Lentil soup sounds …dull! But done right, lentil soup is simple, and simply delicious. Hands down, this a favorite for my family and with visitors too.
As is true with all my recipes, this one is inspired by the needs of kids in my pediatric nutrition practice. Fair to say, just about all of them have gut dysbiosis, and many of them, to an extreme and debilitating degree. They are managing conditions like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, multiple food protein allergies, food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and more. So, finding food that they can (a) tolerate (b) grow on and (c) enjoy is paramount. This lentil soup recipe fits the bill. Besides being easy to make, it replenishes with a variety of healthy starches, protein, micronutrients and fiber; it’s gentle on the digestion; and it tastes really good.
I use red lentils for this recipe, because they are easier to digest and softer than other lentils. Though it isn’t necessary in general, I rinse lentils before cooking and I soak them overnight, or for a few hours at least. This makes them even easier to digest when the delicate tissue in the small intestine has inflammation or decreased function. I also cook my lentil soup for about 3 hours. You will see most any recipe for lentil soup using red lentils suggests a cooking time of perhaps 30 minutes or even less. It’s safe to eat at that point and many people have no problem with that. But, for my intents and purposes, it is more digestible and tastes a lot better when cooked slowly for a lot longer.
I prefer doing this on a stove top in a big pot, on a day when I can set it up and then keep an eye on it simmering for a few hours. It can also be done in a crock pot. In that case, sauté the first ingredients til soft with seasonings, then add the lentils and liquid to your crockpot and set for two hours.
Simple Savory Lentil Soup
An easy recipe to master, soothing and nourishing. Enjoy with favorite grain free roll ups (Siete Almond Flour tortillas pictured here) or GF rustic bread like Kim and Jakes' peasant loaf.
Rinse lentils, then place in large pot. Cover with filtered cold water and let soak overnight or for at least 3 hours. They will open and look like this:
Drain lentils and set aside. Wipe pot dry to remove remaining water from soaking. Add bacon fat and olive oil over medium heat til melted. Add chopped scallions, garlic, and carrots, cook for 3-4 minutes til softening. Add thyme, sage, and rosemary and combine well with simmering veggies. Cook 1-2 minutes more.
Add salt and parsley and combine with all ingredients. Once evenly combined, add lentils and combine evenly again. Add chicken broth and bring to a low boil. Continue at low boil/simmer for 2 hours, or longer if thicker smoother texture is preferred. Add more broth as needed.
The only Navy Bean Soup I ever had growing up came out of a can and I didn’t like it very much, so I wasn’t inclined to make my own – until I had clients needing a version that was delicious and easy to digest for myriad special diets. This Navy Bean Soup version is legal for Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Navy beans are one of few beans and legumes allowed on this diet. That means it has no grains and no starches in it that are tough for a compromised gut to digest. Kids with Crohns, inflammatory bowel conditions, irritable bowel, or multiple food allergies may be able to enjoy this satisfying soup. The key to this recipe working well for tender tummies is soaking the beans overnight before preparing the soup.
As I poked around for versions to launch from for this recipe, I found old standards like Senate Bean Soup – a thick and smoky soup that, in some versions, leans on mashed white potato to thicken it so it has a rich chowder-y texture. Potatoes are a no-go for SCD folks, so those are omitted here – but add them if you like! For the broth, I often use my own homemade chicken broth which is SCD legal in its preparation. If this isn’t an option, look for unsweetened plain organic chicken broth in quart boxes such as Imagine brand Organic Chicken Bone Broth.
Rinse the dried beans in a colander with running water until foamy bubbles diminish or disappear.
Place the rinsed beans in a large pot and cover with filtered water. Add ~ 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and let soak overnight, or for 8 hours.
After soaking, drain the beans and rinse thoroughly, then set aside.
Wipe the large pot dry. Add bacon fat, ghee and olive oil and melt over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, celery, parsley, and scallions. If desired, add other vegetables here also.
Cook these til nearly soft, about five minutes. Add thyme and bay leaves, and stir vegetables to blend herbs throughout.
Add rinsed beans and stir with vegetables and herbs to evenly combine everything. Then cover with 8 cups (2 quart boxes) of chicken broth. Stir again to distribute everything evenly throughout the broth.
Bring to a low boil. Add honey, optional maple syrup, tamari, and lemon juice. Cover to simmer at low boil for 2-3 hours, or until beans are very soft.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sprinkling of fresh parsley leaves and enjoy!
Butternut squash with pasta and brats – ? What the – ?
When a family member first suggested this recipe, I couldn’t imagine it working. It just sounded weird. But, this butternut and brats combo works well, thanks to the unexpected collaboration between whole lemon, garlic, and good brats. It’s a regular in our rotation now, and it can be totally AIP (autoimmune Paleo) friendly – just use a grain free pasta. My favorite for this dish is Tolerant Organic Lentil Penne Pasta. It’s hearty in texture and flavor, and beats the bland, limp taste and texture that rice pasta can suffer. For the bratwurst, a good option if you are sticking to AIP, SCD (specific carbohydrate diet), or just fiercely avoiding sugars (common in cured or processed meats including sausage and brats) is this Organic Chicken Bratwurst from Whole Foods. Any favorite brand of your own will do!
If you have time to bake a fresh organic butternut squash, this tastes best, IMO. If not, a good option can be tapped with this organic canned butternut squash. It makes the recipe even faster and easier. And speaking of fast and easy, a couple of tools are handy for this recipe, if you don’t have them already: An ice cream scoop, to scoop fresh butternut out of its skin; and, silicone oven mitts, so you can handle said butternut once it is out of the oven. Since the recipe calls for adding honey and ghee to the butternut while hot, you’ll need to scoop it out just about fresh from the oven.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
AIP Butternut and Brats Pasta
A simple one dish meal, warm, hearty, satisfying, and surprisingly delightful!
If you are baking a fresh butternut squash for this recipe, start this about 90 minutes before you want the dish ready.
- Slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and place face down in a glass ovenproof dish with 1/2 inch of water in it. Use two dishes if needed.
- Place in a 400 degree oven and bake x 1 hour, til a knife poked through the skin moves easily through the squash.
- Once baked soft, remove the squash from oven. Scoop the baked squash out of its skin - an ice cream scoop works well for this task. You may want to wear silicone oven mitts too, as the squash will be very hot, or simply let it cool enough to handle.
- Scoop it into a mixing bowl or food processor. Add the ghee (or butter), honey, and dash of salt. Blend til ghee/butter melts through and all ingredients are evenly mixed. Set aside, keeping the squash warm.
- If using canned squash, heat it in microwave or on stove top, add ghee, honey and salt, and set aside.
Remove bratwurst from the package and slice it into thick coins, before cooking.
Heat olive oil in large skillet to medium-high temperature. Add the sliced bratwurst and brown on both sides of coins.
Lower heat to medium and add minced garlic and scallion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, enough to soften but not burn the garlic.
Squeeze juice of each lemon wedge in to the sauté to deglaze the pan. Once juice is squeezed out, drop each lemon quarter in to the skillet and continue cooking on low-medium heat for 2 more minutes, so the lemon rinds soften.
Stir in the cooked squash and blend well with the sauté.
Toss the squash sauté over the cooked pasta and serve warm.
We happened to have a bigger than usual squash to use up on the day that we cooked up this recipe - so our images show a lot of squash. No need to go that big, but it works either way.
Larb (aka Laab) is a Thai dish that can be modified nicely for young eaters: It’s not too spicy (unless you up the heat), it can be fast and easy to make, and it has a good profile for protein and minerals, thanks to turkey or pork and a line up of fresh herbs. The generous garlic is a good gut health helper, with antimicrobial action and ability to bust up biofilm. Traditionally, larb is a spicy ground pork dish crafted into an aromatic salad and served with toasted rice and sticky rice. If you get a chance, enjoy it at an authentic Thai restaurant soon.
For your home table, make this fast version inspired by the real thing. Even babies learning pincer grasp feeding can enjoy it, provided they are sitting well, and have skills settling in for chewing, swallowing, along with some baby teeth. Older kids can enjoy this with brown rice, sticky rice, congee, or in lettuce wraps. It’s shown here with congee and a side of roasted zucchini.
Ground Turkey Larb - Fast and Easy Kid Friendly
A simple fast savory dish that can be enjoyed across ages. Use organic ingredients for best flavor and health.
Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook on medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes; do not burn. Add turkey, smoked paprika, chili flakes( if hotter spice is desired, omit if not), salt, and pepper. Stir and cook until turkey is browned, about 2 minutes.
Stir in tamari and chicken broth, simmer for a minute. Then add scallions, mint, and cilantro. Cook until turkey is done, about 5 minutes.
Add lime juice and stir evenly throughout the skillet.
Serve with hearty lettuce leaves like butter lettuce or romaine for lettuce wraps, fresh cucumber on top, or over sticky rice, congee, or any side your kids like.
This SCD Turkey Chili comes together pretty fast, and is proof that eating SCD or Paleo doesn’t mean you never get to eat chili.
This works as a fast recipe if you allow a few cheats. I use store bought prepared goods for the navy beans, mild green enchilada sauce, and broth. These are normally a big fat no when strictly following SCD. If you need this to be SCD legal and have the time, it can still work – soak and prepare navy beans per SCD guidelines; make your own scratch SCD legal enchilada sauce.
Back to the short cut: I used Whole Foods 365 Organic Canned Navy Beans, which contain only navy beans and water – no gums, no seaweeds. I drain and rinse these thoroughly. Next I used Siete Family Foods Mild Green Enchilada sauce. It has no added sugars, only dates as a sweetener, and this is SCD legal. But it does have vinegar in it, as well as small amounts of flax and chia seeds. This may work for those advanced and stable on SCD, or on Paleo diets. Lastly, I use Pacific brand Organic Chicken Bone Broth if I don’t have my own homemade on hand. Store bought broths are famous for having added sugars, starches, mystery “flavorings” and other sketchy ingredients that can make trouble for people needing SCD foods, but this brand fills the bill.
SCD Friendly Turkey Chili
Modest on the heat, this is a delicious soothing chili that will feel good in just about any tummy. Dial up spice if you like by adding diced jalapeños to the saute.
In a large pot, heat olive oil to medium. Add minced garlic, peppers, celery, and scallions. Sauté until soft.
Add coriander, paprika, and cumin. Stir to evenly distribute.
Next add the ground turkey. Use a wood or metal spatula to chop it into smaller pieces as it cooks, so it doesn't clump together. Add salt. Cook until turkey is no longer pink.
Add enchilada sauce, mix evenly into the pot and heat through. Then add navy beans, and broth. Continue cooking on a low bubbling simmer until chili is evenly cooked through.
Just before serving, squeeze each lime section over the chili to let the juice drip in. Squish out all the juice you can from each piece, then drop the piece of lime into the chili. Stir to spread lime juice in the chili, and heat for a few more minutes to let the lime add flavor settle in.