Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year And Oven Roasted Tomato and Red Lentil Soup



A very Happy New Year to all.

Year 2013 was really hard on us. We were plagued by health issues and personal problems.
The good news: its over.
A brand new year and a brand new start.

I am glad we stuck together as a family in tough times and emerged as tougher individuals. The year actually ended on a positive note. I finally overcame my paranoia about driving. I had a near fatal accident in 2006, which led to my compulsive road phobia. Thankfully it is in past tense now.  



I haven't been cooking a lot lately. Its mostly salads, baked chicken or fish, with brown rice or quinoa. If I ever has a soup craving, I would pop open a Progresso can. Such was life and it sucked.




The other day, Sam found some really fresh ripe tomatoes in Kroger. "Its been ages we had fresh tomato soup", he mentioned. I got my cue.



I prefer roasting my tomatoes rather than stewing them. The smokey flavor and the caramelized sweetness of roasted tomatoes imparts the deliciousness to my soup. Roasting the garlic is also a MUST. I am so addicted to the candy like sweetness of roasted garlic, that I always make more than I require. I love snacking on them.





Tomato Soups are generally on the thinner side. Heavy cream is usually added to make it creamier and yummier. I, however, went for a handful of red lentils to act as the thickener. Red lentils not only thickens the soup and imparts a delicious earthiness, it also adds a bust of protein and soluble fiber. 


This delicious soup can be a part of your lunch or dinner. For a light lunch have it with few whole wheat crackers. For dinner pair it with whole wheat bread, baked/grilled fish and leafy salad.






Recipe Snapshot: Oven Roasted Tomato and Red Lentil Soup 

Serves: 4 serving
(1 serving = 3/4 cup)

What I used:
Tomatoes - 1 lb (3 big or 4 medium sized), quartered

Red Lentil - 1/4 cup

Garlic - 6-8 fat cloves (or more if you so desire)

Onion - 1 medium sized, chopped

Vegetable stock or water - 5 - 7 cups (depending on the consistency you want)

Salt

Pepper

Canola or olive oil - 2 tbsp

Extra Virgin olive oil for drizzling

What I did:
1. Preheat the oven at 450F.

2. In aluminium foil add the quartered tomatoes and the garlic. Drizzle with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and salt. Roast it in the oven for 20-25 mins till the tomatoes are soft and slightly charred.

3.  In a stock pot, heat two tablespoon of oil and add the chopped onion. Saute till the onions are soft and slightly brown. 

4. Add the roasted tomatoes and the garlic and all the delicious juices they released. Saute for two more minuets, breaking and pulping the tomatoes with the spatula. 

5. Add the vegetable stock or water. Chicken stock can also be used. V8 (Tomato juice) is also an wonderful option. Start with 5 cups of liquid.and add more if required. Bring the liquid to a boil.

6. Add the lentil and let it simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes or till the lentils are completely cooked and mushy and dissolved in the liquid. The soup would have tuned thicker. 

7. Now either using a hand-held immersion blender or standard blender, blend everything until smooth. If using a blender/processor, definitely remove the plug on the lid and cover with a thick kitchen towel. This with allow the heat to vent without a creating a big mess!

8.. Once blended, add more liquid if required. Bring it back to a simmer and check the seasoning and adjust the salt accordingly.  

9. Garnish with a dash of pepper and chopped cilantro/ coriander leaves (optional) and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

10. Serve hot with bread or crackers. 



Notes/Tip: This soup does not have many ingredients. The garlic is the most pronounced flavor in this soup along with the subtle tang from the tomatoes. If you have really tart tomatoes, decrease the quantity of tomatoes and increase the amount of lentil or add a a little sugar to balance out.



Diabetic Platter: 
Tomatoes are one of the low-calorie vegetables containing just 18 calories per 100 g. They are also very low in any fat contents and have zero cholesterol levels. Nonetheless, they are excellent sources of antioxidants (Lycopene, Zea-xanthin), dietary fiber, minerals (potassium, iron, calcium, manganese) and vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin C). Because of their all-round qualities, dietitians and nutritionists often recommend them to be included in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
Source: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/tomato.html

Red Lentils, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But this is far from all lentils have to offer. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up—not out.
Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=52




2 comments:

  1. Lovely and vibrant looking tomato soup. Wonderful pics. What a dish to start the New Year. Kudos to you.
    Deepa

    ReplyDelete

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