I am naming this soup the Souperhero Soup because of some the the power veggies that are packed into it. Let's highlight some of those veggies and why you should eat more of them today...
Leeks- Leeks belong to the allium vegetable family and contain a lot of the health benefits that other members such as onions and garlic do. They are high (over 20% daily value) in vitamin K, Vitamin A and manganese. They also contain a significant amount of other nutrients such as vitamin c, b6, folate and iron. Leeks are very well known for their support of our cardiovascular system, which is why we heart them.
Lentils- Lentils are in the legumes family along with beans and contain some similar health benefits. Many people do find lentils easier on the digestive system and they have even been shown to have a very positive effect on digestive issues such as IBS. They are PACKED with nutrients including high (over 20% daily need) of molybdenum, folate, dietary fiber, tryptophan, manganese, iron, protein, phosphorus, copper, vitamin b1 AND potassium. That was a mouthful. Lentils help to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels after a meal. Research has shown that a diet rich in legumes such as lentils shows a whopping 82% reduction in risk of death from heart disease. I am not a calorie counter. I prefer to select my food based on nutrient value over calorie restriction, but if you were curious about the calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up--not out.
Kale- Somebody once described kale to me as the vegetable that helps you age in reverse. I think they knew what they were talking about. Kale is known for its antioxidant value in the body and has 1,327% of your daily need of vitamin K!!! As if that were not enough is also contains 354% vitamin A and 88% vitamin C. I guess we can forget about chicken soup when we are feeling sick. It contains a laundry list of other nutrients including some that might surprise you such as calcium, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. I know, I know pick your jaw up off the floor, you CAN get those nutrients from foods other that meat, fish and dairy. Don't get me started on that....
Enough of the lecture, lets cook.
Makes about 8 servings
Since its now dark here by 4pm, my picture quality is taking a big hit...
2 TBS EVOO
1 large Leek, white part only, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 - 2 cups of lentils
4 cups veggie broth
4 cups water
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 can (14.5oz) diced toms
5 cups torn kale leaves, no stems
1/2 cup of pesto sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add leek and garlic and saute about 5 mins or until leek is tender.
2. Add lentils, broth, water and rosemary. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Add kale and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until lentils and kale are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Serve with a dollop of the pesto.
My taste judge Thor really enjoyed this soup, especially with a big dollop of the pesto mixed in. This recipe freezes well also so I stashed a container of it in the freezer to pull out in a couple of weeks when life gets crazy with the holidays.