Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup Recipe

There is always a lot of debate around eating well and affordability.

Often nourishing food may require more shopping around and it can take a little more time to prepare, but it doesn’t have to cost more.

Make the most of dried herbs and spices to add interesting flavours to meals and you could even try growing fresh herbs on the windowsill or in the garden. This chickpea and lentil soup is warming, filling, tasty and nourishing and costs very little to make.

Here are why some of the ingredients used are beneficial:

Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of the anti-ageing antioxidant lycopene. To make the most of the lycopene available in tomatoes, they are best cooked. I also recommend buying tomatoes in a glass jar as the acidity can eat into the aluminium tin.

This is also the view of Terry Wahls, who wrote the famous Wahls Protocol after curing herself of MS. You can reuse the glass jar as a vase for flowers or perhaps a homemade chutney.

In recipes, swap brown onions for red onions. Generally, the more intense the colour and flavour of plant foods, the more phytonutrients it has; onions contain quercetin. As well as protecting against heart disease and cancer, quercetin may help to reduce allergy symptoms by reducing allergic reactions.

Turmeric is a very popular spice for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Medicinally, it is now being successfully used in the treatment of depression. If you buy organic turmeric, it is almost an orange colour. It has a very earthy flavour.

Ginger is a warming spice that is commonly used in herbal medicine as an anti-inflammatory as well as for digestive issues and circulation. It is a nice addition to meals or as a herbal tea, especially in winter.

You can make your own beef, lamb or chicken stock following a roast meal.

Stock is simmered for a short period of time (slow cooked between 3 and 4 hours) with the skins of carrots, tops off celery etc and is a great way to flavour food.

Stock may yield a small amount of gelatin, depending on the bones used. Gelatin is great for the health of your gut wall as well as joints.

Adding a splash of apple cider vinegar to your stock (or broth, which is cooked for around 24 hours) will help to draw out some of the nutrients in the bones.

Once you have finished cooking your stock, you should be able to lift out the bones. This also freezes well for later use. Vegetable stock is also perfect with this recipe, if preferred.

Sourdough bread can be a good option for bread-lovers. It is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast.

If you are looking for a short series to watch on a cold evening, Cooked by Michael Pollen is a great one on Netflix. His four episodes are about the traditional methods of cooking so in the Air episode, he explores sourdough.

-The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.

-By Deanna Copland

Published in Otago Daily Times

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Moroccan chickpea and lentil soup

Serves 4

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ginger (fresh or dried)
½ tsp cinnamon
500g Dolmio Classic Tomato Pasta Sauce
90g red lentils, soaked as per packet instructions
1 litre vegetable/chicken stock
420g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp chopped coriander
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Heat oil on a low heat in a large pot and add onion. Cook slowly for 10 minutes or until softened and translucent.

Add ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and tomatoes then combine. Stir in the lentils and pour in the stock. Pop the lid on then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Stir in the chickpeas and fresh herbs and season to taste.

Cook for a further 3 minutes.

Serve soup hot, garnished with parsley and coriander and with some fresh sourdough on the side, if desired.

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