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Winter Weather Calls for Soup!!

Happy 2nd Monday in February Elevate family and friends! Last weeks recipe was all about lentils and soup. Today we continue our month long soup theme…and lentils too… with this zesty (what a great word!) tomato and lentil soup. Stick with us this month as we go soup crazy. 
In Las Vegas, it’s winter, just like it is all over the U.S. In case you aren’t aware of it, people in other parts of the country laugh at us for calling this “winter” and have zero sympathy when our weather falls below 50 degrees. 
Compared to -31 (before the windchill factor) and snowy, we’re looking pretty good. That being said, it is still our winter, and winter calls for soup. 
Lentils are an inexpensive, nutrition packed ingredient for soup. They take on a hint of the flavor of the ingredients they’re cooked with, which makes them delightfully versatile. Lentils are loaded with folate and fiber, and contain 9 grams of protein in each ½ cup. 
Wait!! 
Keep reading. 
This is important! 
Here’s the problem with lentils – they provide an incomplete protein, which means their protein doesn’t contain all of the amino acids our bodies need every day. Combining other protein sources with the lentils creates a complete protein, which is why I added 1 cup of cooked quinoa to this recipe. 
Lentils + Quinoa = a complete protein!! 
Like lentils, quinoa takes on the flavor of the seasonings it’s cooked with, so no worries about funky flavors! 
Once again, happy healthy eating from the staff at Elevate Sports Performance and Chiropractic!

Zesty Tomato and Lentil Soup

Hands on prep time 15 minutes
Total time 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2 TBLSP olive oil
½ onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (I leave the peels on for extra nutritional value)
2 TBLSP tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
8 cups no salt added vegetable (or chicken) stock*
1 – 15 oz can diced, no salt added tomatoes 
1 cup red lentils, uncooked, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked quinoa 
1 cup chopped fresh spinach (Frozen, thawed and drained chopped spinach will work also.)
½ tsp salt**
Fresh ground pepper
Chopped fresh parsley
Plain, fat free greek yogurt***

DIRECTIONS:
• In a large soup pot, heat oil to medium.
• Add onion and celery, sauté until onion is translucent.
• Add sweet potato, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, ginger, paprika and cayenne and stir well.
• When ingredients are hot, add vegetable/chicken stock, tomatoes, and lentils. Stir and bring to a boil.
• Simmer for 30 minutes.
• Add cooked quinoa, ½ tsp salt** and pepper, to taste
• Serve with parsley and a dollop of greek yogurt*** on top.

* If low sodium is your goal, use a combination of water and vegetable/chicken stock. 
**Optional 
***If it’s too spicy, add a low fat or regular fat yogurt to help take the edge off.

Special thanks to Smithsfoodanddrug.com/wellnessyourway Dietician Ashley Martinez for the original wonderful “zesty” recipe!