As our immune systems and general health and wellbeing are at the centre of everyone's thoughts right now, I've decided to have a week of plant based, healthy, immune boosting, easy peasy recipe making up. I'm going to share them all here on my blog, or at least I'm going to share the ones that work here on my blog :)
First up is this soup that I cannot get enough of right now. It doesn't require lots of ingredients, time or effort. It's super easy, incredibly healthy and DELICIOUS.
Lentil & Coconut Soup
This soup is packed full of foods that boost your immune system, improve gut function (important in keeping your bodies natural defences up) and give your body energy whilst supporting cell growth. And the best bit is, it’s SO easy.
Garlic is a big player in helping keep your body’s immune system healthy and strong. We’ve all eaten raw garlic at the onset of a bug, nasty but effective, right? Did you know that raw garlic also increases the number of T cells in the blood, which fight virus and reduce the length of time you feel symptoms?
Limes contain vitamin C, but they also contain polyphenols which help to regulate your immune responses. Regulation of immune response is required to protect us from autoreactive T cells. T cells protect us against infection and so it’s important that we protect them!
Ginger not only tastes wonderful, it sooths on many levels. It is naturally warming, acts as a natural decongestant, sooths coughs, colds and upset stomachs.
Spinach is another vitamin C punch packer. It's also packed with antioxidants and beta carotene which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Red chillies are incredible health boosters. They contain lots of vitamin A and C (nutrients which can boost the immune system) and capsaicin which can help clear congestion and phlegm.
Shallots contain allicin, a natural antibacterial and also have anti-inflammatory properties. Keeping inflammation at bay is essential to good immune function, healthy gut function, healthy adrenals and good energy levels.
Improving Gut Function:
Lentils play multiple roles. They help regulate existing cells and grow new ones, which improve the function of the immune system. They also improve gut function, boost adrenals and are a great source of protein.
Coconut milk is one of my favourite good fats. Good dietary fats are essential to giving our bodies energy. They support cell growth, protect our organs and help keep us warm. Good fats are also essential in helping our bodies absorb nutrients from all food we eat.
It’s tough for me to write this recipe down as I made it up and generally just throw it all in the pan, but here goes…
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large shallot
1 large chunk ginger (thumb sized)
1 fresh lemongrass
6 garlic cloves
I red chilli, deseeded
1 litre vegan bouillon (or your stock of choice)
125 grams red lentils
125 grams yellow lentils
1 450g tin of full fat coconut milk
1 chopped leek
1 lime if you cannot find fresh lemongrass
Salt & pepper to taste
This is super easy. I have a Ninja Chopper but a little food processor would work just as well to chop super quickly. If you have neither old fashion chopping is required.
Melt the coconut oil in the pot. Chop the shallot and chilli, grate the ginger, skin and mash the lemongrass, smash the garlic and throw it all in the pot and let it all sweat until the shallots are clear. Add the bouillon (or whatever stock you are using) and bring to the boil. Add the lentils and bring back to the boil. Once boiled turn down to a simmer and leave for 15 minutes or so until the lentils are cooked through. Add the coconut milk and leek and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Right at the end add the spinach and lime juice if using, serve and enjoy.
If the lentils are soaking up all of the bouillon liquid, add a bit more bouillon.
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