Smoky Tomato & Lentil Soup with Harissa
I kick off my first blog post of 2019 by referring back to the least sexy topic on the entire planet – fibre. You know, that thing we all need to keep our bowels regular? I know what you’re thinking “ooooh yes! Tell me more!”. For those of you that regularly follow my recipes, you will already know that I am basically Jenny Fibre. And for those of you that don’t, then let me introduce myself as the gal that tries to cram more fibre into each and every thing I put in my mouth!
And this recipe is no exception - one serving of this hearty and wholesome soup provides a massive 14g of fibre, that’s well over 50% of our recommended daily amount! It also provides 15g of plant-based protein, which is great news if you are following Veganuary or just trying to cut down on your animal-based protein sources in general. Not only that, but this nourishing soup is also a great immune booster as it provides almost a third of my daily Vitamin C requirements. It was quick and easy to make and is so packed with flavour, it barely even needed any seasoning at all. My kids don’t care for the seasonings, so I siphon off small portions for them before adding the smoked paprika and harissa paste to make it a proper taste bomb!
So, now back to fibre - we all know that we need it for a healthy digestive system, but actually it’s role is so very much more important than that. You might have seen in the news yesterday, a major study that was just published in the Lancet medical journal. The data showed a massive 15–30% decrease in mortality when it compared the highest dietary fibre consumers with the lowest consumers. What?! Consuming a high fibre diet makes us statistically less likely to die early?! That’s pretty mind blowing and empowering if you ask me. It also showed a decrease in heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancers. It reported that whilst the risk reduction was associated with a minimum daily intake 25g, it is really anything over 30g that shows the most marked benefits. And a whopping 91% of us don’t eat that much!
Eating a lot of refined carbohydrates, processed foods or following low-carb diets such as the Keto diet, all lead to a low fibre diet. That is one of the many reasons why I have always been incredibly anti low-carb diets.
So if living longer and decreasing your risk of a heart attack, diabetes or cancer isn’t enough to make you reach for the beans, then you might also want to know that increasing your fibre intake has also been shown to:
· Help people maintain a healthy weight (as it increases a feeling of fullness)
· Lower blood pressure.
· Reduce cholesterol levels.
· Help regulate blood sugar.
· Regulate digestion and increase the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract leading to a healthier gut.
· 2 Red Onions
· 1 Leek
· 6 Garlic Cloves
· 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
· 400g Tinned Chopped Tomatoes
· 1L Vegetable Stock
· 45g Cavalo Nero (or Kale)
· 250g Lentil Soup Mix (I used Mr Organics)
· 1½ tsp Olive Oil
· Salt & Fresh Black Pepper
· Optional but recommended - 1 -2 tsp Harissa Paste to taste (I used Belazu Rose Harissa)
· Finely chop the leek and onions.
· Chop the cavalo nero,
· Mince the garlic.
· In a wide based saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the leeks and onions over a medium heat until just starting to brown.
· Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute or two before adding the tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock.
· Thoroughly rinse the lentil soup mix and add that to the saucepan.
· Simmer away until cooked through as per the instructions on the packet (approximately 30-45 minutes depending on what beans/lentils/grains are in the mix).
· Add the chopped cavalo nero and smoked paprika, and season with salt and pepper.
· At the end, add the harissa little by little (1 tsp at a time) until the desired taste is perfected!
· Serve with some seeded wholegrain toast.
· NOTE – if freezing, cool thoroughly before popping in the freezer.
Calories – 310
Protein – 15g
Carbohydrates – 45g
Fat – 5g
Fibre – 14g (56%)
Vitamin C – 29%