Lentils, ounce for ounce, pack an amazing amount of brain boosters, such as iron (essential to the function of myelin, which is involved in quick information gathering). From a culinary viewpoint, it's a myth that you have to soak lentils overnight; just a quick rinse will do.

Serves 6


  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • Sea salt
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 celery stalks, diced small
  • 1 medium delicata squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of red-pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dried green lentils, rinsed well
  • 8 cups store-bought organic vegetable broth
  • 1 cup tightly packed, stemmed and thinly sliced kale

    Note: If you have trouble finding delicata squash, use its cousin, butternut squash.


    Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, delicata squash and another pinch of salt and sauté until all of the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes.

    Add the curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and red-pepper flakes and give a stir. Add the lentils and stir to coat. Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pot, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the rest of the broth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low, cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Taste; you may want to add a pinch of salt. Stir in the kale and cook until it's tender, about 3 minutes.

    Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

    Variation: Substitute fennel, which is a good digestive aid, for the celery to add more depth to the flavor.

    Per Serving:
    Calories: 224
    Total Fat: 6 g (1 g saturated, 4 g monounsaturated)
    Carbohydrates: 37 g
    Protein: 9 g
    Fiber: 10 g
    Sodium: 329 mg

    From The Healthy Mind Cookbook (Ten Speed Press) by Rebecca Katz.

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