Lentil Soup for healthy, resilient skin

Don’t you just love hearty soups in the fall? Divya from Flavour Fiesta whips together a delicious lentil soup that is rich in fiber and nutrients, a sure-fire means to keep your skin healthy and resilient before we head into the cold winter months…

Autumn is starting to creep up on us slowly – first the chilly winds and now the leaves are changing colours. The gorgeous orange and yellow leaves on the trees outside my window inspired me to use orange lentils for this week’s recipe. I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of lentils, but since they are nutritious and are perfect for the fall weather, why not give them a shot? Orange split lentils are one of the easiest lentils to cook quickly, even if you don’t have a pressure cooker. They cook in less than 20 minutes, making them perfect for weeknight dinners!

This recipe is inspired by the rich, earthy flavours of Indian cuisine and has an unexpected twist -horseradish mustard! I think horseradish mustard is a perfect way to add some subtle acidity and a little zing to any dish. I like to call it my “secret ingredient”…shhhh.
To make this soup even more skin-friendly, I’ve tossed in some spinach and tomatoes. You could also add other fall vegetables such as kale, swiss chard or cooked parsnips – the possibilities are endless. What’s guaranteed is a quick and easy dish that will definitely warm you up on those chilly fall nights!

serves 4-6

1.5 cups orange lentils (a.k.a masoor dal)
4.5 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp oil
1 onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1.5 cup spinach
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp horseradish mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Rinse the lentils thoroughly in a sieve. Boil the water and add the lentils, cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt. Heat on medium heat for 15 minutes. Skim any foam throughout the process.
Step 2: While the lentils are cooking, in a separate pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and chilli powder and stir for 30 seconds. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the coriander powder and chopped ginger and continue to stir for 30 seconds.
Step 3: Add the spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes. Once the spinach has cooked down, add the tomato and cook for 2 minutes.
Step 4: Add the spinach, onion and tomato mixture to the lentils and blend well using an electric blender. Prior to serving the soup add salt, pepper and horseradish mustard. Enjoy!

Of course, the best way to achieve silky, smooth complexions is to optimize your overall health and well-being. When eating for skin health, I really try to focus on two things: 1) Take care of your stomach (Traditional Chinese Medicinal belief for healthy skin) and 2) improve your circulation (which will help carry the necessary nutrients to all parts of your body and flush out unwanted toxins). Today’s lentil soup will do just that…

Orange Lentils: Because lentils are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, your stomach gets a ‘work-out’ digesting this ingredient, which will keep you fuller longer (short-term benefit) and boost your stomach’s overall health (long-term benefit – think gym for your stomach). It’s also a good source of iron and thus a good source of energy – you may soon notice yourself walking around with a bit more ‘bounce’ in your step.

Tomatoes: Contains the red carotenoid, lycopene, an antioxidant known to protect the skin against photo-damage and environmental pollutants. Get excited – recent studies reveal increasing your intake of lycopene can lead to smoother skin.

Spinach: This dark leafy green ranks as one of the top vegetables on my list for skin health. Brimming with skin-glowing ingredients like vitamins C, E, manganese, zinc and selenium – spinach should really become a regular part of your ‘beauty diet’. Spinach also contains various flavonoids that work as anti-inflammatories – just what the doctor ordered to fight against those irritating, free-radical-generating environmental pollutants.

Cumin Seeds: These little seeds are also packed with iron – if you’re pregnant, vegetarian, or you just want to be strong and healthy, you should definitely be taking note of this ingredient! Expect a surge of energy, improved metabolism, better digestion, and perhaps even better detoxifying abilities…

Cinnamon: Do your fingers and toes frequently get cold in the winter? These are signs of poor circulation and could lead to additional skin issues. If you want to reverse this dreadful fate, cinnamon is your new BFF. In Eastern medicine, it is used as a warming ingredient. In Western studies, cinnamon has been shown to effectively control blood sugar levels… and frankly, the gorgeous aroma makes it a spice that you would happily sprinkle onto your dishes.

Ginger: When I was little, my mom used to always give me ginger when I had a tummy ache. It is only now that I understand why. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols that work to soothe upset stomachs. And especially if you’ve been consuming suboptimal foods for skin health lately, your stomach is probably in dire need of some soothing…

Coriander Powder: I’m always a fan of ingredients that lowers LDL (aka ‘bad’ cholesterol) and increases my HDL (aka ‘good’ cholesterol) and coriander powder is one of those ingredients. The fact that it’s packed with phytonutrients doesn’t hurt either…

Let us know how it goes – leave a comment!


Thanks for all your entries for the L’Oreal giveaway ladies! As promised, on Monday night, 2 winners were randomly picked….

Congrats Maria B and Abigail!! Please email me at beautynerds[@]gmail.com with your full name and address so I can send you your eyeshadows! As always, don’t worry if you didn’t win this time, there will always be others!! :)

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