Kale Quinoa Soup
This soup is an adaptation of a recipe I found in Outside Magazine. It's a go-to favorite because it's easy to make, only requires one pot and is a high-protein vegetarian option. It makes a TON and the leftovers make excellent lunches! We like to make it on Saturday or Sunday because it's a quick, easy weekend meal and then I take it to school for lunch for the rest of the week. I like it especially for lunches because it's light but has a good amount of protein so I stay full all afternoon. Goes great with Almond Corn Bread also.
1 1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup lentils (red or green)
1 tablespoon + olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic
4-6 large carrots, chopped
4-6 sticks of celery, chopped
1 head kale (any kind works)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
1 tablespoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Sprinkle cayenne pepper
6 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make this a vegan/vegetarian dish)
Water to cover
Salt to taste
Roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) as garnish
Optional: soak the quinoa and lentils overnight. Put them in a jar, fill the jar with water and add a little over a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. This helps break down the phytic acid which is an enzyme inhibitor that coats grains and legumes. Phytic acid is the amazing stuff that lets you keep grains, nuts and beans in your cabinet for months without them spoiling, but it also makes it harder for your body to digest these foods. Soaking them doesn't change the way they cook, it just changes the way your body processes them and increases your nutrient absorption.
Add olive oil to the bottom of a large stockpot and bring up heat slowly
Add diced onion and garlic to the oil when the oil is hot enough for them to sizzle
Cook, stirring occasionally until onions begin to turn translucent
While onion and garlic cook, wash and chop carrots, celery and kale
When onions are cooked, add the chicken broth
Drain and rinse the quinoa and lentils and add them to the liquid
Add water until the water is about 2x the depth of the grains and lentils
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer
Add spices and cover. Let simmer for 30 minutes.
At 30 minutes add the kale and cook another 10 minutes
For a thicker soup, eat as is. For a soupier soup, add a little more water and enjoy
Serve in bowls and add pepitas on top and Almond Flour Corn Bread on the side
Add potatoes for a fun, hearty winter variation
Experiment with the kind of kale you use (red kale adds a nice color, lacinato kale holds its texture in soup, find your favorite
Goodies in this recipe
Quinoa- First off, quinoa is a seed, not a grain so for people with grain intolerances, quinoa is a great option. Unlike rice, quinoa is considered a complete protein meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids your body needs.
Lentils-Lentils are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. That means they clean out your intestine and help lower cholesterol. They are also high in protein so combined with the quinoa in this recipe you are getting more protein than if you ate a 6-8 oz. steak. They are a metabolism stabilizer which means they give your body lots of energy while maintaining an even level of blood sugar which is why this recipe makes an incredible lunch--it keeps you full and there is no energy crash later in the afternoon. Both lentils and quinoa are packed with nutrients including iron, vitamin, potassium. The combination gets you 30-50% of your daily requirement of most of the trace minerals your body needs to function.
Curry Powder (Turmeric)-Turmeric is the spice that makes curry powder yellow and it is INCREDIBLE stuff! It has so many healing properties that it is currently a hot topic for medical researchers and the number of peer-reviewed studies is well into the thousands. To name of few, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and has proven effects in reducing arthritis and speeding healing. It is a fierce cancer fighter/prevention, it helps balance blood sugar and has been proven to dramatically help people with diabetes. It is highly effective in healing and balancing your gut and it is a hormone balancer. Black pepper has been shown to increase its effectiveness, so put some pepper in your soup!
Cayenne Pepper- This stuff reduces the acidity in your body (a very good thing). It speeds your metabolism, increases circulation and has been shown to reduce menstrual cramps. It does a lot more but those are my top three favorites!