After a recent visit to the doctor, my husband Phil found out that his cholesterol is creeping up and could stand to be improved. Phil exercises regularly and is what I would consider a very healthy eater, except for his occasional chocolate chip cookie or ice cream binge. So I decided to take a good look at what I’ve been cooking to see if there were any red flags.
I cook often and always health-consciously, but I tend to make a lot of dinners centering around chicken and turkey. Sound familiar? It seems to be everyone’s dinner go-to. I also tend to regularly buy sliced organic deli turkey for lunches. White meat chicken and turkey are excellent low-fat, high protein choices, and certainly a better choice than red meat.
However it is important to note that CHOLESTEROL is ONLY FOUND in animal foods. Plant-based foods contain ZERO CHOLESTEROL. So I decided it was time to free my reliance on fowl! I needed to make more vegetarian meals. Instead of cooking one vegetarian meal per week and relying on poultry for my dinner staples, I have begun to switch that around and make more plant-based meals and less animal-based meals each week.
Our vegetarian dinner routine began with this delicious Lentil Soup. Lentil soup is a simple, satisfying cornerstone of a meal filled with protein and fiber. Add a salad and some whole grain bread and you have a perfect dinner. And let me quell your concerns: A plant-based meal WILL satiate you because it is the fiber found in vegetables and whole grains that fill up our stomachs more than the protein or fat found in animal foods.
So whether you’re trying to lower your cholesterol or you just want to enjoy a satisfying bowl of hot yummy soup, give this recipe a try!
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 carrots diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 16 oz. dried red lentils use the red lentils so the soup will have a creamy consistency
- 8 cups low-sodium vegetable stock I love Saffron Road brand
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- 4 handfuls fresh spinach leaves
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring.
Add the chopped garlic, turmeric and cumin and cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
Stir in the lentils and the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook covered on low for about 30 minutes.
After cooking for 30 minutes, add parsley, spinach, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir until spinach is wilted. Serve and enjoy!