In times of endless change, the soul desires comfort: soothing, calming energy, warm baths and thick socks. We may crave grounding practices, getting our hands in the dirt, dancing bare foot; we may yearn for gentler sounds, mellow music and empty houses. Our cravings of comfort are natural and normal; our body and mind meshing with the ebb and flow of the seasons, the dynamics of changing weather and the rotation of the earth.
Our cravings for foods are no different. Warmer weather melds with garden veggies, leafy greens, cold juices, and fresh fruit; the colder air brings a desire for warmth in stews and soups, chilli and tea. Tune in to these cycles; tune in to your cravings. What does your body need? What does your soul need? What are your cravings trying to tell you?
Here is a stew to comfort you on a cold day; a day of change or uncertainty; a day of grief or despair; a day you desire to be nurtured. This stew is both hearty and gentle, simmered with healing foods and flavoured with subtle notes. Make this stew for a friend in need, a tuckered child, or for your own asking soul. Be soothed. Be satisfied.
I could eat this stew all day. Every day. I’m not kidding.
Comforting Lentil Soup
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
3/4 cup french lentils, soaked (4-6 hours) and rinsed
4 cups vegetable stock
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 cups Swiss chard, rinsed and chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
In a large soup pot, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions and salt and saute until softened. Add garlic, ginger, celery, carrots, and spices and stir for a few minutes until fragrant. Add tomatoes, lentils, stock, and coconut milk, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25-35 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Add Swiss chard and lemon juice and simmer another 7-10 minutes until the chard is wilted and the flavours have blended. Adjust seasoning, as desired. Serve immediately, although, as with most stew, this will get better with a little age. Feel free to divide the stew amongst freezer safe containers and freeze some for an easy, nutrient-packed, weekday meal. Enjoy!
A note on lentils: Lentils are one of my favourite foods! They are earthy and grounding, high in soluble fibre, which makes them great for digestion and for maintaining stable blood sugars. They are a great source of plant-based protein and iron, and are supportive in proper energy production and metabolism function. Plus, they are tasty little guys and so satisfying for the belly!