When cooking I like to know how I can benefit from ingredients that I use. The more I know about the ingredients and their health benefits, the more I enjoy the meal when it’s cooked. The main ingredient of the soup in this recipe is lentils. Lentils have many health benefits and are a good substitute for meat. They are especially good for women because they are good source of iron, and calcium which is good for our bones. They reduce risk of breast cancer and coronary heart disease.

I would also like to add something about potatoes. Potatoes not only taste good, but they really are good for us! They have lots of potassium, even more than bananas. Potassium is important for cell maintenance and normal muscle contraction. They are good in curing stomach ulcers and inflammation of bowels, they prevent certain types of cancer and improve resistance to heart attacks and stroke.

Lentil soup is really easy to prepare. The only thing that you need to plan ahead of time is soak the lentils in water over night. Sometimes I forget to soak them at night and I put them in the water in the morning. After I come home from work they are ready to cook.

You will need:

350g lentils

1 litre of water

1 onion

2 carrots

1 leek

2-3 medium sized potatoes

1-2 tbsps of tomato paste

Salt, pepper, paprika, ginger, marjoram (or any other seasoning that you like)

I always throw the water that I soaked lentils in away (I find it easier to digest this way), but you may use it if you want.

Sauté the onions with some olive oil until golden, add carrots, potatoes, and leek, sauté for a few more minutes. Add lentils, water, tomato paste, seasoning and salt. Cook until lentils and vegetables are tender.

If you wish you can use more water. When cooking follow your own taste. You can always adjust the recipes and add seasonings that you like, or even use different vegetables. Imagination is the key to a tasty meal. The more you experiment the more fun you will have.

One thing I’ve learned in the past few years: You can also train your taste buds! A year ago I wouldn't even think of using ginger, but now it has become a very important ingredient in my cooking and if I don't add it I feel like something is missing. A few months ago I wouldn't eat celery either. But trying it as often as I could I got used to it. And now I can eat it raw or cooked and enjoy it both ways. I heard the saying that you have to try each food 18 times before you can say that you don't like it. That seems like a very reasonable advice. We have to get used to new foods and new tastes.

Today we can buy meals prepared and canned in the store. All we need to do is put them in the microwave and a few minutes later we can eat. How handy! But eating food that was already prepared ahead of time robs us of valuable nutrients and is also full of additives that are not good for us. Instead, preparing meals ourselves gives us more real taste and a lot healthier food. If you are used to eating a lot of canned and microwavable food from the store you might need a little time to get used to the taste of the food that has no artificial flavouring and additives. But you will get used to it quickly and enjoy the pure taste of nature.

Bon Appétit!