Friday, 20 April 2012

Lentil Soup for Picky Eaters

I have one child who loves greens and all things healthy, except mushrooms, which I am still working on.  And then I have another child who if given the chance would eat sugar, starch and meat all the time.  Obviously I'm not going to give into that, that would be madness.  So trying to get little V to eat her greens and good healthy food requires some creativity.  Enter stage left, Earthy Lentil soup. Among the many things I have come to learn in my 9 years of parenting is that most kids don't like complicated flavours, at least not mine.  Roast chicken dinner with potatoes and vegetables a big hit! Bean and cheese burritos with salad and guacamole, a hit!  Risotto Bianco, a hit!  Curry vegetables on rice, not so much.  Now, before I continue I must stress that I believe that it takes at least 9 times of offering something to kids before they will gain an appreciation for it.  Little L used to hate greens, wouldn't touch them.  We kept offering them and now if given the choice he would eat salad over anything.  Little V is also learning to love her greens too.  It takes persistence and I believe there are so many wonderful foods out there that it is a crime when parents feed their kids brown food just because they don't want the fight.  

Gaining an appreciation for good food starts early and it starts at home.
So when I too don't have the energy for the dinner struggle, I make this lentil soup.  I have a friend who also has picky eaters and I gave her this recipe only to get a call that night that her kids not only loved it they asked her to make it again.  It is super healthy, easy to make and is lovely with some nice bread and a salad.  Sometimes I even make pita chips if I'm in the mood.  I highly encourage you to make this and it tastes even better the next day.  And please don't be put off by the list of herbs and spices, these are all good things to have in your pantry anyway.  Happy eating!

Earthy Lentil Soup

2 good glugs of good olive oil
1 red onion diced
3 stalks celery diced
3 carrots diced
4 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp summer savoury (this is such a great herb with lentils!)
1/2 tsp dried or fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp dried or fresh thyme
3 tsp Garam Masala ( you can use curry powder in a pinch)
2-3 bay leaves
2 cups French or little brown lentils
2 cups stock (chicken or veg)
6-7 cups water
1 1/2 tsp Tamari (or soy sauce if that's what you have)
2-3 tsp molasses
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 lemon
plain yogourt

In a large pot over med heat, heat olive oil
Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and saute until soft.
Add all herbs and spices and cook for a few more minutes, letting everything get caramelized and full of flavour, be careful not to burn.
Add lentils, stock, water, molasses, Tamari and bay leaves and stir through
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook 1 hour.
Just before serving add salt, pepper, juice of lemon and chopped parsley.
Serve with a spoonful of plain yogourt (greek if you have it) and a bit more parsley.
Enjoy watching your kids eat without complaint!

Thank you Belly Monster for this recipe.

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