Creamy Carrot, Tomato, and Red Lentil Soup is a hearty dish that’s full of natural sweetness, plus fiber, plant-based protein, and an array of antioxidants. Great for immunity, gentle cleansing, and nourishing the body during the winter months. Vegan, Oil and Gluten-Free, No Added Sugar
This post and recipe is an evolvement of my outlook and place in life at this moment, which seems pretty lofty and like a big responsibility to put on on simple soup dish, so let me explain.
Most recently, since the new year began, I’ve been feeling as something inside is evolving in me, growing in me, as if I’m coming into a truer place within myself. A place that’s always been there; a part of me that’s always been there, but that perhaps I’ve been unable to see or give enough time to until now. This soup is a bit like that. It’s a simplified version of an everyday recipe that’s evolved throughout the years in my kitchen as my health needs have changed to turn into this humble, and at the same time perfect, recipe.
I used to love tomato soup as a kid but ate the traditional canned kind as many do, which is full of artificial ingredients, added sugar, and often dairy and refined oils. Over the years, I’ve toyed around with healthy tomato soup recipes but never found one I loved enough to share here that’s been similar to what I grew up eating. This one is. It offers a gentle nourishment to the body while providing the same comforting and welcoming type of recipe that many of us have grown to love.
As mentioned, this recipe is also perfect for where I’m at right now in my health journey. Perhaps it’s the new moon coming up tomorrow night, or that it’s the new year and my emotions and body are cleansing, but regardless, I’ve been inspired to go back to the discovery that led me to my health journey so long ago which is my discovery of Ayurveda, yoga, and how the mind and body truly are deeply connected.
Part of Ayurveda is learning to eat with the seasons and how to nourish your body to treat it gently as it changes from day to day, month to month as the seasons change. This ancient form of medicinal wisdom is also a holistic way of healing and nourishing our bodies. That also means using more pure, natural foods and less complicated styles of cooking, preparation, and baking in everyday living. I’ve committed to using more wholesome natural ingredients this year, even more so than I do now, and also diving deeper into a practice of Ayurvedic wisdom, self-care, and recipe exploration, even if just a little bit each day.
I’ve modified my own kitchen lately and gotten rid of a lot of unnecessary ingredients that don’t serve me or this new purpose. I have a strong desire to nourish and heal on levels I haven’t been able to do until now. Partly because I’ve always felt too busy or because I felt I should be doing other things, but I now realize that mentality has been keeping me from healing in ways I haven’t been able to do yet. So this recipe is a perfect way to honor my desire for more simple, wholesome recipes.
That’s why I love this Creamy Carrot, Tomato, and Red Lentil Soup! It nourishes the body during the winter season because it’s grounding, wholesome, and not too pungent, spicy, or sweet. This recipe is a balancing dish and one I’ve really been loving this week as I get over this random cold that popped up out of nowhere, which I mentioned in my last recipe post.
Speaking of which, I’ve been working on some personal things in my own life and one of the things I really want to do this year is to share more of that with you through the food I create and the health and nutrition lifestyle posts that I write. I want my writing to be more about how you can take health principles and ideas and incorporate them into your own life, based on what I’ve learned throughout the years in all my education, training, and experience as a holistic health and wellness coach and as a nutritionist.
Creamy Carrot, Tomato, and Red Lentil Soup is an excellent recipe to start with because it’s made from pure whole food and slow-cooked which allows the flavors of real foods to develop naturally and gently instead of harshly and artificially as processed ingredients and fried or high-heat techniques can sometimes create.
While I love raw food and the benefits it contains and can bring, it isn’t as grounding and nourishing as warming dishes like this one are, so I find this recipe a perfect dish to eat when I’m stressed, not feeling well, or need some balance. It’s filling, comforting, yet still light and really easy to digest. This recipe would be perfect for a whole food cleanse, for example. It’s gluten, dairy, and oil-free and has no added sugars of any kind.
Made from organic carrots, diced tomatoes, red split lentils, organic wild and/or brown rice, and vegetable broth, this dish is really a great option if you’re low on ingredients and want a filling dish that won’t require you to go to the store or spend a lot of money. I also included a whole onion, a bay leaf, a piece of kombu seaweed (which adds a ton of minerals and helps with the digestion of the lentils and rice) and some herbs into the soup.Then I removed the bay leaf and piece of kombu after cooking. I also removed the onion after cooking for optimal digestion (see why here).
Lastly, I puréed the mixture down with an immersion blender, and as you can see, the lentils and rice make the soup super thick and creamy while the tomatoes and carrots add natural sweetness.
This soup actually has more carrots than tomatoes because tomatoes are a very pungent food and I find them to add just enough flavor here to make this taste like tomato soup without being acidic or too spicy. I highly suggest using a no-salt-added or low-sodium vegetable broth for flavor and extra nutrition in this recipe. I really like the Pacific Foods brand for organic unsalted or low-sodium vegetable broth, which is what I used for this recipe.
I look forward to sharing more about natural health and deeper nourishment in 2018. I’m really excited to dive into this as well as it’s a part of myself that I don’t nourish enough and it would help to be able to share it in this space. In my own life, I’ve been practicing different styles of yoga, embracing time away from social media more often, practicing meditation and prayer more, journaling, reflecting on nature, and have been exploring new health ideas along with reading books and blogs that nourish this part of me as well.
For now, though, let’s just enjoy a bowl this Creamy Carrot, Tomato, and Red Lentil Soup! I’ve listed the nutritional benefits of the soup below the recipe as well.
- 12-16 ounces of baby carrots (I used a bag of organic baby carrots which is about 2 - 2.5 cups)
- 1 15-ounce can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 1 cup of no-salt-added (or unsalted or low-sodium) vegetable broth - I used Pacific Foods brand
- ¼ cup red split lentils - I like Arrowhead Mills organic brand
- ¼ cup wild or brown basmati rice (or a blend) - I used Lundberg brand
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 whole onion, peeled and cut into halves but not sliced or chopped up
- 1 small (2-3-inch) piece of kombu
- ¼ tsp. oregano
- ¼ tsp. thyme
- ¼ tsp. marjoram
- ¼ tsp. rubbed sage
- 1 cup of filtered water
- optional: 1 tsp. of low-sodium (mellow/white) miso and a garnish of parsley before serving
- To cook this in the slow cooker, simply add all of the ingredients in the order listed except the optional garnishes. Cook on high for 6 hours until it starts to cook down. Then remove the bay leaf, kombu, and onion halves before proceeding to step 3.
- To cook this on the stove-top, simply add all the ingredients except the optional garnishes to a large stock-pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-high heat and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then reduce the heat to medium heat and cook for one hour until the mixture cooks down. After cooking, turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf, kombu, and the two halves of the onion before proceeding to step 3.
- Puree the soup down with an immersion blender right in the pot until it becomes thick and creamy. Or, transfer the soup to a high powered blender and blend on a low speed until it becomes thick and creamy.
- Serve and stir in 1 tsp. miso per serving and add a sprinkle of parsley if you like. I like this soup as an appetizer, a small lunch, or a light dinner as it's really filling in very small servings.
Nutritional Benefits of This Recipe:
Carrots are high in magnesium, beta-carotene which is an antioxidant our bodies convert to vitamin A that contributes to a healthy immune system and beautiful skin. They’re also high in fiber, low in starch, and have a wonderful natural sweetness thanks to their natural sugars which cuts down the need for any sweeteners without being overwhelming in flavor. When cooked down in a slow-cooker or stock-pot, they develop a sweeter, softer, more caramelized flavor that’s much more gentle than roasting or pan-frying.
Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, low in natural sugars and starch, and high in potassium which lowers blood pressure levels as well as aids in proper fluid balance in the body. Tomatoes are also a great source of glutamic acid which our bodies need from natural foods for optimal amino acid balance (unlike mono-sodium glutamate found in processed foods–MSG). They cook down just like the carrots do in this soup which adds an incredible umami flavor and also keeps the dish tasting balanced with a savory and subtly sweet flavor.
Wild rice and long-grain brown rice are wonderful grounding foods since they’re high in magnesium, amino acids, and potassium which balance the body and promote a rooted feeling. All grains, root vegetables (including carrots), and legumes (lentils, beans, peas) are great for this benefit as well. Wild and brown rice are also gentle on digestion, especially when blended down as they are here. They’re also naturally gluten-free and good sources of fiber. I love Lundberg wild rice as well as their brown basmati rice. Their wild blend variety is also perfect for this recipe.
Red lentils are a food I talk about a good bit here because I love them so much. They’re the one type of legume that my body seems to love and one that I know will never give me “issues” with my gut. Plus, I find the iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins in these especially energizing and balancing, along with the natural protein they contain. I always buy red split lentils whenever possible since their hulls have been removed and because they cook down more quickly and are easier to digest. Split lentils are actually tinier than most whole grains and are really creamy, subtly sweet, and excellent for natural cleansing and detox.
All the herbs in this recipe are packed with antioxidants and immune-supportive attributes. For example, bay leaf, oregano, marjoram, and thyme help fight viruses and bad bacteria in the body and support digestion as well. There are no spices in this recipe as herbs are more gentle to the body whereas spices can be a bit pungent. However, if you want a bit of “bite” to this recipe beyond what it offers, you could easily add in some red pepper flakes, cayenne, turmeric, or black pepper to the recipe; ginger would also be nice. Even a touch of garam masala might be fun here, too.
If you need any extra salt, feel free to add a pinch of pure pink Himalayan crystal salt instead of iodized salt. I’m not fond of really salty food, so I found the unsalted vegetable broth that I used to be plenty enough for flavor. I also added a little organic low-sodium miso paste (which has a little sodium in it) into the dish after it finished cooking for probiotics, immunity, and gut supportive benefits (see here for more).
If you’d like some other soup and stew recipes similar to this one, you might also like these recipes:
Feel free to let me know if you’d like more content on holistic health and what specifically you’re interested in. I’m looking forward to expanding the topics and types of recipes I create here this year!
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