods.
So to start off with something warm and comforting in the bitter winter weather, I bring you this ‘very green lentil soup‘. It is not the most beautiful soup out there, but I can promise it will make you feel beautiful and refreshed after all the holiday indulging. Like a holiday hangover cure.
You can mix up the veggies to your liking, swap another legume for the lentils, or throw in some diced tofu (which I will be doing next time). Any way you do it, your body and digestive system will thank you for the refueling of whole-food nutrients and vitamins.
New Year Green Soup, adapted from here
- 1 T avocado or olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 ¼ t salt, divided
- 2 T + 4 cups water, divided
- 1 cup French green (Le Puy) or brown lentils (I used ½ cup sprouted green lentils + ½ cup French green lentils)
- 1 medium sweet potato or yukon gold potato, scrubbed + cut into ½ in dice
- 10 cups gently packed spinach (~8 ounces)
- 4 scallions, cut into 1-in pieces
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups chopped broccoli
- 1 T cumin seeds, lightly toasted + ground (or 1 T ground cumin)
- ½ t ground coriander
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 T chopped fresh mint (optional)
- ½ jalapeno pepper, mined (optional)
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 T fresh lemon juice
- crumbled feta for garnish
- *optional addition: 1/2 block firm tofu, diced
Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 t salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 min. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 T water and cover. Cook, stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 20-30 min.
Meanwhile, rinse lentils and pick out any small stones; combine the lentils with the remaining 4 cups water in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 15 min. Chop spinach if leaves are large; set aside.
When the lentils have cooked for 15 min, stir in the sweet potato, scallions, broth and the remaining 1 t salt; return to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 15 min.
Stir in the broccoli, cumin, coriander, and tofu if using. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the soup. Return to a simmer, cover and cook 5 min more. Stir in the spinach, cilantro, mint, jalapeño and pepper; return to a simmer, cover and cook until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 min more. Stir in 1 T lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or pepper, if desired. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil and crumbled feta cheese. Serves 8.
How else am I cleansing my body after the holiday season? Drinking lots of herbal tea, laying off the bread & butter, meat and processed foods, and easing away from the sugar – probably the most difficult part for me! Oh, and trying my hardest to keep up the motivation to exercise, despite the frozen temperatures outside. I’d much rather be exercising out there (running, hiking, kayaking, yoga… oh summer how I miss youu) but in this weather, the gym is keeping me sane!
Here’s to another beautiful, joyful year full of good health, love, laughter and ADVENTURE!