Tumeric Zucchini Lentil Soup
Katherine Takayasu, MD, MBA, Center for Integrative Medicine & Wellness
You can eat this soup cold, like a gazpacho, or hot. It's delicious either way!
Two major drivers behind my friend Stephanie’s culinary concoction: trying to convince her 18-month-old to eat eggplant and zucchini (!) and making easy lunches for herself to enjoy on the weekdays.
You’ll notice this recipe has the gorgeous anti-inflammatory spice turmeric. Turmeric is a cheery bright yellow color (and will stain your clothes – be careful!) and provides a bit of earthy spice to dishes. Turmeric actually works similarly in the body to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen or Naproxen as a COX-2 inhibitor.
So could this soup cure your achey arthritic knees? Well, it certainly won’t hurt. The trick to getting total body absorption of turmeric is to combine it with piperine, the active alkaloid in black pepper. Ever notice that most recipes with turmeric also have black pepper? Other cultures have known of this culinary power combo for centuries.
Lentils pack a powerful punch of protein and fiber, helping to keep your muscles strong and digestive system happy. If your lentils have been soaked or sprouted, you can decrease the water or stock a little. When I don’t have time to sprout my legumes, then I at least try to soak them for a few hours before using.
Oh, and this recipe makes quite a lot of volume, so if you’re not into leftovers then maybe cut it down by half.
Tumeric Zucchini Lentil Soup
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 2 cups brown or green lentils, sprouted, soaked overnight or dried
- 8 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 zucchini, cut into ½ inch pices
- 1 large can of crushed or diced tomatoes
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 5 bay leaves
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper, optional
- 2 cups chopped spinach, kale or chard
- Avocado, sliced
- Green onion, diced
- Tortilla chips
Additional toppings for our non-vegan friends:
- Browned ground turkey
- A fried egg (especially yummy!)
- Wash your produce, lentils and hands.
- Heat a large pot over medium and add olive oil, garlic, onion and yellow pepper for 5 minutes, or until onion softens.
- Add in eggplant, tomatoes, and stir for another few minutes.
- Add bay leaves, turmeric, thyme, crushed red pepper (if desired), water, dry lentils and tomato paste.
- Bring pot to a boil and reduce heat, cover for 20 minutes.
- Add diced zucchini, salt, pepper, cook for another 5-6 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, add leafy greens, stir and let cool for eating.
- Top each serving with garnishes. Enjoy!
Katherine Wehri Takayasu, M.D., M.B.A. practices Integrative Medicine combining traditional Western medicine with evidence-based complementary modalities at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. She helps patients heal naturally with acupuncture, mind-body medicine, botanical medicine, nutrition, and lifestyle optimization. She is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University/New York Presbyterian and teaches the next generation of doctors about healing the whole patient mind, body, and spirit. For her own wellbeing, Dr. Katie practices what she preaches. She engages in yoga and meditation regularly and enjoys experimenting with plant-based cuisine in the kitchen.