Have you resolved to detox, lose weight, exercise more, quit drinking, quit smoking, or generally start treating your body better? Even if you’re one of those who don’t believe in making resolutions, a deliciously healthy and nutritious soup can nourish your temple – no resolutions required.
I guess there are a lot of people going on detox juice cleanses, but I’m not one of them. Not a believer. I need real food and fiber and have read all too many tales of juice cleanses gone bad. That being said, we balance holiday indulgences with an extra push to eat lighter in January and, since it’s winter – yes, even SoCal is experiencing a cold snap right now – it’s all about satisfying soups and healthier takes on our favorite comfort foods. And, guess what? That includes potatoes which don’t have to be swathed in butter, cheese, sour cream, and bacon to be delicious!
I developed this recipe for the Idaho Potato Commission who I’ve had the pleasure of working with for several years. It was love at first bite when I tasted how the natural sweetness of carrots and mild, subtly sweet red lentils imparted another layer of flavor and brightness which distinguishes it from other potato soups. Plus, the muted orange color is lovely and crisp bits of caramelized mushrooms and a spattering of green onions lends visual appeal that you can taste with your eyes. It’s also vegan, gluten free and can deliciously pave your path to a more plant based diet. Cozy up to a warm fire and forget the blustery weather while satisfying all your senses.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium Idaho Potato Russet potatoes peeled and chopped
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1/4 cup red lentils
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth preferably homemade
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 ounces Maitake mushrooms chopped*
- 1 tablespoon butter or for vegan, olive oil
- 2 scallions thinly sliced crosswise
Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and chopped onions. Saute for 3-5 minutes until soft.
Add potatoes, carrots, lentils, white pepper, thyme, cumin and cayenne and cook for another minute, stirring continuously to prevent sticking. Pour in broth, add lemon juice, and cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon butter (coconut oil or vegetable oil for vegan) until all liquid is cooked off and mushrooms are crispy, brown bits.
Remove soup from heat, allow to cool slightly. Puree in a blender, then return to pot to reheat. Serve hot and garnish with mushroom bits and green onions.
*Crimini or brown mushrooms may be substituted. I used homemade vegetable broth and don't add salt during cooking - salt can be added at the table for those not on a low sodium diet. You may add 1/2 teaspoon of salt during cooking, if desired.
Hungry for more? See all my Idaho Potato recipes on my featured blogger page at the Idaho Potato Commission.
Best wishes for health and happiness in 2015!
In case you’re new to my site, all the recipes on She’s Cookin’ are healthy and nutritious and, more specifically, low sodium and heart healthy, driven by my husband’s living with serious heart disease for the past fifteen years. Isn’t all heart disease serious? Well, yes, any of the indicators should not to be taken lightly and The Don (as I call him here) has beat the odds with the help of the exemplary care at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, which we know far too well, the excellent physicians at Newport Heart who managed his recovery from quadruple bypass surgery in 2001 and, later, the arrhythmias that necessitated an implanted cardiac defibrillator at Baylor in Irving, TX and, most recently, a complex cardiac ablation at UCLA in 2012. Since then he has been on an extreme low sodium diet – meaning lower than the 1500 mg. of sodium per day recommended by the American Heart Association.
Enough of that! We strive to have a positive outlook here and in real life. Suffice it to say that fortunately we’ve always eaten “clean” and now even more so since our focus is on lowering our sodium intake. He (and I, to an extent) learned to avoid the Salty Six and what to order in restaurants – very important when you travel often. Not sure what comprises the Salty Six – check out my post, The Salty Six – Do You Know What They Are?. It hasn’t been easy and, fortunately, my restaurant writing allows me to get out and indulge occasionally.
Disclosure: I was compensated by the Idaho Potato Commission to develop this recipe. Any opinions expressed are my own. I am not a registered dietician or nutritionist and have learned all that I know through years of cooking, nutrition classes, research and reading.