Just simple, healthy, and hearty, wholesome ingredients combined together in this green detox soup. Warm and comforting, it will leave you full and satisfied until the next meal.
The snow is back today in Chicago, after a couple of weeks with slightly warmer temperatures. Winter is definitely not over and I kind of like it because it is for me the perfect excuse to eat warm, nourishing, comforting foods. What are your favorite winter meals? I like when they are loaded with hearty ingredients, healthy without looking so. Among them, soups and veggie stews are my favorites.
When I think about it, I feel very lucky that I got introduced to eating healthy very early in my life so it became natural to me. I love plant-based meals and have always had, which makes me crave for this kind of foods on a regular basis when others would crave for pizzas or burgers. I am not saying I don’t crave from these foods from time to time either, but I know that I need my veggies on a regular basis in order to feel good from the inside. It’s like vital to me. So yes, food education is key, guys!
Thing is, as a food blogger, you need to make food appealing. But let’s be honest here: there are some dishes that are more photogenic than others. With all these recent #eattherainbow and #eatyourgreens hashtags, there is no doubt that with talent, you can make veggies very appealing, playing with bright colors. But for me, the difficult part comes when you have a green-brownish color. Who would ever think it’s appealing, seriously? And yes, I believe we eat with our eyes first, so colors matter to me.
For these obvious reasons, there are some recipes I absolutely love but that I had never shared with you. But this new year is a year of changes; I want to push my boundaries further and going out from my comfort zone. And there you are today, with my first ugly recipe that doesn’t look ugly anymore! Let me explain. Prepared with broccoli and green lentils as main ingredients, this soup turns into a healthy not very appealing color. However, I styled it in a way that will make you change your mind about it at first sight.
Before I go further here, let’s discuss a little bit about the soup itself and what it is made of. Considered as one of the healthiest foods in the world, broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. These nutrition power houses supply loads of nutrients for few calories. Among others, broccoli is a very good source of dietary fibers, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin B1, etc. Also, a single serving of less than 3 oz/100g of broccoli gives you more vitamin C than you need in a day, which is great to fight the cold in winter and feel energized. I added here one teaspoon of ground spirulina that is a powerful blue-green algae that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. This is totally optional but if you happen to have spirulina at home, try it as it will not impact the taste of your soup but will simply make it even healthier.
I called it “detox” here but I could equally have named it “nourishing” or simply “the great healthy” soup, as it is much more than a detox soup. Combined with green lentils and chickpeas, this soup becomes a wholesome, nourishing dish that brings you extra fibers and leave you full until the next meal, which is in my opinion the best way to cut the unhealthy snack cravings we can have in between two meals.
Lentils are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But this is far from all lentils have to offer. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of seven important minerals, our B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat.
To make the soup even more tastier, I added some cumin. I used the whole seeds directly, as it helps to release all the flavors, and added a little bit of ground cumin at the end to adjust the taste. When it comes to the thickness of the soup, you can play with it a little, adding more water if desired, especially the next days, as it thickens with time.
My serving suggestion is to top with some fresh greens (mâche salad or sweet pea for instance) and a few additional seeds: sunflower or pumpkin seeds would be perfect.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ Tbsp cumin seeds
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 17 oz (500g) broccoli
- 3-4 cups water
- 2 cups (300g) uncooked green lentils
- 1 can (15 oz/425g) chickpeas, drained
- ½ lemon, juice
- 1 tsp ground spirulina (optional)
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- In a large pot, melt the onions in olive oil until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add cumin seeds and stir until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add in the broccoli to the pot and cover with 3-4 cups water. Cook until fork tender.
- In the meantime, cook the lentils according to package instructions in a separate saucepan. Drain.
- When broccoli is fork tender, add in the lentils, chickpeas, and mix until smooth, using a stand mixer. Add more water if needed.
- Stir in the lemon juice, spirulina (if using), ground cumin, and adjust seasoning as needed.