Even in Florida, we love to have relatively cooler weather and a warm, comforting meal. That means when the thermometer drops below 75 degrees, I bring out the soup pot. And, what better way to get through midweek than with a hot bowl of soup, loaded with nutrition?

If you haven’t added lentils to your diet yet, today is your day! Lentils are a great source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, but are particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate and iron. Here’s how lentils stack up in a one cup serving:

  • FIBER: (16 grams) 63 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily allowance of fiber for an adult man or woman on a 2,000-calorie diet.
  • PROTEIN: (18 grams) 32% of men’s daily requirement and 39% of womens. Unlike other animal based proteins, one cup of lentils contain less than 1 gram of fat, negligible saturated fat and no cholesterol.
  • FOLATE/FOLIC ACID/B-9: (358micrograms) nearly 100% of the 400 microgram daily requirement for adults. Important for mental health and for making DNA, RNA, and blood cells, folate is critical for the health of the cardiovascular system, nervous system, and digestive system.
  • IRON: 87% of men’s daily requirement and 38% of women’s. This is important for healthy production of red blood cells.

These stats are outstanding, and they go a long way towards decreasing the risk of many serious medical problems including stroke, heart disease, diabetes, high blood cholesterol and hypertension. LENTIL SOUP WITH CHICKEN (makes 4 servings)

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup TruRoots Organic green lentils

6 cups reduced sodium vegetable or chicken broth

2-3 Organic chicken breasts

One 28 oz. can Muir Glen Organic fire roasted tomatoes

1 small yellow onion, diced small

2 celery sticks, with leaves, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup Cilantro

1 lime, halved

Chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, salt to taste

Garnishes: sliced avocado, limes, onion, cilantro,

STEPS:

  1. Rinse lentils and place in large soup pot, covered with water. Bring to boil over high heat, drain and rise under cold water. Set aside and return pot to stove.
  2.  Bring broth to boil in stock pot, add chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked.  Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken and transfer to a plate until cool and ready to handle for shredding.
  3. Increase heat to high and add lentils, tomatoes, onion, celerity, carrot, and bay leaf to soup pot. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are tender, approximately 30-45 minutes.
  4. Add shredded chicken, squeeze of lime, cilantro, and spices to taste. Allow flavors to mix for another 5 minutes or until soup is to desired consistency. It will thicken to a stew with time.
  5. Serve in bowls, top with garnishes.

Serve with citrus wedges, cornbread, or chips for dipping!…An easy, healthy dish that the whole family will enjoy!