Sweet Potato, Beet & Lentil Soup
SWEET POTATOES: Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene and have a superior ability to raise our Vitamin A levels in our blood. Adding healthy fat when eating sweet potatoes actually increases your uptake of beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes have powerful anti-inflammatory effects while helping to control blood sugar levels.
BEETS: Beets have a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains, providing anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support, making it a highly likely candidate for the risk reduction of many cancers. Not all dietary fiber is the same and the fiber contained in beets have special health benefits for your digestive tract and cardiovascular system.
LENTILS: Albeit small, lentils are a nutritional powerhouse full of cholesterol lowering fiber, folate and magnesium, both important in heart health. In addition to providing slow-burning complex carbohydrates, lentils also increase energy by replenishing iron stores.
1½ cups French green lentils, rinsed, then soaked overnight (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
1 large leek, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 medium beet, peeled and diced into small 1/2 -in pieces
1 medium sweet potato, diced into small ½-in pieces
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
The night before cooking, place lentils in a small bowl with water to cover and let soak overnight. This is not imperative to the recipe, but will allow the lentils to be more digestible and their nutrients more readily available.
At the time of cooking, in a medium soup pot, heat oil to medium heat. Add in leek and garlic. Sautee for 2 minutes. Then add in your ginger and spices, including coriander, fennel and turmeric. Sautee for another 2 minutes, constantly stirring so the spices do not burn.
Add your stock to the pot, and add in your lentils and your beets. Bring to a boil and then bring down the heat to medium/low.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Add the sweet potato, coconut milk, salt and pepper to the pot and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes and the beet are tender and the lentils are cooked through.
Check seasoning, add more salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.