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  • Karla Hernandez

Mexican Spicy Lentil Soup

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

In the mood for something warm and healthy? This dish won't leave you feeling sluggish one bit. I've been eating this soup for as long as I can remember and it's safe to say I make it about once per week. It is one hundred percent healthy, high in proteins, vitamins and minerals and low in calories. The best part is its slightly spicy flavor that it gets from the smokey chipotle pepper.


A little about lentils:

These tiny saucer-like legumes are low in calories and high in protein making this soup an excellent recipe for loosing weight and staying healthy. They are rich in iron, folate and polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients that are only available in plant-foods and that can improve digestion, weight management, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, they contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber which in combination with polyphenols help improve cardiovascular disease.



Like all beans, these should be soaked to remove antinutrients that may cause indigestion. However, due to their smaller size, these only need to be soaked for two to four hours compared to larger beans which need up to 24 hours.


What is Chipotle:

Chipotle is a red, dry, smoked jalapeño pepper that you mostly find canned and rehydrated in adobo. Adobo sauce is a puree of tomato, vinegar, garlic and spices that is slightly sweet and tangy. For this recipe, you will only need one chipotle but the rest can be saved in an air tight container and will last for a few months in the fridge. At my house, I usually blend the remaining chipotles and adobo into a sauce to add to other foods like tacos, or to use as a creamy and spicy dip.


Chipotle peppers range from 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville Scale, making them about as spicy as a normal jalapeño or Tabasco sauce.


Veggies:

I stick to carrots, celery, onion and tomatoes in this recipe but one could add zucchini, kale, spinach or any other favorite vegetable of yours to increase the diversity of vitamins and minerals.


How eco-friendly is this recipe?

According to multiple studies done by both private and governmental institutions the lower the amount of animal products in a diet the less water, land and air pollution it creates. However, this recipe is not only vegan, it is also plastic free. Lentils can be bought in the bulk aisle, the veggies can be bough without plastic in most supermarkets, and the chipotle comes in a recyclable can.


This recipe will yield an entire 8 quart pot so, I hope you are hungry, have a large family or make sure to cut the recipe in half.


Alright, here we go!


Ingredients

- 1 lb brown lentils

- 2-3 chopped garlic cloves

- 3/4 chopped onion

- 1 tablespoon salt

- 1 bay leaf

- 6 tomatoes

- 1/4 bunch of cilantro

- 1 canned chipotle pepper

- 3 celery sticks

- 2 carrots

- 1 tablespoon vegetable cooking oil


Preparation

1. In a 4 quart pot boil 7 cups of water. Once boiling, add lentils with 1 -2 garlic, 1/2 tablespoon salt and onion. Allow water to boil again and turn to a simmer for 30-40 minutes or until lentils are cooked. Simmer with lid on.



2. Meanwhile blend the tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, 1 chipotle pepper, 1/2 tablespoon salt and 3 cups of water. Set aside.


3. Chop the celery sticks, and carrots.


4. Add vegetable oil to an 8 quarts pot and allow to heat. Add the chopped celery sticks and carrots. Cook down for 5 minutes on medium high. Add the tomato sauce to the veggie pot and let boil covered, lower heat once boiling to simmer for about 10 minutes.


5. Once the lentils are cooked pour them into the pot with the tomato sauce. In that order, not the other way around.


6. Mix soup, taste, add more salt if desired and serve.


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