This soup is one of my favorites! It is a perfect blend of carbohydrates, proteins, and fibers from lentils, the goodness of quinoa as a rich source of proteins, fibers, and fats; iron from spinach, protein from chicken(optional) or even veggies such as broccoli.
Although each of the ingredients listed here deserves a separate blog post on their health benefits, I will keep it simple here and focus on the recipe first!
To spice up the affair, you may add cumin and cinnamon powder or keep it simple with Italian seasoning or oregano (fresh or dry).
You may eat this for lunch since that is the time you should be consuming carbohydrates or even a post-workout dinner! Although, I personally do not prefer any carb. intake at dinner time, this soup only has a minimal amount which can be compensated for a post-workout dinner.
Ingredients (serves = 2):
- Lentils (1/2 a cup – soaked overnight; use a pressure cooker if not!)
- Chicken (optional) (250 gms or 1/2 a pound)
- Fresh spinach leaves
- Fresh Kale leaves(optional)
- Brocolli (100 gms or 1/4 a pound)
- Fresh Roma tomatoes (1 medium-size chopped/diced)
- Quinoa (100 gms or 1/2 a cup)
- Low sodium vegetable/chicken broth (2 & 1/2 cups)
- Black pepper (a pinch)
- Thyme (dried – 1/4 a teaspoon/ 1 fresh leaflet)
- Cumin powder (add if you like spices – 1/4 a teaspoon)
- Cinnamon powder (add if you like spices – only a pinch, as too much cinnamon can spoil the taste)
- Italian seasoning/Oregano (add if you don’t like spices – 1/5th of a spoon)
- Fresh garlic – diced (only one clove – if using a larger one;2 if small)
- Canola oil (one teaspoon)
- Salt to taste (makes an interesting future blog topic!)
- On a non-stick skillet/pan add some canola oil and add the diced garlic to it.
- Add the diced tomatoes and fry only for like a minute on high heat.
- Add chopped broccoli/chicken (or both) to it and fry until the chicken becomes softer and turns pale white from its raw buff pink color.
- Add black pepper, cumin & cinnamon or black pepper, Italian seasoning/Oregano, and Thyme.
- Finally, add your greens ( spinach and kale ) and saute for an only a minute.
- Add lentils and quinoa.
- Add salt to taste.
- Add vegetable/chicken broth and cook covered (30-35 minutes) or in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes. If you soaked the lentils overnight, then you need only 10 minutes in a cooker or 20 minutes covered.
Pro-tip: If you want the tomato to be crunchy and floating in your soup, don’t cook it along with the soup! Instead, sprinkle some thyme and black pepper on ripe halved tomatoes and roast them at 400 F for 10 minutes and add to the cooked soup!