A Great Vegan Lentil Soup That Isn’t Just for Vegans

A Great Vegan Lentil Soup That Isn’t Just for Vegans

There is a growing trend toward vegetarianism and veganism among young people.  I recently read that in the past several years, vegetarianism has increased substantially among those under 25 years old.  My anecdotal experience is similar.  My friend’s eleven-year old decided to become a vegetarian at the age of six, despite no one else in her family being one.  Seeing a whole pig being roasted on a spit at a young age was enough to convince her not to eat meat, for ethical reasons.  Another good friend has a high schooler who has been a vegetarian since she was 10.  She saw a documentary about animal cruelty and stopped eating meat soon thereafter.  My nephew, now in his teens, announced several years ago he is a pescatarian, though his parents eat everything.  Just today I learned that my collage-bound niece has been a vegetarian for over a year.  More than ever, kids seem to be making big decisions about what they eat, and why.

After college, I tried my hand at being a vegetarian for a few years, mainly for health reasons.  That ended abruptly when I entered culinary school.  I’m a firm believer that, whatever we eat, we should be purposeful about it.  Vegetarians, vegans and pescatarians are doing just that: they are being thoughtful eaters.

There is a lot of information available about the health implications for raising your child as a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian.  We know that foods derived from animals are rich in protein, fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium and vitamins D and B12.  But research is showing that young children raised as vegetarians grow and develop at the same rate as meat-eaters, receiving almost the same amount of protein, energy and other key nutrients that children need.  According to the American Dietetic Association: “Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence, and for athletes.”  The trick here is a well planned diet that includes legumes, in particular soybeans and lentils, which provide much-needed protein, iron and zinc.  Whole grains, seeds and nuts will also provide protein, essential fatty acids, zinc and B-group vitamins.

Below is a delicious recipe my friend with the vegetarian daughter sent me for Coconut Curry Lentil Soup.  It is absolutely delicious.  The original recipe is from the vegan blog, Vegangela, I have only lightly adapted it.  Yes this soup is vegan.  But the meat-eaters in my house all love it.

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

May 30, 2017
: 4
: 10 min
: 40 min
: 50 min
: easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 small cans tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 5 cups vegetable broth (if you are not a vegetarian, you can use chicken broth)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 24 ounce diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red lentils
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the olive oil in a medium size stock pot over medium high heat. When hot, but not smoking, add the onion, fennel, garlic, ginger and cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Step 2 Add the tomato paste, curry powder, and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook for an additional minute.
  • Step 3 Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, diced tomatoes and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are very tender.
  • Step 4 Season with salt and pepper. Right before serving, stir in the spinach and allow to wilt.

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