Let's start today off with one of my favorite warming, winter meals that boosts immunity, full of vitamins and antioxidants as well as YUMMY!!
Oh, and did I mention it's EASY and provides great leftovers as well as tasty after freezing! I'm talking about my Lentil Vegetable Soup and Cornbread. Even my toddler loves this one (and loves to help with the prep work in the kitchen).
Although lentils include beneficial nutrients like fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat.
Insoluble dietary fiber found in lentils helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders. Healthy gut = healthy body.
High Fiber/Lower Cholesterol
Lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol since it contains high levels of soluble fiber. Lowering your cholesterol levels reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by keeping your arteries clean.
Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third-highest levels of protein. 26 percent of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein, which makes them a wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
Studies show that eating high fiber foods like lentils reduces your risk of heart disease. Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health. Folate lowers your homocysteine levels, a serious risk factor for heart disease. Low levels of magnesium have been directly associated with heart disease, so eating lentils will keep your heart happy!
Stabilized Blood Sugar
Adding to the many benefits of fiber, soluble fiber traps carbohydrates, slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels. This can be especially helpful for those with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.
Lentils increase steady, slow-burning energy due its fiber and complex carbohydrates. Lentils are also a great source of iron, which transports oxygen throughout your body and is key to energy production and metabolism.
Can cornbread be healthy for you?
Cornbread is a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folic acid, folates and vitamins A, B-6 and B-12 The benefit to making cornbread from scratch is that you are able to control sodium, sugar, animal fats, and the ever popular, GMO corn, since 90% of our corn crops are genetically modified. Corn meal is a whole grain food, which contain the bran as well as the germ and endosperm of the fruited grain. They provide fiber for the diet, which absorbs cholesterol and lower blood sugars as they move through the digestive system.
Lentil Vegetable Soup
- 2T olive oil, extra virgin (or your oil of choice)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped,
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 - 10.5oz container chopped tomatoes (you will use half of this, freeze the rest for another batch)
- 1- 16oz bag green lentils (you will use half, saving the other half for another batch), rinse the half you are using in a colandar
- 1-32oz low sodium vegetable broth
- garlic powder to taste
- salt/pepper to taste
- Blender, immersion blender, or food processor
Saute all chopped vegetables in 2 T olive oil until softened and fragrant.
Add the box of broth, half tomato container, rinsed half bag lentils. Bring to quick boil, stirring often then reduce to simmer, lid half on, stirring occassionally, approximately 35-40 minutes.
Ladle out about half of the soup into a blender/ food processor (or use immersion blender in the pot). Pulse until most lentils are broken down. Add back into out. Mix. You will see some of the lentils in whole form while the blended portion will add thickness to the soup.
Add garlic powder (a few sprinkles), salt/pepper to taste.
Serves 4-6, bowl size depending. Freezes well.
*I always use the Hodgsons Mill Organic Corn Meal for this recipe.
- 1 cup milk
- 1⁄4 cup butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 1⁄4 cups cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 cup +1 T sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 400³F.
Grease bottom and sides of 8x8inch pan
Whisk milk, butter and egg in large bowl
Stir in remaining ingredients all at once just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy).
Pour into pan.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Serve warm with lentil soup. Freezes great.