As a Personal Trainer, I am constantly reminding people to eat healthy and to make sure to eat enough protein. I can't stress this enough. Over the weekend, as I was giving the typically lecture on the importance of eating good, real food and eating enough protein, one of my clients said, "eating enough protein is hard, because it's so expensive." Well, that is absolutely true and I don't think the price is coming down anytime soon. This is why one of my favourite go-to ingredients when I don't want to break the bank and I still want to eat healthy is lentils. They are packed with a ton of protein and plus, they are so inexpensive.
One of my favourite ways to prepare lentils is in a soup. This soup is hearty and if you use vegetable broth, it becomes totally vegan. There are a few requirements for a dish to shine in my eyes. These requirements are:
- Real ingredients?
- Yields a lot of servings?
- Contains a good amount of protein?
- Are the ingredients inexpensive to purchase?
- Is it a simple recipe to prepare?
- Does it taste GOOD?
This dish checks-off every single one of my requirements, especially the last one.
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes | Serving size: 1 cup
1 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. paprika
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1½ cups red lentils
1 large can diced tomatoes, drained
¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
- Heat 1 tsp. olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan.
- Add the onion and let cook for 5 minutes until soft.
- Add the garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook until soft and lightly browned, another 2-3 minutes.
- Before adding the lentils, please make sure to rinse them well if dry.
- Add the cumin, turmeric, paprika and salt/pepper and stir until fragrant.
- Add the chicken or vegetable broth, lentils, and canned tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and cook for 20 minutes and cook until lentils are tender.
- Remove from heat and puree ½ of the soup using either a blender or immersion blender.
- Garnish with a little Tex Mex cheese and chopped cilantro.
- Season to taste with salt/pepper if needed and serve.
- Leftovers: Divide the soup into different airtight containers and use it for lunch the next day.