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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

College Cooking: Crockpot Coconut Cashew Soup with Lentils & Kale

College students need to use crockpots! You can make meals overnight or during the day while you're in class!

Time: 6 hours | Serves: 2-3

1 1/2 cups raw whole cashews
1 cup veggie broth + 1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
1-2 cups green lentils
3/4 cups coconut milk
3 cups of kale
Spices (tweak to your tastes):
1 tbs turmeric
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp pink or sea salt
1 tsp fresh ginger
(1-3 cups) Water to desired consistency
Cilantro (optional)
Crockpot liner

Line your crockpot (trust me, it makes clean-up a breeze.
Soak your cashews with the broth and water for 3 hours minimum (6 hours if you have it). Here is a good guide to soaking nuts, especially if you want to activate them for a snack. I soaked my lentils for 3 hours in a separate bowl but they can also be soaked overnight for 6-10 hours.
Blend in a food processor with onion and garlic. Pour back into your crockpot and add lentils, spices, and coconut milk. Then add water to your desired consistency. You can always add more during the cooking process if you feel it is becoming too thick. 
Cook for 1 hour on high.
Add about 3 cups of shredded, massaged kale.
Cook for 1 hour on low.
Sprinkle in some cilantro or use as garnish.
You can stir some water in at the end to cool your soup down so you can eat it right away :)

Nutritional profile:
Kale, said to be the world's healthiest food, is anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant rich. It is full of vitamins K, A, and C. lt boasts a high mineral content of manganese, which helps your body utilize nutrients and is key for strong bones. It's also a green source of calcium, and lowers bad cholesterol.
Cashews are high in essential nutrients like copper, manganese, tryptophan and magnesium. They also contain heart-protective monounsaturated fatty acids. If you are predisposed to diabetes or watching your triglycerides, snack on these nuts. They are good to the body and tastebuds.
Lentils contain folate, fiber, and protein - just to name a few. They're a nutritional powerhouse and also great if you're looking to pump some iron and bulk up your muscles. They stabilize blood sugar levels while providing steady energy to keep you going.
Tips for getting the most out of your garlic and onions: Don't overpeel your onion. Nutrients are highly concentrated in the outer layers. This recipe is perfect because you can toss it in the processor without worrying about it being tough. Let your garlic sit after your chop it. Heating garlic right after it is cut kills more of it's anti-cancer properties than letting it rest for a few minutes while prepping your other ingredients.
Cilantro is phyto-nutrient dense and fights free radicals, cloves have vitamins and surprisingly omega 3s too, coconut milk is rich in MCFAs which are processed more beneficially than other saturated fats, turmeric is anti-cancer and anti-neurodegenerative, ginger boosts the immune system, and cayenne contains pain-relieving capsaicin and vitamin A!

Create, share, love at first bite!