It was a damp, cold, rain soaked day in early summer in New England that had the family hankering for a steaming, hot bowl of soup. There is something about a heart-warming bowl of soup that makes it soothing and satisfying, and this hearty lentil and bean soup does just that! The soup is part of the “premium carbs” and “whole grains/legumes” posts on the blog, highlighting practical ways of working high fiber, plant-based foods into the diet and harnessing their abundant, phytonutrient potential.
Yield: 4.5 cups cooked. 9, 1/2 cup servings.
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 1-2 large bay leaves
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup freshly pureed tomatoes (about 2 medium)
- 1.75 tbsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 1, 15.5 oz can of black beans, thoroughly washed and rinsed
- 1/2 cup lentils ( see Figure 1), picked over, and soaked in 1 cup hot water for an hour.
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped + 1 tbsp for garnish
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Low sodium, gluten free vegetable broth, about 2.5 cups
- In a large, thick bottomed sauce pan, heat peanut oil over medium heat.
- Add bay leaves and chopped garlic, stirring for a few seconds until the garlic sizzles and turns golden brown. Watch for signs of burning and regulate heat accordingly.
- Add chopped onions and sauté for several minutes until very soft and translucent.
- Add chili powder, basil and freshly pureed tomatoes, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until the mixture forms a homogeneous mass, and oil begins to separate from the sides of the pan.
- Discard the soaking water, and add the pre-soaked lentils with approximately 1/2 a cup of hot water at this time to the pan, stirring for a few minutes.
- Add about 2.5 cups of boiling broth, give the pot a good stir and allow to simmer on medium heat, covered until lentils soften and are cooked through, checking occasionally to ensure there is enough liquid to cook lentils. This may take up to an hour. (To speed up cooking time, soak lentils 4-6 hours or overnight in warm water).
- Stir in the carrots and allow to simmer for a few minutes until carrots soften a little.
- Add rinsed black beans, salt, apple cider vinegar and 2 cups of boiling hot water.
- Bring contents of the pot to a rolling boil, cover and allow to simmer on low heat for an additional 10 minutes or so until the beans have absorbed all the flavors in the pan and soup thickens a little.
- Taste, and adjust for seasonings.
- Serve hot, garnished with fresh basil.
RD tip: Legumes and lentils are virtual nutrient powerhouses, bursting with phyonutrients, iron, potassium, magnesium, folate and boasting a hefty 6-8 grams of fiber for every half cup. The soluble fiber in these foods helps delay the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestine, keeping you full longer as well.
Beans and lentils contain oligosaccharides called galactans. Oligosaccharides are smaller chain complex carbohydrates with 2-6, and occasionally up to 10 monosaccharide (single sugar) units. Human beings do not have the enzymes to break down these compounds, hence they are poorly absorbed, causing gassiness and “awkward social moments”!!! If you tend to get flatulence with beans, try soaking them overnight in water, then discard the water and cook in fresh water.
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 carb exchange, ~1 protein exchange.