I have been quite a busy bee with all the holiday planning- on top of everything else, that is! Work has been keeping me quite busy as well and Lily's sleeping habits are being weird again (as in, THE CHILD WON'T GO TO BED!). Yet, somehow I managed to find time to write you this quick meatless monday recipe for a delicious red lentil curry á la Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby.
Red Lentil Curry Soup
1 1/2 cups red lentils
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
3 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup mixed grains
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
First, rinse the lentils under cold running water repeatedly until the water is no longer murky and gross looking. This may take a while, but it is worth it; otherwise, it could make you gassier than normal and also make the soup look like the picture below (ick). Plus, rinsing them increases the lentils size and soluble fiber content.
If the soup does get a little murky, it' not a big deal; it will still taste the same, but just look a little less appetizing and likely give you...gas. You've been warned!
Moving on...after the lentils have been rinsed, set them aside. In a medium pot, cook the grains according to package; when I made this, I used a combination of red wheat, oat groats, triticale berries, barley, rye berries, white wheat, and rye berries. This combo added an interesting chewiness to the soup, and it was good! I had some I'd previously cooked the other night and just threw it in to the pot. You can use any type of grain or grains you want, or you don't even have to- but I highly recommend it.You can also add more than half a cup if you want extra whole grain power.
In a separate large pot, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Once they are browned and fragrant, add the broth and water and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and carrots and boil for about 3 minutes, then reduce heat to a high simmer. Add all other ingredients, adjusting to taste as needed. Once carrots and lentils are softened, heat over a low simmer for about 10 more minutes, enough to ensure the flavors meld together nicely. I enjoyed this soup with slices of fresh pineapple, providing a pleasing sweet and spicy flavor combo. This would also work well served over rice or couscous, or with some whole grain bread and cheese.
I found this soup tasted even better the day after I cooked it when I had leftovers for lunch, making this a great "make ahead" meal. You could even easily make this in a crock pot if that's your style, and if you do, let me know how it goes!
After 6 months, babies can eat beans like lentils, and what a wonderful food to get introduced to! Not only are they yummy, but quite versatile, and few children will turn their noses up at them if prepared right. I remember when I was a kid at my baby-sitter's house and she would make lentil soup during cold weather. It was out of a can, if I remember correctly, but I enjoyed it anyway as it filled my little belly right up to satisfaction.
Babies can enjoy lentils cooked until very soft, and red are even preferred since they are smaller and cause less intestinal discomfort for new digestive systems. A proper portion for a 6-9 month old would be 1-2 tablespoons. You can mix in some peas and carrots too if you like. Toddler can enjoy them just the same, or give them this soup recipe to try and don't be surprised if they like it too! Lily sure did! Sprinkle a little cheese on top for picky eaters.
|Lily dug it!|
It's a known fact that whole grains are waaay better for you than white grains, but how often do you use the other grains I added to this soup? I know I'm guilty of rarely using any of them, and let's face it, we all know why- they don't really taste good! Why do you think I had enough left over to add to this soup? But, this is why I'm here- to help you find recipes that work well with healthy foods you may not normally like to eat because they just make you feel like you're eating cardboard. Throwing some in soups and breads is a great and simple way to add more whole grains to your diet, though.
One of the grains I mentioned is definitely not a leader in the "most popular" category when it comes to planning meals, and that's barley. Barley is SUPER good for you though! It's not only loaded with fiber, but also selenium, copper and manganese to name a few, which are all rich minerals that can help lower your risk of diabetes, prevent gallstones, reduce your risk for breast cancer, and reduce high blood pressure. If this doesn't get you wanting to add barley to your diet, click here to look at some delicious-sounding recipes that include this amazing grain (gotta love allrecipes.com!).