Posted on December 4, 2012
As a vegan, there is one question you get more than any other question, and that is: where do you get your protein? The answer is almost endless. In fact, protein can be found in almost all kinds of foods. Vegans get their main source of protein from fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. Legumes or pulses such as beans, lentils and peas are high in not just protein, but also other essential nutrients like complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. In other words, there can be no such thing as a protein deficient vegan!
One of my favourite legumes is the lentil (e.g., yellow, green, red, beluga and puy lentils). With about 30% of their calories coming from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. They are also full of dietary fiber and iron.
This week’s recipe is my usual go-to soup/stew, when no other inspiration for cooking comes to mind. It is simple, easy, filling and cheap. The best part about this dish is that it is very versatile, and can be made with almost any mix of vegetables, spices and seasonings.
3-4 dl red lentils
1-2 yellow onions, chopped
2 cans crushed tomatoes
5 dl vegetable stock
spices (e.g., chili powder, paprika)
salt and black pepper
Soak the lentils in hot water, preferably over night, rinse well and change the water at least once. Line a pot with some water and cook the onions. Rinse the lentils, and discard the water. Add the crushed tomatoes, water (be restrictive if you want a more stew-like dish), vegetable stock, lentils and spices (and vegetables) of your choice to the onions. Boil until the lentils are soft. The soup can be blended for a less chunky texture. Adjust salt, pepper and heat to taste. Serve with a slice of sourdough bread.
Vegetables like, for example chickpeas, celery, carrot, garlic, potato, sweet potato and/or leek are perfect in this soup. A splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar can also be a nice touch. Feel free to go crazy with different spices such as chilli flakes, sambal oelek, harissa, bay leaves, oregano, basil, ras el hanout, curry, garam masala, smoked paprika, chipotle, cumin, caraway and ginger.
Hope you will enjoy!