#MondayMeals: Greek Lentil Soup- A Mediterranean Comfort Food

December 10, 2018

Φακές σούπα

 

"fah-kess soo-pa"

 

It’s been a cold week! Fortunately, we know the perfect cozy #MondayMeal to warm up with.

 

 

 

Greek lentil soup is a hearty winter soup that is as good as a blanket on a cold winter’s night. It’s a very popular fall and winter dish in Greece and derives from an ancient recipe. It has few ingredients, is low-cost, and is packed full of flavor and nutrients.

 

This recipe is a part of the Mediterranean diet. This diet has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years due to evidence that it can lower the risk of heart disease and reduce the instances of Parkinson’s, cancer, and dementia. The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the best diets to maintain health, as determined by peer-reviewed scientific studies. It emphasizes eating meals consisting of primarily plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Butter is also replaced with healthier fats such as olive oil. This diet recommends limiting the consumption of red meats and using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor meals.

 

These healthful ingredients used in Greek lentil soup are flavorful and nutritious!

 

 

 

Lentils are rich in protein, fiber, iron, and potassium. Lentils are also fat-free. They help to lower cholesterol and therefore lower the risk of stroke and heart disease. The high level of fiber found in lentils is also good for digestive health and stabilizing blood sugar.

 

 

Olive oil is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants which may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, fight inflammation, and lower the risk of heart disease. The anti-inflammatory properties lessen the risk of dementia, arthritis and obesity. Olive oil might also lower the risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, olive oil has antibacterial properties that can kill harmful bacteria that lead to stomach ulcers and cancer.

 

 

Garlic is low in calories but rich in manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, and selenium. It also contains iron, calcium, copper, vitamin B1, potassium, and phosphorous. These nutrients can boost immune system function, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.

 

 

 

 

Onions are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may reduce the risk of cancer, obesity, and heart disease. The high amounts of vitamin C found in onions are also good for skin and hair.

 

 

 

Carrots are well-known for their nutritional value, and are heralded as a great source of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin A, potassium, and antioxidants. They are also low in fat. The nutrients present in carrots can lead to a reduced risk of cancer, lower cholesterol, and are good for eye health.

 

 

 

Red wine vinegar is low in fat and calories. It also contains antioxidants that can reduce the risk of cancerous cell growth.

 

These nutritious ingredients are available from local distributors such as The Local Food Market on Main Street in Cortland. Buying local is great for your taste buds and the local economy. Be sure to enjoy great local foods and flavors this holiday season!

 

Recipe

 

Each family might create their own version of the recipe by adding a cup of carrots, celery, potatoes, diced tomatoes, or extra herbs. It is also common to top the soup with feta cheese or Kalamata olives. With a side of whole grain bread, this healthy recipe is the perfect comfort food for a cold winter's day.

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