In the New Year, when the holidays have come and gone leaving us eager to cleanse, I say, just wait a bit, get cooking some soup! According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), winter is the time to nourish and clean up, not clean out.  It is a time to slow down and nest, and while my skis and bike are calling me, I have to remind myself that the body works in mysterious ways and will thank you by working more efficiently if you throw down and snuggle in for a little extra time.

The water element takes the helm during the winter months, and can be nourished by taking some time to hydrate deeply as moisture is pulled out of the air with dropping temperatures.  Easy to digest teas and soup can support and aid the kidneys  and bladder in their ability to rehydrate the body and filtrate the blood.  Because the kidneys are our foundation, it is important to allow them some time for restful nourishment.  Slow cooked soups are some of the best ways to prepare the body for cleaning out come spring.  I like to start the year off with this spiced up lentil stew using 3 types of lentils - black, green and red.  This took less than an hour to prepare and requires few ingredients.  Saving time in the kitchen means more time to cozy up under some blankets.



2 cups mixed lentils, soaked for 1 hour, drained, 

4-6 cups broth

2 teaspoons coconut oil

3/4 of a white or red onion

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 green chile, seeds removed, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 knob of ginger, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch of pepper

1-2 cups coconut milk

Garnish with chopped mint, cilantro and lime



Heat oil in a pan add garlic, onion and ginger, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add chile and mix until combined.  Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and pepper, stirring to combine.  Stir in lentils. Add tomatoes and stock, bring to a boil, then turn to simmer, covering for 20 minutes or until lentils are al dente. Finish with 1-2 cups of full fat coconut milk.

Season with salt and pepper and garnish with cilantro, mint and lime.