Simple Soups Series part 4 | Coconut spinach lentil soup
Welcome to week four of the Simple Soups series. This week I went for a Thai theme (something I’m less used to cooking) and created this refreshing, yet hearty, brown lentil soup with coconut, spinach and lime. I love this soup because it’s full of flavour, filling and has a good balance of carbs, proteins and healthy fats; carbs and proteins being from the lentils and healthy fats from the coconut milk.
I think it’s important, whether you’re vegan or not, to be aware of macro nutrients and find a good balance. I don’t believe in cutting out or having very low amounts of any macro nutrient, as they all play an important part in the body and in being healthy.
I think there’s often a trend for people to eat very low amounts of carbs, but in all honestly, I think carbs get a bad rep. It’s true that refined carbs (i.e. white flour and white sugar) lack fibre and therefore their sugar is released into the blood stream more quickly, causing a blood sugar spike, then a crash. This crash is what slows the metabolism; the body goes into starvation mode, and therefore stores as many calories as it can as fat. However, non refined carbs, like brown rice, fruit and potatoes, have fibre and also phytonutrients (in fruit), which slow the release of sugar into the blood stream, meaning we avoid the blood sugar spike, and more importantly in terms of weight loss/gain, the sugar crash. Healthy carbs with fibre are more likely to just give you some good energy rather than actually make you gain weight.
Similarly with fats, there’s no need to go on an ultra low fat diet. I try to include a little bit of healthy fat in every meal and most of my healthy fats I get from things such as avocados, nuts, tahini and nut butters. Fats are important because there are certain nutrients (vitamin A, E, D and K) which are fat soluble, meaning they can only be absorbed by the body if eaten with a little bit of fat. Bear in mind this doesn’t have to be a lot, ½ an avocado with a meal should suffice. I also believe these healthy fats are best coming from whole foods rather than oil, which is refined and very high in calorie for the amount of nutrients and energy it offers. Although of course balance is every thing; I tend to not use oil when I cook, but if I go to a friends house or a restaurant for a meal, I don’t think twice about the oil because, frankly, life is too short.
At the bottom are references for this information I gave in this blog post. I’m not a nutritionist this is just what I believe to be right and what works for me! Hope you all enjoy the recipe x
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 tin coconut milk
2 cups brown lentils
7 spring onions
2 green chillies
4 cloves garlic
1 thumb sized piece ginger
15g fresh coriander (plus some extra leaves for serving)
150g fresh spinach
1 vegetable stock cube
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 kaffir lime leaves
- Peel the garlic and ginger, then finely chop along with the chillies and fresh coriander. Slice the spring onions. Place these all in a large saucepan and fry for 7 minutes on a medium to high heat.
- Add the coconut milk, lentils, kaffir lime leaves, vegetable stock cube, soy sauce and 1 litre of boiling water.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
- Once the lentils are soft and cooked, finely shred the spinach, then add to the pan along with the juice from the lime. Stir everything together and let the soup cook for a couple more minutes so that the spinach can wilt.