Lentil, Zucchini and Mint Soup
gluten free || dairy free || sugar free || grain free
Plunging into a world of less meat
A wise lady once told me that the key to a good
night’s sleep is a small, meat-free dinner
Meanwhile, western civilisation has evolved to ‘Live to Eat’, rather than to ‘Eat to Live’, so when someone (with serious health-cred!) tells you to eat less meat and preferably no meat after lunch, then your culturally established world of meat-centred-meals is immediately turned upside down.
In fact, when a vegan friend once suggested that I try going vegan for a week, I told her I would more than likely die. It was an impossible idea. However, with the valued support of a wonderful husband who shares my wellbeing goals, we subsequently took the plunge into the world of ‘Meat-Free-Mondays’, just to see what would happen.
What happened, after reducing meat to once a day and less often in the evenings, is that we did find ourselves sleeping better, feeling a little lighter not to mention having more money at the end of the week because the price of organic lentils and organic beef just doesn’t compare!
Disclaimer: Please note that in no way do I support or promote diets exclusive of meat or animal organs which are essential sources of amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins, many of which cannot be obtained from a solely plant based diet. This purpose of this post, however, is to encourage balance. In my situation: Where I was eating red meat 2-3 times a day, although teamed with plenty of greens, I still needed to reduce acidity, increase alkalinity and allow my body to rest & repair at night, rather than battle the digestion of heavy meats. These small yet significant changes have resulted in improvement to my overall wellbeing.
The recipe: Lentil, Zucchini and Mint Soup
This is one of several recipes which we have come to love in our house. It’s a perfectly easy and soul-warming winter soup, which has only four ingredients, yet a sophisticated flavour that suggests there must be more to it!
Even though they form the base of most soups, this recipe excludes garlic and onion. This is because they are serious FODMAP offenders, beyond that they can upset the tummies of newborns if you’re a breast-feeding mum too. If, however, you can’t fathom how this recipe can work without these partners in crime, then by all means add them, by sautéing them in fat at the very start.
Omissions aside, the ingredients I have used, however, include French style green lentils, grown in the Wimmera region of Victoria. These little beauties originate from those grown in Puy, France and are renowned for their deep nutty flavour and for holding their shape when cooked. Better yet, they don’t need pre-soaking, but being a stickler for soaking nuts, seeds and legumes, then I still do the pre-soak. Pre-soaking for just several hours will do the trick.
I’ve added finely chopped zucchini to the soup to enhance the green component and boost volume. Zucchini is mild in flavour, but it does well to add bulk and to carry the flavour of the homemade chicken-broth of which no quality soup can do without. The health and flavour benefits of homemade broth really do well to balance this otherwise plant-based meal.
To enhance the flavour and finish the soup, I’ve added freshly picked mint leaves. Mint is renowned for being a great match to both French lentils and zucchini so it was a no-brainer herb of choice in this instance and I’m sure you’ll agree when you taste it.
This recipe will serve a young family of four or two hungry men! It’s also great to serve to babies and toddlers.
Preparation time: 5 minutes plus optional soaking
Cooking time: 20 minutes
- Chopping board and knife
- Large Cast Iron Pot & Wooden Spoon
- Stickblender or similar (optional)
- 1 cup French Style Fine Green Lentils (I used these lentils from: Mount Zero)
- 2 large zucchinis
- 1 litre chicken broth/stock (preferably homemade)
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- Celtic Sea Salt to taste
- To make your Lentil, Zucchini and Mint Soup, firstly chop the zucchinis finely and set aside.
- Rinse your lentils, whether pre-soaked or not and set aside.
- In a large cast iron soup pot, add the chicken broth and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Add the lentils and cook, simmering for 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped zucchini and cook for a further 10 minutes, until both the lentils and zucchini are tender.
- Stir through the handful of finely chopped mint leaves and season with Celtic sea salt.
- If you prefer a smoother consistency, blend with a stick blender or in a blender before serving warm.
Store any leftover Lentil, Zucchini and Mint soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.