So, I'm a huge fan of freezer meals. I mean, a girl's gotta eat, and with a busy practice, bustling hospital job, and small ones at home to contend with; getting a meal on the table is a miracle. So, I've been doing Dinner Delights Freezer Meal Parties with Andrea Love off and on for years. I asked her recently if she'd be willing to share a recipe from one of my very favorite freezer meals, and she said yes! This soup is simple, subtle, filling, and delicious. From an Ayurvedic standpoint, it's great for the gut, and with very subtle changes can be suitable for any dosha type. Make it fresh (to get the most prana) or enjoy it as a freezer meal option. Here's what Andrea had to say about this recipe:
"Soup is the best food ever. I love to experiment with different flavors and combos. My favorites are thick, creamy soups. I am not a big broth soup fan. Lentils are a great base for a thick, creamy soup. I wanted more lentils in my life but had not cooked with them much. I decided to find some recipes to try and experiment with, until this recipe was born. It was so good. My kids even loved it!"
Golden Coconut Lentil Soup
Recipe by Andrea Love, Adapted from BudgetBytes
1 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger (about 1 Tbsp grated)
1/2 Tbsp ground turmeric
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 lb red or yellow lentils (about 1 cup)
4 cups water
13.5 oz can coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp salt (or to taste)
1 cup Jasmine rice
1/3 cup large, unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 bunch cilantro
Add the coconut oil or ghee to a large pot. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate or mince the ginger. Sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger in the oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are soft and transparent. While the onions, garlic, and ginger are sautéing, peel and slice the carrots.
Add the turmeric and red pepper to the pot and sauté for a minute more. Add the carrots to the pot, sauté for a minute more, then add the lentils and water. Place a lid on the pot, bring it up to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
If using the coconut flake topping, toast the coconut flakes while the soup simmers. Add the coconut flakes to a dry skillet and place it over medium-low heat. Stir continuously as the flakes heat until they are about 50% golden brown (1-3 minutes). Remove the flakes from the hot skillet immediately to stop the toasting process.
After 20 minutes the lentils should be soft and broken down. Stir the coconut milk into the soup. Use an immersion blender or carefully blend the warm soup in small batches until about half of the soup is puréed. This step is completely optional, the lentils breakdown quite nicely on their own. Once blended, begin adding salt, 1/2 tsp at a time, until the soup is properly seasoned. I used 1.5 tsp or 1/2 Tbsp of salt. Also adjust the red pepper flakes, if desired.
To serve the soup, ladle about 1.5 cups into a bowl and top with 1/2 cup cooked rice, some fresh cilantro leaves, and a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes.
This soup is so comforting. And is easy on the gut, and the wallet. I encourage you to give it a try! At Sacred Health, we host a monthly Vegan Freezer Meal Workshop. You can check out our Events Page to see when the next one is!
If you want to know more about Andrea's journey from being a lawyer to being a chef, be sure to check out her NPR Storytellers Feature!