For many Americans, meat is the cornerstone of the meal. Yet meat can be costly, and studies show that consuming less of it is a wise health choice. One way to eat less meat overall is to reduce the portion size of your protein to 3 ounces (for beef, chicken, or fish, that’s about the size of a deck of cards). But another great practice is to go completely meatless for a meal or two each week.
There’s more art to a meatless meal than just subtracting the meat from your plate. By using other protein sources, such as beans, it’s possible to craft exciting vegetarian meals that are both filling and nutritious. So we’re offering this ‘March Meatless’ challenge, with a savory soup. This dish is centered on lentils, which are a terrific source of protein with almost no accompanying fat. And the soup relies on spice rather than salt for its flavor, so it’s friendly to low-sodium diets for better heart health.
Green Lentil Soup
Servings: 4 | Time: about 1 hour
1 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, divided
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
3 1/2 cup water
1 cup green lentils
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or saucepan on medium-high.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes.
- Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for another 3 minutes.
- Add the cumin and curry powder and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add the water, lentils, red pepper flakes, and salt.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are just cooked (about 30 minutes).
- Ladle into bowls and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories: 217; Fat: 2g; Saturated fat: <1g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 338 mg; Carbohydrates: 37 g; Total sugars: 5 g; Dietary fiber: 17 g; Protein: 12 g.
- One serving should be about 1 1/2 to 2 cups.
- The recipe can be cut in half to make less, or doubled, tripled, etc. to make more. Ensure that you multiply — or divide — each ingredient by the same amount for proper proportion.
- Lentils come in different varieties (e.g. green, yellow, red, and brown), with slight differences among them in size, texture, flavor, and cooking time. You can experiment with other varieties for different consistencies and tastes, but be mindful that they may cook faster or slower than the recipe instructions. Properly cooked lentils should be tender, but not mushy.
- If the spiciness of curry and red pepper flakes is more than you can handle, the spice mixture garam masala offers a different cocktail of flavors without chili heat. As with curry powder, garam masala can be found in the grocery store with the other spices.
- Non-vegetarians can try substituting low-sodium chicken broth for water. Be advised that this substitution will raise the overall calorie count and salt content, but not by much.
- Rather than adding salt at the table, try seasoning with black pepper to suit your taste.
- Refrigerate leftovers and enjoy within 5 days — as with other soups and stews, this recipe tastes even better the next day!
Healthy recipes can make a positive difference for anyone, but if you are looking for ways to better manage heart failure, COPD, or other challenges for yourself or a loved one, it may take more than a balanced diet to manage your health. Residential Home Health offers expert services to help handle numerous cardiopulmonary concerns. Residential’s exclusive Cardiopulmonary Hospital Admit Management Program (CHAMP) incorporates early intervention, daily vital sign monitoring, and health coaching to improve patients’ safety, independence, and quality of life and reduce their risk of returning to the hospital.
To learn more about CHAMP, or our other specialized programs and services, call (888)930-WELL (9355) to speak with a Residential Home Health nurse today — or click here to take our Home Care Assessment.