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Vata season! Time for Soups + Stews

Mediterranean Lentil Soup

This recipe is from The Stop Community Food Centre cookbook Good Food For All: Seasonal Recipes from a Community Garden written by Joshna Maharaj (@Joshnamaharaj). It’s a beautiful cookbook supporting a great organization, so be sure to pick up a copy!

As we move into fall, we enter Vata season. At this time, many of us may feel ungrounded as our bodies adjust to the cooler days and prepare for the slowing of winter. In such times, you may be craving comfort foods. Warm soups and stews with root vegetables can help us feel grounded as the world around us changes.

One of my favourite soups at this time of year is the following version of Mediterranean Lentil Soup. It is similar to red lentil dahl, which is a little thicker, has carrots, cilantro and other veggies to make it a complete dish on its own.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbps vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • Cayenne to taste (optional)
  • 1 2/3 cups of red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 7 cups of vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
  • 5 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly, crosswise
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped (you can use the stems as well as they are full of flavour!)
  • ¼ cup scallion, greens only ( I substituted chives from my garden)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish

Method:

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Saute onion until translucent, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne and stir to combine. Add lentils and stock or water and bring to a boil. Simmer gently, partially covered, fro 15 minutes, occasionally skimming the froth off the top if necessary, until lentils are just less than tender. 
  2. Stir in carrots and red pepper. Simmer another 10 minutes, until carrots are tender. 
  3. Stir in scallion greens, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Serve soup garnished with crumbled feta and cilantro sprigs.
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