Healthy & Hearty Okra with Lentils Soup

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Okra is literally “hearty”, or heart healthy! The main antioxidants in okra are polyphenols. Research shows that eating a diet high in polyphenols could improve heart health by lowering your risk of blood clots and oxidative damage! Additionally, the proteins that the lentils offer in this hearty soup make this recipe a keeper for those who want to be “strong in heart”.

Serves Up To 6 People | Preparation Time: 15 Minutes*| Cooking Time: 45 Minutes

*Preparations can be done while lentils are cooking!

Ingredients:

Vegetables:

  • 3-4 cups okra; washed, dried, and chopped to bite size pieces (approximately .75”)
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped fine
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped fine

Lentils:

  • 1 cup Toor dal or pigeon peas, washed 

Spices & Herbs:

  • ½ tsp. Turmeric
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp. coriander seed powder
  • ¼ tsp. red chili powder
  • 2 small green chillies, slit
  • 2 Tbsp. tamarind pulp (see easiest method to extract the pulp at home)
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 Tbsp. coriander leaves 
  • Pure cooking oil
  • Salt, to taste

Cooking Directions:

  1. Set your MEC Large pot on stove. Add washed lentils and add 3-4 cups of water to pot. Then, add chopped onions, garlic (add them whole, no need to crush), turmeric, and green chillies. Cover pot and cook for 10 minutes on low. When you see steam building up inside pot, increase stove temp to medium or medium-low heat. While this is cooking you can prepare the rest of the ingredients – like chopping okra and tomatoes, and getting the other ingredients together.
  2. After letting lentils cook for another 15 minutes on medium heat, check to see if lentils are almost done by pressing some against wall of pot with a wooden spoon. They will be smash-able with some gentle pressure, if they are almost done.
  3. Now, add chopped tomatoes and stir. Add chopped okra, coriander powder, chili powder, and tamarind pulp. Stir, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes on medium-low.
  4. After 10 minutes, check to see if okra is done by picking one up and trying it out. If done, reduce stove heat to low. Add 1 Tbsp. pure cooking oil, then add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves into oil. Cover lid and let pot contents heat up for 5 mins. Then, open lid and stir oil in with rest of pot contents.
  5. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with rice, bread, quinoa, couscous, or other grains. Enjoy!