I know, I am late to the game. Everyone has been talking about about Heidi Swanson's new book for weeks now, and so it is probably old news. I am sure those of you who were savvy enough to buy her book hot off the press have made a dozen or so recipes from it so far and have bookmarked even more. Me? I have about ten or eleven little neon pink and yellow tabs sticking out of the pages of my copy, but yet, I have only made one single recipe - her Green Lentil Soup.
Super Natural Every Day:
Well-loved Recipes from my Natural Foods Kitchen
By Heidi Swanson
See here is what happens... I keep flipping through the book, my mouth watering with the turn of each beautiful page and my mind swirling with ideas as I am inspired by Heidi's natural pantry.
But then I flip to the page with the bright green lentil soup.
And I remember how much I loved it. How it was sooooo good. How I had fragrant, satisfying soup without so much as lifting a finger.
And then I make it again.
And oh my friend is coming over? I think she would like this soup, I suppose I can make it again.
Yeah I have made it four times. Although I haven't quite revealed this part of my personality to you before, I can tell you with certainty - when I find something that works, I stick with it. And this recipe works.
Green lentils in the back, green split peas in the front.
Let me tell you why I think this recipe is my new favorite.
First off, it has lentils which are super healthy - they are rich in fiber, high in iron and protein, and and also a plant chemical called lignan, which I just read might lower the risk of breast caner and fight PMS. Pretty cool ladies. Also, I know this recipe works with green lentils and green split peas, and one of my friends just tried it with regular brown lentils - it works with them all.
My new-found love: Coconut oil.
Second, I am loving this recipe because it uses coconut oil. I don't know if this is also a place where I am late to the game, but I had never tried coconut oil before this I tried this recipe, and I can say I was totally missing out. I really feel like the world shifted a little bit when I decided to give coconut oil a try. The fragrance when you cook with it is transcending, and it gives an awesome nutty flavor to sauteed vegetables. In this recipe, it reinforces the flavor of the coconut milk.
Sweet onions from the farmers market.
Third, (yes the list is going on) I love this recipe because it is from Heidi and she rocks. She somehow managed to make natural foods and eating locally completely cool, and she has written two cookbooks with recipes that are truly solid and also innovative, which is often a hard combination to come by. The recipes I have tried from her previous book are great, and this one recipe from Super Natural Every Day is clearly a winner. (I will update on her other recipes as soon as I move away from my stubborn obsession with this soup.)
Purple basil and diced feta are my go-to toppings, though Heidi suggests curried browned butter.
And last but not least, I adore this soup because it is easy. Actually I cheated the recipe to make it easier - Heidi's original recipe has this awesome curried brown butter that she uses for topping. You are supposed to make that while the soup is simmering, but mostly, after a long day at work, I just want to put my feet up. (Hey, just being honest here.) So in lieu of curried browned butter, I just threw the curry powder right into the soup, and I honestly don't miss the butter at all.
Instead, I topped the soup with some diced fresh feta cheese, which I don't mind saying was a genius move on my part. The feta melts just ever so slightly from the warmth, giving it a lovely soft texture that makes the soup just that much more interesting. I also topped it with purple basil that is spicy and fragrant and compliments the soup fantastically. (Just fyi, since we all know I love cilantro, I tried using that as a garnish here too. Not a fan.)
So if it isn't obvious already, this soup is on regular rotation in my kitchen. I know, you probably think it is summer and soup is soooo last winter, but if you have seen my recent posts you know I don't care about that. I care about eating well. If you care about eating well too, then you should make sure you have Super Natural Every Day, and you should also make this soup. It is spicy, and complex, and satisfying, and I love the smooth texture.
Oh, and please try the coconut oil. You won't be sorry.
You might also like: Cauliflower Soup with Seared Scallops
One Year ago: White Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Pots
Curried Green Lentil Soup
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen, by Heidi Swanson
I adapted this recipe in a few ways - I decided to omit a curried browned butter drizzle, and instead added the curry powder directly to the soup. Instead, for a topping I used diced feta and purple basil and I love it. I also added more red pepper flakes for extra heat (the original recipe only called for 1/2 teaspoon). Lastly, Heidi says you can saute your onions in coconut oil, butter, or ghee, so take your pick - but I would highly recommend the coconut oil.
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp quality curry powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 large sweet onion, diced
5 1/2 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups green lentils, or green split peas, picked over* and rinsed
1/2 cup coconut milk (light coconut milk works fine)
1/2 tsp salt
Diced feta and chopped purple basil for garnish
Heat coconut oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat, then add curry powder, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, and diced onion. Saute for about 3-4 minutes, or until onion is just soft, then add broth and lentils. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for between 20 and 50 minutes (or until lentils are tender, mine typically take about 30 minutes). Once the lentils are finished cooking, remove them from the heat and stir in the coconut milk and salt. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or regular blender (in batches if using regular blender) until it is as smooth or as chunky as you prefer. Serve immediately, garnished with diced feta cheese and chopped purple basil.
*To 'pick over' lentils, look over them and remove any that are excessively darkened in color or shriveled.