Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Lentils are cheap, versatile, comforting & good for you.   These can be made thick & served over a grain (like Basmati rice) or made a bit thinner & served as a soup.  They freeze well, too, so why not make a fuckton – like I did – and freeze a bunch for lazy days in the future?

I used sweet basil from Bangluck Thai market in Hollywood but hot basil or regular basil will do.  Were I to make this again – I would double the basil quantity.  I used a small amount of coconut milk in this so keep it lighter & less fattening but more coconut milk would make this creamier & yummier.  I also used a combination of lentils & dal & mung beans – seen below.  You can use all one kind or any combo you have handy.

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Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils

Makes a large pot full

INGREDIENTS

Coconut oil

5 cups lentils (or dal or mung beans)

1 onion – diced

2 jalapenos – chopped (optional)

1-8 garlic cloves (to taste) – minced

1-2 TBS minced ginger

5 ounces (or more) coconut milk (a 15 oz can would not be too much – I just kept it light)

2 TBS rice vinegar

6 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

8 or more cups vegetable stock

1-2 cups fresh basil

GARNISH – cooked rice & more basil

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DIRECTIONS

Melt 1 or more TBS of coconut oil (or other cooking oil) in a large stock pot.  Add the onions & jalapenos & saute until soft.  Stir in the garlic & ginger for a minute & then add everything else – (except the fresh basil) – starting with only about 6 cups of the stock.  Bring to a boil & reduced heat to low.  Cover & simmer for 30-60 minutes or until your lentils are soft.  I used & immersion blender & mashed about 25% of the lentils.  Not necessary.  Add more stock for a thinner dish or a soup.  Heat it down if it is too thin.

Stir in the fresh basil & serve with additional basil as garnish.  Serve as it is or over cooked rice.

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Vegan Ash Mash (Persian Mung Bean Soup) with Purple Kohlrabi & French Breakfast Radishes – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I bought mung beans at my local Asian market with no idea what to make with them.  Having had such success this week with my Vegan Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top (seen just above) – I decided to make another slow cooker soup with them.  This soup has such simple ingredients it is hard to understand why it is so tasty – but it really IS!  I used purple kohlrabi because I could not resist buying these gorgeous things when I saw them at the store.

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They come in green, as well, and have a texture like the stem of broccoli – but also have something in common with radishes.  I saw lots of people suggesting to slice them thin & salt them & eat them raw.  I tried that – and liked it – but I was Hell bent on soup.  Because these reminded me of radishes – I decided to also use the French breakfast radishes you see in the enchilada soup photo.  The nice side benefit of using kohlrabi & radishes is that – once cooked – they seem like potato – but without that heaviness.  If you don’t like the sound of kohlrabi & radishes (which become creamy & mild in this soup) – use turnips – or even potato, instead.

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Lets talk about mung beans.  That bag had two cups of dry beans in it & I got it for $1.49.  That is CHEAP eating!    Here is some info from Dr. Axe on mung beans:

Mung beans — a type of small, green legume in the same plant family as peas and lentils — is a high source of protein, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Although in most parts of the world they’re less popular than other bean varieties, like chickpeas or black beans, mung beans have some huge health benefits to offer!

While mung beans may be new to most people in the U.S, they’ve been a part of traditional Ayurvedic diets in India for thousands of years. Mung beans are considered  “one of the most cherished foods” in the ancient Indian practice that’s been a traditional form of medicine since roughly 1,500 B.C.

These days, mung beans are beginning to pop up in protein powders, canned soups and in restaurant dishes state-side. So here’s what you need to know about mung beans:

  • Mung beans are a high source of nutrients including: manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc and various B vitamins.
  • They are also a very filling food, high in protein, resistant starch and dietary fiber.
  • You can find mung beans in dried powder form, as whole uncooked beans, “split-peeled” form (just like you’d find split green peas), as bean noodles, and also assprouted seeds (which are the kind you’d see used on sandwiches or salads).
  • Their dried seeds may be eaten raw, cooked (whole or split), fermented, or milled and ground into flour.
  • Because of their high nutrient density, mung beans are considered useful in defending against several chronic, age-related diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Clinical evidence continues to show that plant-derived foods have various potential health benefits, including lowering inflammation. Health experts recommend that plant-based foods make up a large portion of every person’s diet, and many worldwide health organizations have recommended an increase in the intake of plant-derived foods to improve health status and to prevent chronic diseases. Among plant-based sources of protein and nutrients, mung beans are one of the foods gathering the most attention.

As you’ll come to learn, mung beans are one of the healthiest sources of plant protein there is when you consider how many other nutrients they contain in addition to amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). As the Journal of Chemistry Central puts it, “mung beans have biological activities including antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, lipid metabolism accommodation, antihypertensive and antitumor effects.” (1)


Mung Beans Nutrition Facts

One cup of cooked mung beans contains the following (percentages based on the RDAs for the average adult female): (2)

  •  212 calories
  • 14 grams of protein
  • 15 grams of fiber
  • 1 gram of fat
  • 4 grams of sugar
  • 321 micrograms of folate (100%)
  • 97 milligrams of magnesium (36%)
  • 0.33 milligrams of vitamin b1 thiamine (36%)
  • 0.6 milligrams of manganese (33%)
  • 7 milligrams of zinc (24%)
  • 0.8 milligrams of vitamin B5 pantothenic acid (8%)
  • 0.13 milligrams of vitamin B6 (11%)
  • 55 milligrams of calcium (5%)

If you choose to sprout mung beans and eat them raw, each cup will only have about 31 calories and will provide about three grams of protein and two grams of fiber.

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And from GreenMungBeans.com:

Green Mung Bean Nutritional Information
• High in Protein
• High in Fiber
• Low in Fat
• Low in Calories

Nutritional Facts: 1 oz (28 grams) of dried Green Mung Beans:
• 100 Calories
• 0g Fat
• 5g Fiber
• 7g Protein (Protein equivalent to 1 hardboiled egg or 1 oz of chicken, turkey, salmon, etc.)

Green Mung Beans are Nutritional Powerhouses
• Good source of protein
• Good source of dietary fiber (helps to lower cholesterol, prevents constipation and keeps you feeling full)
• Low in sodium
• Low in cholesterol
• Vitamins: A, B Vitamins (Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid) Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin K.
• Minerals: Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
• Sprouted Green Mung Beans produce live enzymes
• Mung Beans are low on the glycemic index at 25 and have a low glycemic load of 4 making them a smart food choice for diabetics. Diabetics can safely eat Green Mung Beans. The low glycemic index, fiber and protein help to regulate blood sugar.
• They also contain skin anti-aging properties that stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin, all essential to younger healthier skin.

Eating Green Mung Beans is Ideal for those with Digestive Issues and Sensitive Stomachs

Green Mung Beans Are:
•Easily digestible
•Anti-inflammatory (can reduce inflammation)
•Containing oligosaccharides to prevent gas and bloating, unlike other beans
•Containing high amounts of fiber, thereby preventing constipation
•One of the few tridoshic foods in Ayurvedic diets that can be eaten to balance all three dosha’s (energetic forces) in the body

Green Mung Beans Exhibit Powerful Antioxidant Properties that can Help Fight Disease as well as Protect the Body.

Consuming Green Mung Beans Have Been Studied to Treat the Following Medical Conditions:
•Diabetes
•Heart Disease
•Cancer
•Celiac Disease/Gluten Free Diets
•Anemia
•Osteoporosis
•Digestion
•Inflammation

Green Mung Beans Contain Phytoestrogens Contributing to Anti-Aging Benefits
Benefits of Phytoestrogens:
•Produce Collagen, Elastin, and Hyaluronic acid, All Three of which are Essential to Acquiring Younger and Healthier skin
•Can Regulate Hormones after Menopause, Relieve Hot Flashes, and Prevent Osteoporosis

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So – as you can see – there are lots of reasons to track down & chow down some green mung beans!  When you add all the benefits of turmeric & the fact that the rice makes this soup a complete protein – you are hard-pressed to make a more robustly healthy soup.   If you cannot find mung beans locally (in health or Asian food stores) – try here on AMAZON.    Another great thing about this soup is how economical it is.  Some cheap beans, some rice, a few cheap veggies & some stock.   I bet this vast quantity of soup cost me less than $20.  With some crusty bread, you could feed a very large group of folks.

This recipe makes A LOT of soup but this is a very protein rich vegan soup & great for cold weather and we are nowhere near the end of winter.  I have not yet frozen any but I certainly will be.  I imagine it will freeze well – so make the vat of it & freeze a bunch for lazy days.

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Vegan Ash Mash (Persian Mung Bean Soup) with Purple Kohlrabi & French Breakfast Radishes

Serves a boatload of people as it fills a 7 quart slow cooker.

INGREDIENTS

 1 cup dry green mung beans

1 cup long grain Basmati (or other) rice

2 (15 oz) cans white beans – drained

2 jalapenos – seeded & diced (very optional)

1 onion – diced

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp pepper

16 cups vegetable stock (try to use a low sodium one)

5 kohlrabi – cubed

10 French breakfast radishes – cubed

GARNISH – vegan sour cream

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DIRECTIONS

for the slow cooker

Heat the olive oil in a pan & saute the onion & jalapenos (if using) until soft.

I boiled the stock before putting it in the slow cooker because I was unfamiliar with the cooking time of the mung beans.  I left the slow cooker on high for 5 hours – and everything was very soft – so – the boiling of the stock might not be necessary but – if you need to serve this at a 5 hour deadline – maybe boil the stock, too.  Otherwise – if time is not an issue – you needn’t.

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Now – just put everything into the slow cooker – on high – for 5 hours.  I imagine low for 8 hours would work, too, but I ain’t tried that.   When it is done – you can choose to garnish with sour cream – but it doesn’t really need it.

for the stove top

Heat the olive oil in a pan that will be large enough to hold the entire recipe & saute the onion & jalapenos (if using) until soft.  Add everything else & bring to a boil.  Simmer until the rice & beans are soft – 30 minutes to an hour.  When it is done – you can choose to garnish with sour cream – but it doesn’t really need it.

And – now your house smells all homey & yummy & you have 30+cups of protein-packed, healing soup!  Invite the villagers in & impress them with your skills & generosity.

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