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Lemon Lentil Soup

Updated: Feb 5, 2022

This lemon lentil soup has to be one of my favorite recipes over the past few years! It packs fresh flavors with lots of nutrients and easy substitutions for variety.


First of all, I love lemons! As you continue to view the recipes I'll post, some may be favorites because of where I originially tried a food, the flavor, or a memory I have from the recipe. And if you become a client of mine, you'll learn about intuitive eating, which tends to allow you to reminisce about memories that a food may give you (maybe a good memory, maybe a bad memory) to allow you to make peace with food.


To explain further about some of my memories and the foods I love, I lived in Europe, Germany specifically, for six years during elementary school and I was blessed to get to travel to 23 countries! I grew up learning about different cultures and ethnicities in an international school, and food brought you together to make memories. Now, I am also Italian and German, and I married an Italian, so food will always be a huge part of my life, and a reason I became a registered dietitian nutritionist.


One of our first trips overseas was to Italy- we went on a charter bus with numerous others from mostly my international school and had so much fun throughout our years doing trips like this. This trip was during the Spring, Easter time specifically, and one stop was in Positano. If you have not heard about Positano, it is on the Amalfi Coast with beautiful views of the sea and known for their lemons the size of grapefruits! So, needless to say, I grew to loving lemons in Positano.


We were at a restaurant with a few others from our bus (and also our new friends). I was eating a lemon that was on my plate, where the sun was gushing in from all the windows with the view of the sea, and the waiters noticed. Soon enough, they came over with a plate of sliced lemons just for me (and sugar- they probably thought I may want it after a slice or too, but I never used it!). The waiters laughed a bit, but that plate of lemons- inside AND the rind (outside) were gone! I ended up buying a deep navy blue shirt with a BIG lemon on the front- sadly no longer in my possession, and from there it's been love ever since!

Lemons are such a versatile ingredient, able to be used in savory and sweet items. Add them into baking mixes such as pancakes or muffins (one would usually use the zest for these), use as an extract or flavoring for icing, add to your water (or other beverage such as iced tea or adult-beverage of choice), use as your acid for your salad dressing (instead of vinegar), and adding to savory dishes including most seafood and even into soups like this one!


The trick about this recipe is that you add the lemon right at the end so the flavor stays strong! We don't want to cook off the acid, we want it to be present and robust.


The recipes you find on my blog will always have suggestions for substitutions. Cooking is an art and a recipe is a guide for you. Be creative, change things up, add things in- you'll only know if it worked or not if you try it!

 

So let's get into the recipe!


Initially, you may be intimated, however, once you make this two or three times, you'll be able to make it without the recipe and even feel comfortable adding or substituting items.


Let's start with the nutrition as mentioned early on already; this dish is packed with nutrients including complex carbohydrates (low-glycemic index) from the lentils as there is lots of fiber and they take longer to breakdown, meaning it is good for your blood sugar and keeping you full. If you are looking for a plant-based meal option- here you go! You can always add some beans into this after it has simmered as well, to get even more plant-proteins.

And just look at all these colors here! All these colors you see, and will continue to see, have different meanings for our bodies. When you hear "eat the rainbow", that is why- each color is a different phytochemical which are compounds that can help our bodies to fight infection, prevent disease, get rid of or decrease the amount of bad cells, etc. So include lots of colors!

The recipe calls for chicken broth, but if you are vegan or vegetarian, feel free to substitute the broth for any kind (I've even just used water!). Use an omega-3 rich fat to cook your onions and garlic in such as olive, avocado or grapeseed oil. It's not a significant amount in the recipe, but when we substitute saturated fats such as butter or coconut oil when we cook often, we can improve our heart health more.

Onions and garlic are great antioxidants, as they have high amounts of vitamin C in them and can also improve inflammation (also known as anti-inflammatory foods from their phytochemical called flavonoids and sulfur-containing compounds). So when you hear white foods are "bad"....wrong!

You may not see the onions in the pictures above, and that's because my husband is not a fan so when he eats what I make, I do take the onion out, so I don't get the onion benefits, but I use lots of garlic! I also add some lemon zest because the zest of a lemon (or lime, orange, etc), will give you a stronger flavor as the oils are in the zest or skin, and I just love more lemon flavor :). You don't want to zest into the "white" part of the lemon because that will pull bitter flavors. So just the top layer using a microplane or use a cheese grater (just harder to get all the zest scraped off). You can also take out or add more heat from the red pepper flakes. I enjoy adding more parsley into the soup rather than just on top as noted in the recipe- the choice is yours! If using fresh herbs, add at the end with the lemon. If dried, you can add as it starts to simmer.


I also used a fun tool for the garlic as shown above (the plate); there's so many ways you can mince garlic. Only about 6 months ago, I had...a knife. Now, I have a knife, a garlic press, and this beautiful -lemon- dish made in Spain that has sharp ridges on the plate.

How to: you grasp the garlic clove at one end and then grate it across the sharp ridges on the plate (the lines you see are more ridges). I got this dish from a Christmas Market this past year that my husband and I always go to, and for the past few years have been intrigued by these dishes every time we go, so we caved in this year to get one for ourselves (while also getting them as Christmas gifts for our families). You can also use this dish for dipping oils with bread, adding herbs and spices to or you can also grate ginger, nutmeg, and so much more!


Other ways I have seen this recipe done include adding carrots, celery, and again you can add in beans or other proteins you want to try (shrimp would be good!). The options are limitless, the recipe is your guide- let me know if you end up trying something new.


So without further ado, I hope you enjoy this recipe- Bon Appetit!

 

RECIPE


Information provided on this website does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to assist in the diagnosis, treatment or alleviation of any medical condition. Persons seeking to address a medical condition should consult with a qualified medical professional. Emily Richters Fasciana LLC will not be liable for any damages, losses, injury or liability suffered as a result of reliance on the information provided on this website.




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