The man I live with has been in crazy complaining mode for the past few days (sorry D!) “Oh, I can’t stop coughing”, “My throat is sore”, “My body’s all achy”, “Why am I SOOO tired”, and my personal favorite, “Why do I feel so bad, it’s not like I’m sick”. So I ask you this, Why do we all ignore, or refuse to believe, that when we don’t feel good, that means we’re sick? Even if we are still able to do all the things we usually do (feeling miserable the whole way) that doesn’t mean that we should. Let’s all promise to be kind to ourselves the next time we’re feeling under the weather and get some extra rest, cut out the sugar, and just eat some soup. Ok?
It took me a while to convince Darren that he needed to take it easy, and after some pleading, he finally let me take care of him. I made him this soup. Super simple ingredients, most of which you can keep on hand, minimal prep work, and deeply nourishing, this is a good soup for the sick. Cook some onions and oil, then add red lentils and brown rice, and cook til done. This is one recipe where you have to use red lentils, and not another type, because they break down and create bulk in the soup. Also, feel free to garnish with whatever you have. I used toasted almonds and some fresh herbs. To up the nourishing factor, I used miso to flavor the broth. I have a few types in the fridge for different things. A light miso (sweet brown rice or chickpea) is good for cooking. I like to use it for complex creaminess when I don’t want to use cheese. A hearty dark miso (3 year barley’s the best, or hearty brown rice) are more medicinal, so I use them when I’m sick. I combined them both in this recipe, but if you just have one kind, that’s fine, too. If you’re in the market for miso, South River Miso is my favorite.
Red Lentil Soup
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 c. red lentils, rinsed
1/2 c. brown rice, I used short grain, but basmati would be nice
5 c. water
1/4 c. miso, I used 2 T. light and 2 T. dark
for garnish: toasted almonds, chopped herbs, etc.
Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, 7-8 minutes. Add lentils, rice and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the rice is tender (make sure to check the rice, it could need up to 15 minutes more, depending on the rice).
Scoop out about a cup of soup. I used my 1 c. pyrex liquid measuring cup. Add the miso to the cup and dissolve. Add the cup back into the soup pot and stir. Keep cooking over medium low for a few more minutes, making sure not to let it boil (it kills the medicinal properties of the miso).
Serve, garnished with some toasted nuts, herbs, or what have you.
*Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Red Lentil Soup.