It's Meatless Monday and I don't think I've posted a meat free recipe on a Monday before now, but I do eat a lot of vegetarian meals. I only really eat chicken, turkey, fish and seafood. As an ex-vegetarian, I do still love my meat free meals and totally believe in the power of fruits and veggies, which make up the bulk of my meals. You don't need meat to make a dish delicious, some of the best meals I've made are vegetarian and vegan.
I don't think I've spoke much about this on the blog, but I introduced chicken back into my diet when I was craving it when my migraines were really bad last year (I was having them every month for up to 10 to 14 days at time). I found eating a little chicken (which I try and make sure is free range or organic) helps to keep my headaches at bay.
I introduced fish back into my diet both for my migraines and my eczema, the omega-3 fatty acids can prevent the headaches and keep my skin nice and smooth and reduce dryness. Flaxseed and chia seeds are also great for this, which is why I add them to my smoothies and oats.
I've found for me a diet with a mixture of fish, poultry and vegetarian meals works best for me. I still believe that you can have an incredibly healthy diet that has no meat or fish in it, and if my immune system was better, I would still be vegetarian, which is why when my health is on good form, I try and make sure the majority of my meals are meatless.
It makes a really substantial meal for two in the for a cold and dark autumn evening to keep your tummy warm and full or works well as a lighter lunch for four.
I love tons of cracked black pepper sprinkled onto my soup, which you can probably see from the little black flecks. I've never been a big salt fan, my mum never added salt to my meals when I was a baby, so I don't have taste for it, which works in favour of my health. Give me the black pepper shaker over the salt any day.
If you have children, or in my case a partner, who isn't a big vegetable fan, or a of pulses and lentils for that matter, then blending them up in a creamy steaming bowl soup can be away of getting them to eat them.
James loves carrots but doesn't like beans or lentils, but he loved this soup. I gave him his bowl and went back into the kitchen to get mine, when I came back into the room, he looked at me with a wide smile and said 'This is really good'. Next on the cards is getting him to try and eat some greens hidden in a tasty soup.
The soup is delicious both on it's own or with a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt on top. If you want to keep it vegan you could forgo the yogurt or use soya or coconut yogurt instead, whipped coconut milk would also work great.
Spiced carrot and red lentil soup
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Keywords: soup/stew lunch dinner vegan vegetarian carrots fall winter
(Serves 2 - 4)
- 4 large carrots
- 1 cup red lentils, uncooked
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsps cumin seeds
- 2 tsps smoked paprika
- 3 garlic cloves
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3 cups hot vegetable stock
- Pink Himalyan salt (or sea salt) to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Chop the onion and garlic (or mince), peel and chop the carrots on a medium heat.
- Heat the oil in pan, and once heated, at add the chopped onion and garlic and cup for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle on the cumin and parika and mix in. Then add the chopped carrot and cook for a further couple of minutes.
- Add the uncooked lentils, and mix in so they get the flavour of the spices. Keep stirring, so they don't catch and burn. Pour in the hot stock,add the small leaves of the fresh thyme and simmer away for about 25 minutes.
- Keep stiring every now again to make sure the lentils aren't catching, add a little boiling hot water and turn the heat down if they are.
- When the carrots are soft and the lentils plump and soft, season with salt (I used pink Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper and blend in blender/food processor/hand blender