Greens and Lentil Soup

This savory soup is packed with nutrition. Better still, the recipe is easy to prepare and sure to satisfy your hunger without leaving you feeling overly stuffed. And, since it makes delicious leftovers, you may want to scale up the recipe to ensure that it can be enjoyed more than once.

Lentils are the foundation of this soup. These legumes, which are related to beans and peanuts, are similar to dried split peas in appearance, although they are not as sweet. Unlike dried beans, lentils do not require pre-soaking overnight. Professional chefs love them because they not only provide a low calorie nutritional punch, but they have a mild flavor, making them perfect for absorbing flavors and spices. They are an especially rich sources of fiber and folate, a B vitamin that may play a role in reducing risk for pancreatic cancer.

Kale is the featured green in this week’s recipe. A member of the cabbage family that has been cultivated for over 3,000 years, kale’s leaves grow loosely, in contrast to the closely nestled leaves of traditional cabbage. One of the best sources of vitamins K and A, kale also supplies calcium, vitamin C and fiber. When cooking, remember that stems take more time to cook than the leaves. To minimize cooking, some cooks trim out the largest stems.

Celery offers a nice crunch to the soup. The celery we enjoy today was derived from wild celery, thought to have its origins in the Mediterranean regions of Northern Africa and Southern Europe. Reference to its medicinal properties dates back to the 9thcentury B.C. when it was mentioned in the Odyssey, the famous epic by the Greek poet Homer.

Greens and Lentil Soup - Makes 4 servings.

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
2 cups kale, center ribs discarded and sliced thin
4 Tbsp. nonfat sour cream, for garnish (optional).

In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring until golden. Add onion, celery and carrots. Season vegetables with oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring until softened.

Add lentils, water and broth and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add kale and simmer uncovered until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each with 1 Tbsp. sour cream, if desired.

Per serving: 140 calories, 2 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 24 g carbohydrate, 9 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 320 mg sodium.

The Author:

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $86 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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