For this soup I used red lentils and white basmati rice, but green French lentils would be nice, as would brown rice, quinoa, or millet. About 1/3 cup of each, washed, rinsed and then brought to simmer in 1.5 quarts of water. When it comes to a boil, I transfer it to the crockpot and let it cook on high for about an hour.
Then comes the fun part:
- Bring 2 Tablespoons of organic sesame oil to medium/high heat and then add a dash of brown mustard seeds. When they start to pop, turn the heat down to medium/low.
- Add a "thumb size" amount of fresh ginger root, finely chopped or grated.* Sautée for about 30 seconds.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of red chilie flakes, or more if you like it hot. A dash of hing (asafoetida), or one inch of leek or a garlic scape—finely chopped—are also delicious, nutritious options. Sautée briefly.
- Stir in a heaping Tablespoon of organic peanut butter and blend with the spicy oil.
- Add 2-3 cups of prepped veggies and stir to coat the veggies with the spicy oil mixture.** I love the taste of broccoli in this soup, but zucchini, eggplant, green beans, and/or carrots are also great. (When using eggplant or green beans, add a small amount of water and allow them to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times, before the next step.)
- Transfer the veggies and spice mix to the lentils and grains in the crockpot.
- Stir in one teaspoon of salt and a dash of turmeric.
- Toss in a handful of peanuts and fresh cilantro right before ladling the soup into your thermos.
** A note about fresh vegetables and Community Supported Agriculture
I've seen time-saving suggestions to chop a week's worth of vegetables in advance. However, as soon as veggies are chopped, they begin to lose nutritional value. (Indeed, once they are picked they start to lose value.) Ayurveda recommends chopping vegetables freshly for each meal, but if you're like me, that's not a practical option. So, my compromise it to prep the night before.
Fresh produce has the best nutritional value and flavor. Short of growing your own garden, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms are a great resource for the freshest vegetables. Members pay a subscription fee to a local farm, and during the growing season, receive a steady supply of produce. Although CSA's are winding down for the season in my area, this is a good time to look for one near you. They often offer discounts on early subscriptions for the next season. Joining an organic CSA not only means you can save a bunch of money on high quality food, it also strengthens your local economy, contributes to a healthier environment, and supports the people who are willing to go to all the "trouble" to grow our food! Check out the USDA site about Community Supported Agriculture, click here.
Check out Real Food Wednesdays hosted by kellythekitchenkop.com and cheeseslave.com