Vegan Turkish Lentil Soup: The other day I found some very lovely Turkish Yellow lentils at the Middle Eastern food store. Here in San Diego, I get my Middle Eastern groceries at either North Park Produce, in City Heights, or out at Heritage International Market in El Cajon. Otherwise I get the Red Lentils in bulk at the health food Co-op or Whole Foods Market.

Here is the recipe to the Turkish Yellow lentil soup I made. My lentil soups show some Indian influence, for example that I frequently use turmeric, where an Arab or Turkish cook would not. And I tend to use more spices and herbs. And I also tend to sautee my onions and spices before adding to the soup.

 

Vegan Turkish Yellow Lentil Soup

 

Ingredients

 

1.5 cups uncooked Turkish yellow lentils,
I medium White Onion , diced
2-3 chopped roma tomatos
1 tbsp tomato puree, organic, italian,

turmeric, a solid dash
cumin powder, 1 tsp or so
garlic, crushed 1 tsp or so
salt, sea, to taste, start w/1 tsp and see what happens
black pepper, fresh ground tellicherry, naturally. (richer deeper flavor)

mexican green summer squash, chopped in half moons, 3/4 of a cup or less
chopped parsley from the garden, a tablespoon or two, to taste
olive oil,  a tbsp or two.
lemon, if you want more sour, add at end, fresh


Recipe

 

Wash and soak the lentils for an hour or more
Boil till soft
As they boil add everything but the squash, parsley, oil, and lemon.
When the lentils are almost done or done, add the squash.
When all done, turn off and add the olive oil and parsley.
Stir, cover, and after 5 minutes, taste.
Is the parsley the right amount?
Is the sour taste about right? If not, add some lemon.
Serve with fresh lemon for people that want it even more sour.

 

Notes

 

I added the spices and tomato, and then tasted. I wanted more tomato flavor so i added the puree.
Another way to make this is to saute the spices, onion, and then garlic in olive oil and tadd to the boiling lentils halfway through. That brings out the spices, but makes them more intense, and the soup is oilier. I wanted a milder soup this time around.

 

Ayurvedic Perspective

 

Lentils are an excellent food for Pitta and Kapha dosha, both of which benefit from foods with the astringent taste, which is found in all beans and lentils. Kapha benefits from lighter fare, which lentils and beans are, when compared to heavy flesh foods. Dry, cold Vata is the dosha that can be vitiated by beans, and less so by lentils and dal. But a fairly balanced Vata dosha type can take Lentil Soup or Dal in small amounts, especially when its been prepared with warming spices, sweet and sour flavors, and with good healthy fat like olive oil or ghee, all of which combine to pacify Vata nicely.

 

Vata Dosha

 

This is a great Lentil  soup for healthy Vatas that tolerate soft cooked lentils. This is a question of degree. Louis, who is a Pitta-Vata, gets a lot of gas from some veggies, but has no problem with well cooked beans and lentils. Louise, who is a Vatta Kapha, gets terrible gas just looking at beans and lentils. Obviously she cannot have this soup. But Louis can.

For some Vatas this soup is ideal, because it is heavy, warm, unctuous, sweet, salty, and sour. And if ever there were a lentil or bean that a Vata would tolerate, it would be these or the red lentils. Chick peas are usually pretty Vata friendly, too.

Pitta Dosha

 

Beans, Lentils and Pulses are well tolerated by Pitta dosha, which is pacified by the astringent taste present in these legumes. Cooked in the above fashion this soup is also a little sweet which further pacifies Pitta.

If you are unbalanced Pitta, with some kind of heat condition like Eczema, then reduce the pungent flavors by leaving out the pepper, minimize the garlic and onion, or even remove it, be careful with the parsley,  add more squash, double the turmeric, and add some bitter flavor with greens like kale or dandelion to pacify Pitta.

 

Kapha Dosha

Kapha is elevated by heavy oily food, and by the sweet, salt, and sour tastes.

Conversely it is pacified by the astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes. Beans and lentils are strong in the astringent taste, so the foundation of this dish is suitable to Kapha; as this is a vegan version its still a rather light food, unless you add a lot of olive oil.

So if your Kapha is high, then minimize or delete the oil, add a few red chile or cayenne pepper to reduce heaviness and increase pungency. Reduce or take out the tomato, and if you want add a little fresh lemon at the table. Add bitter green veggies like Dandelion or Kale, even Bok Choy.

Use this soup as a way to trick your Kapha into eating more veggies.

Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA  Dec 2017,  All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission
Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

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