I think I speak for everyone around me when I say I’ve had it up to here with the Penn State plague. Every day I go to sleep hoping that I won’t wake up in the middle of the night coughing, or the next morning with a sore throat. Sadly, hoping has just not done the job. So what does that mean? Oh yes. It’s soup time.
While the traditional go-to is definitely chicken noodle, I’m really not on the chicken-with-broth-and-like-two-vegetable-pieces bandwagon. Really, all it’s really got going for it is the broth and almost every soup’s got that. So this week, I figured I’d go against the grain show you guys a soup recipe that I saw on one of my favorite food blogs — green kitchen stories — with a few adaptations for a college budget. This soup is both savory and delicious and roughly 20 times healthier than the ol’ chicken noodle.
While there are a bunch of variations on the idea — Ireland’s is carrot-heavy and blended to make a purée; Vietnam does it with a light vegetable or chicken broth and broccoli, bean sprouts, and noodles; and the list goes on—this soup is great for the less-than-healthy college student because it’s packed with fresh veggies and has just enough kick to clear your sinuses — plus it’s so easy to make!
But wait — do you guys know about ginger? Oh yeah. Ginger’s your new best friend. While people rarely use raw ginger in cooking in the United States, it is very popular in Asian dishes. Ginger can be a great way to spice up your cooking and add complex flavor to almost any dish. More importantly to the sick reader, though, is that ginger is a great anti-inflammatory. It is an extremely effective treatment of nausea and can help boost the body’s immune system. Preliminary studies even indicate that ginger may be helpful in cancer prevention and in preventing further tumor growth in cancer patients. When buying ginger, you should look for a piece that is firm to the touch and fragrant when you break off a piece. The flesh inside should be yellow, not gray.
Now, on to the recipe!
What you’ll need:
A big pot
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
chili powder to taste
2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
3.5 cups canned plum tomatoes
2 cups water
pinch sea salt
1/4 head cauliflower or broccoli, cut into pieces
1 zucchini, cut into pieces
3/4 cup frozen peas (I used green beans but I think peas would be much easier to eat with a spoon)
1 1/2 cup cooked beans of your choice
What to do:
1. Begin by sautéing the garlic and onion in the olive oil over medium heat; stir frequently to avoid burning.
2. When onion becomes soft but BEFORE the garlic starts to burn, add the ginger, turmeric and chili powder. Let cook for one minute.
3. Add tomatoes, lentils, water and salt. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add chopped vegetables and peas. Cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked and soft but not mushy.
5. Stir in beans and take off heat. Let sit for 5 minutes so that the beans are infused with the flavor of the soup.
Photo by Corinne Fierro