When discussing the anti-cancer diet in general, Dr. Servan-Schreiber in his book, Anti-Cancer, states: “The anticancer diet is principally composed of vegetables (and legumes) accompanied by olive (or canola or flaxseed) oil or organic butter [by organic butter I think he means organic butter from grass-fed cows, which should have much less saturated fat than regular butter], garlic, herbs, and spices. Meat and eggs are optional. They don’t represent the main ingredients of the plate.” (page 119)
For Americans that are used to a meat and potatoes diet, it’s a challenge to create a meal that features legumes (beans, lentils or split peas) and that everyone will enjoy. To that end, I share with you my favorite Lentil and Chickpea Soup. In one variation or another (I almost never make the same recipe twice in exactly the same manner), it’s been a family favorite.
Lentil and Chickpea Soup (crock pot)
This recipe is based on the traditional Moroccan chickpea soup called Harira.
a few tablespoons olive oil
2 medium size onions, finely chopped
4 vegetable or chicken broth bullion cubes
4 cups water (preferably filtered water)
1, 19-ounce can chickpeas (including liquid)
1, 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- The best flavor, in my opinion, is from the Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- I prefer Muir Glen canned products because they come in white enamel lined cans (no plastic liner)
- If you only have canned whole tomatoes on hand, you can use them, too. Using clean hands, squeeze the tomatoes so that they break apart and the tomato pieces slide through your fingers and into the crockpot. (Doesn’t sound great, but it works well.)
1 slightly heaping teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon Celon cinnamon
- For food safety information regarding different varieties of cinnamon, see the Update in the post, Cinnamon: Steel-Cut Oats in a Crockpot.
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- When I use chopped cilantro in cooking, I almost always use the cilantro stems too.
1 cup lentils (regular dried lentils from the supermarket are fine), rinsed
- The only lentils I could find in the supermarket were packaged with a flavor packet for making soup. So I used the lentils and not the packet.
- My Smooth and Mild Garlic Flavor Cubes were frozen and had been made in a mini muffin tin. The cubes were slightly less than half an inch in height.
Additions to add at the table, so everyone can add exactly the amount desired
chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (curly parsley is OK too)
- It’s amazing how a few squirts of fresh lemon juice perks up the flavor
smoked paprika (optional)
- Smoked paprika is a marvelous seasoning, which adds a hint of smokiness and lots of vitamin A besides.
- Available at many gourmet stores and from Penzeys.
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large heavy bottom saucepan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil, and when the oil is hot, add the onions. Saute the onions, stirring as needed. The onions are cooked when they are slightly translucent. Add the cooked onions to the crock pot.
Reconstitute the bullion cubes with the water. Then pour the bullion into the crock pot.
Then add the following ingredients to the crock pot:
chickpeas (including liquid)
freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh cilantro
garlic flavor cubes
Cover the crock pot and cook on low overnight or while you are at work OR just as long as it takes for the lentils to cook (which is probably just an hour or two on low…but you should test them for doneness and not go by my time estimate, because it’s just an estimate).
To serve the soup…
Place a 3 or 4 heaping tablespoons of cooked quinoa into each bowl.
Spoon a few ladles of soup over the quinoa.
At the table, pass the following flavorings and garnishes…
chopped fresh Italian parsley (or regular curly parsley)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Enjoy and be healthy,