Sliding in with a recipe that may not be the most holiday-appropriate (oopsy–check this page if you need some Thanksgiving inspiration though). You know what is appropriate though? Nourishing yourself simply as the social engagements start lining up and the to-do lists grow ever-longer. Even if you can detach yourself from some of the pressures of the holidays, the general atmosphere can be high-strung. From late November until the end of the year, your focus and precious time are stuck in a tug-of-war between your best intentions for calm and the seriously high demands of the season. Am I being dramatic or does anyone else feel this way at some point?
Throw some extra sugar, booze, the somewhat cluttered nature of festive decor (it’s cute but…), and a serious uptick in random spending on things most of us probably don’t need… and the grind of the holidays gets real real fast.
I don’t think food can solve all of these problems, but maybe slow cooking can? I mostly use my slow cooker for large batches of chickpeas, black beans etc. If I’m doing a more “finished product” kind of dish, I usually slam it on the high setting to get it done faster. The thing about slow cookers though, whether you use the high or low setting, is that they are quietly getting it done while you focus on other things. I know that this isn’t breaking news, but a reminder might be helpful this time of year.
This soup is somewhat similar to the root vegetable dal from my book, but with a significant coconut, lime, and spinach twist (and obviously the mega slow cooker twist). Another difference: the lentils seem to keep their shape in this recipe, despite the long cooking time. I run a sweet potato and onion through a box grater here so that the wispy shreds slowly melt around the lentils, eventually forming the body of the soup. Once you measure up your spices and grab a few pantry staples, this soup is pretty much in the bag. It’s a big batch that will feed you well for a while.
All my slow cooker people, hope you try this one. Stay slow and golden out there ;)
GOLDEN LENTIL SOUP WITH SWEET POTATOES, COCONUT, SPINACH & LIME
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: I only add the salt at the very end because I’m paranoid about adding it early and the lentils becoming tough as a result.
-This recipe is naturally oil-free, but I stirred a little coconut oil into the cooker at the end for that lush, fatty slick up top. Not necessary though!
-Grating sweet potatoes makes a huge mess, so I really do recommend doing it right within the slow cooker’s insert to keep it tidy.
-I dropped a dense dollop of coconut milk yogurt on top of our servings and it was heavenly. Highly recommend it!
-I think you could swing this on the “low” setting for 7-8 hours. One thing to remember is that spices tend to lose their power once you get into the 6-8 hour timeline. Taste and adjust if need be!
1 medium sweet potato, peeled (mine was around 375 grams)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
1 ½ cups split red lentils
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 14.5 ounce (428 ml) can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce (428 ml) can light coconut milk
4 cups water
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 ½ teaspoons black mustard seeds
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
2-3 dried curry leaves (optional)
ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups tightly packed baby spinach (or more if you like)
1 lime, juiced
sea salt, to taste
Set a box grater over/inside your slow cooker insert. Grate the sweet potato directly into the insert. Grate the yellow onion directly into the insert as well.
Rinse the red lentils thoroughly, until they stop foaming up in the strainer. Shake the excess moisture off and transfer them to your slow cooker insert.
To the insert, add the garlic, ginger, crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, water, turmeric, cayenne, mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves, and black pepper. Give it all a good stir. In all honesty it’s going to look sort of gross at this point.
Place the insert into your slow cooker unit, lock the lid on top, and set the cooker to “high.” Let the soup cook for 4 hours.
Once the 4 hours are up, carefully remove the lid and stir the soup up a bit. Add the spinach, lime juice, and enough salt to season to your liking. Stir the soup one more time and lock the lid back on. Keep the soup going on the “high” setting until the spinach is wilted.
Serve the soup hot with chopped cilantro.