Supergreen Lentil Soup
New mums need warming foods that are gentle on digestion and for that, you simply cannot bypass soup. This recipe is a crowd favourite from our our co-founder Jess' One-Pot cookbook that made it onto the Mama Goodness menu and stayed there for years, filling the bellies and hearts of so many families all over Melbourne.
We've received messages from people telling me they’ve gone and bought Vegan One-Pot Wonders just so they could keep making this soup at home, and others thanking us for somehow getting their children to eat greens 😍. So of course the recipe had to go in Life After Birth too!
Don't own either of those books? Worry not! We are sharing the recipe here, on our brand new blog, where we hope to share many recipes from postpartum doulas all over the world.
Why is it so good for you?
Lentils are a plant-powered source of protein, which is essential for stabilising blood sugar, healing and repairing tissue in the body after birth, and providing much-needed energy in the postpartum. Leafy greens are a nutrient-dense, plant powered source of Vitamin C, calcium and if you use Kale in this soup, it is also a cruciferous vegetable, which supports the body to detoxify excess hormones post birth.
As with any soup, the key to getting the best flavour is using the best quality stock available to you, or even homemade chicken broth if you have any. We use frozen greens in this version of the recipe, because they bring all the nutrition with none of the necessary washing and chopping, but you can absolutely use fresh leafy greens (our ultimate fave) if you have the time and energy to do so.
Without further ado, here's how to make it!
370 g (13 oz/2 cups) beluga lentils or french green lentils
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, diced or sliced
3 celery stalks, chopped or sliced
3 large or 5 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) veggie stock
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water
250g frozen greens, or 2 large bunches of kale, chard, collard greens or any other seasonal greens you can find
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve (optional):
bread or cooked quinoa
Soak the lentils in a bowl of water overnight, or for at least 6–8 hours. A quick soak also works, if you’re short on time – simply put the lentils in a heatproof bowl, cover them with boiling water and allow to sit for 1 hour until you’re ready to cook.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes until softened but not browned, then add the carrot and celery and cook for another 5–10 minutes until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic, cumin seeds and fenugreek and cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
Drain the lentils and add them to the pan along with the stock and water. Bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes, or until the lentils squish easily on the side of the pan when pressed with a wooden spoon.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare your greens. Cut the leaves in half (and half again if using very wide leaves), removing tough stems, then cut the leaves into 2cm- (3/4 in)- wide strips. You basically want to get the greens into pieces that are easy to fit in your mouth once cooked. Pop the greens in a large bowl and cover with water to remove any dirt, drain and set aside.
Once the lentils are cooked, add the greens and cook for another 5–10 minutes, then remove from the heat.
I like to top this with sauerkraut and eat it as is. It’s good with bread (of course, what isn’t?), and also very good served on top of cooked quinoa if you happen to have any in the refrigerator or freezer.
The soup will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and freezes beautifully.