Provide your body with flavorful nutrition with these green lentil power bowls. Green lentils, wilted greens, charred red onions, egg and pear slices are all topped with a delicious homemade vinaigrette. Full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, these bowls fill your body with important nutrients to help you keep your energy level up–and they taste delicious too. The slightly sweet pear slices and charred onions, the tangy dressing, the earthy lentils and greens, they all blend together so beautifully, and the nutritional benefits are a bonus.
I was at the grocery store several times this week, and I noticed something: I kept gravitating toward green things–deep, dark green spinach, Swiss chard and kale, crunchy celery, bright, leafy parsley, even pistachios. I took this as a sign that my body is craving the many nutrients found in green foods. Though I love green smoothies, I was also craving something warm and cozy. In the last week, we have gotten at least 18 inches of snow and endured very cold temperatures, so soup sounded comforting. I have always loved putting leafy greens in soups, but yesterday, I decided to focus most of the soup on green foods. I also had some miso paste in the refrigerator that has been calling out to be used, so I decided to create a soup with the green vegetables and the miso paste, and add some potatoes to make the soup more filling, therefore hopefully satisfying my eaters who have hearty appetites. Miso is made from fermented soybeans (and in the paste I have, it also contains brown rice), and is often used in Japanese cooking. I love the tangy, rich flavor of miso, in addition to all the health benefits. Miso is full of minerals, protein, and antioxidants, and because it is a fermented food, it also has probiotics, which are good for our digestion. I probably don’t need to go into the health benefits of green foods–we all know they are loaded with nutrients. If you are not a big potato fan, you could also substitute soba or some other kind of thin noodle for the potatoes and sill reap the benefits of this tasty and nutrient-infusing soup. I am going to bring a bowl of this healthy and delicious stuff to Angie’s Fiesta Friday potluck at the Novice Gardener, hosted by Sonal from Simply Vegetarian 777and Josette from The Brook Cook. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
about 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped (more if desired)
about 1/3 cup shelled pistachios (optional)
Wash and chop the potatoes, celery, chives, and parsley. In a large pot, bring the 6 cups of vegetable broth to a boil. Gently tip in the potatoes and celery. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and simmer the potatoes and celery for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are fork-tender. Add the chives. Gradually add the miso paste, one tablespoon at a time, stirring to dissolve the paste in the broth after each addition. Go by your own tastes–you may want more or less miso, but 4-5 tablespoons is a good estimate. Then add the greens, cooking until they just begin to wilt. After you add the miso and greens, do not bring the soup back to a boil; just gently heat. Ladle the soup into bowls, and add the parsley and optional pistachios to garnish. Enjoy!
Now is the season for fresh leafy greens. We got our garden in a little later than usual this year due to the long, cold winter, but our kale and spinach are growing and almost ready to harvest. Farmers markets in the area are starting to gradually offer more and more fresh greens. One of my favorite things to do in the early summer is walk out into our garden, pick a bunch of greens, wash them, and make a salad. Fresh, crunchy greens are so refreshing and energizing, and so healthy! It seems like everywhere we look, we read about the health benefits of eating greens, especially the dark, leafy ones like kale, collards, spinach, and Swiss chard. Greens are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. There are lots of sources that talk about the healthy effects of eating greens. A helpful one I found has a detailed description of the vitamins and minerals in different types of greens, and is available at www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/leafy-greens-rated. My favorite way to eat greens at this time of year, when they are fresh from my own garden or a nearby farmer’s garden, is raw in a salad. Kale and Swiss chard have lots of nutritional value, but they can be a little overpowering to eat raw. To balance out their strong flavors, I like to mix them with different types of lettuces, which have perhaps less nutritional value, but a milder, sweeter taste. I also like to be creative and add whatever kind of toppings we have on hand. Shredded Parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, dried cranberries, dried cherries, diced apples diced cooked chicken, and chopped chives are all good options. A good salad dressing also really helps the greens taste delicious. I have posted a recipe for a very easy homemade salad dressing, and there are tons of variations out there that you can play with. It is empowering to make your own salad dressing, especially when it tastes as good or better than the commercial dressings, and with more natural ingredients. Greens straight from the garden or farmers market are the freshest, but they require a little extra washing to get all the soil out. To me, it is worth it.