It’s hard to know what to do when someone close to you is diagnosed with cancer. We tend to want to do something because if we don’t, it means we are doing nothing, and that’s not a nice feeling when things feel like they’re falling apart. The problem is that the person with cancer has a lot on their plate and often isn’t very helpful when it comes to ideas about what you might be able to do to help them out. Flowers? Tequila? It’s hard to know. Food is usually a good idea, but what if they aren’t feeling well enough to eat? What if they are following a strict diet? What if you don’t know how to cook?
The answer is very possibly: this soup. It tastes delicious, is highly alkaline and vegan (cancer will hate it), is full of vegan protein, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, anti-inflammatory powers, and is very easy to make. What if all they feel like eating is crackers this week? It freezes extremely well so it can be saved for a good food week. Or maybe the cancer thriver’s spouse/family/roommate needs some clean nourishment, I bet they’re feeling their share of nutrient-zapping stress.
There are a few show-off moves that you can do ahead to make this extra cancer-crushing-y: 1) Make this broth the day before (or earlier, and freeze it until you are ready to use it in the soup) 2) Soak some coconut the night before to make your own coconut milk that has never seen the inside of a can (recipe below) 3) Soak the lentils for 12 hours, drain and rinse them and then let them sprout for another 12-24 hours. This will make them easier to digest. I said this was easy to make though, right?
If you’re short on time, use canned (BPA-free) coconut milk, soak your lentils but don’t worry about the sprouting part, and use water instead of stock -there are enough flavours happening in the soup, that it won’t be relying on the stock for flavour. Most importantly, don’t feel quickie version guilt, this is a really thoughtful thing that you’re doing and it’s still over the top nutritious.
I like to stir in the greens at the last minute, as in pour the soup over top of a bowl of raw, chopped up greens. Cilantro in volume counts as a green in my books, it is also a powerful detoxifier, and a natural flavour combo for the Indian spices in this soup, although I try to respect that some people’s palates aren’t made for the stuff. If you aren’t sure if the person you are cooking for likes cilantro, it is probably best to go with a different, less randomly offensive green like kale or Swiss chard.
If you are not eating this right away, something you can do to preserve the freshness of the greens is add them once the soup has cooled down so that it stays fresh. When the soup is reheated, the greens will cook through, retaining their vibrant green hue as well as some enzymes.
And if you do plan on making this soup for someone else, do yourself a favor and make a little extra for yourself. A little prevention goes a long way.
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut oil
- ½ c Lentils, soaked for 8+ hours, drained, rinsed and (optionally) sprouted
- 1 lb Sweet Potato, (skin left on) diced
- 1 Leek, diced
- 1 Red Onion, diced
- 4-6 Garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tbsp Ginger, minced
- 3 Tbsp Fresh Turmeric, minced (or 1 if using dried)
- 2 Tbsp Fenugreek Leaves
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- ½ tsp Cumin, ground
- ½ tsp Coriander seed, ground
- Several twists of Wakame seaweed or sheets of Kombu
- 2 c Fresh Coconut milk (see recipe below) or 1 bpa-free can
- 4-5 c Homemade stock (or water)
- Several grinds of fresh Black Pepper (to enhance turmeric absorption)
- Sea(weed) Salt to taste
- 1-2 bunches of Cilantro (or other greens), roughly chopped
- 1 c Shredded Coconut (unsweetened, unsulphered)
- 1½ c Water
- On medium heat, in a heavy-bottomed pot, sauté the leek and onion in the coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of water until soft.
- Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, fenugreek leaves, spices and salt and pepper, continue to sauté for another minute.
- Add the sweet potatoes, lentils, seaweed, coconut milk, and stock/water.
- Bring to a boil and then lower heat to medium/low. Simmer until the sweet potatoes and lentils are cooked through.
- Remove the seaweed if using kombu (temporarily) (if wakame, leave it in) and pulse the soup with an immersion/stick blender, just to break it up a little bit. If you only have a standard blender, purée one third of the soup, return it to the un-blended soup and stir it together. Add the kombu back in so that it continues to steep.
- If it seems watery, simmer it without a lid for another 15 minutes or so to reduce it.
- To serve, pour over a bowl of raw, hearty greens or top with a giant handful of fresh cilantro.
- If your blender leaves something to be desired, soak the coconut in the water for 5-8 hours (skip this step if your blender is a beast)
- Blend the coconut and water in a a blender for several minutes.
- Strain through a fine-meshed sieve or nut milk bag.
- Save the solids and throw into a smoothie, veggie burger or bliss ball recipe. Freeze it if you don't see that happening withing 3 days.