The Nutritionists Kitchen The Nutritionist's Kitchen by Carly Knowles, MS, RDN, LD

This recipe is adapted from Angela Liddon’s Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup from her popular plant-based food blog, Oh She Glows. Red lentils are a fantastic source of fiber making this hearty stew a heart-healthy go-to. With 90 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of folate and 37 percent of the DV of iron for every 1 cup of cooked lentils consumed, this recipe is a perfect choice for women looking to optimize their essential nutrient intake and promote reproductive health. 

SERVES 8–10 

Dairy Free |Gluten Free |Vegetarian |Vegan


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or Ghee (recipe below)

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 medium onion) 

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 

  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric 

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 

  • 1/4–1/2 teaspoon cayenne 

  • 1 whole cinnamon stick 

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt 

  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices 

  • Two 13.5-ounce cans unsweetened full-fat coconut milk 

  • 4 cups vegetable broth 

  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils 

  • 1 large bunch spinach, de-stemmed and roughly chopped (about 3 cups) 

Melt the coconut oil or ghee in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne (½ teaspoon if you like it spicy), cinnamon stick, and salt; sauté for 30 seconds or until the spices bloom and become fragrant. Alternatively, substitute 1–2 tablespoons Golden Turmeric Paste (page 103) for the turmeric, cumin, black pepper, and cardamom. 

Add the tomatoes and their juices, coconut milk, broth, and lentils to the Dutch oven, and stir until combined. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and cooked through. Be mindful of the cinnamon stick in the stew and move aside or discard before serving. 

Meanwhile, make the Cilantro Lime Chutney (recipe below). 

Add a small handful of chopped spinach to the bottom of every empty soup bowl used for serving. Ladle the stew into the bowl(s) on top of the spinach; the residual heat of the stew will soften the spinach. If you prefer, you can mix the spinach into the stew and cook it down for 1 to 2 minutes before ladling into bowls. Top each bowl with a spoonful of Cilantro Lime Chutney and serve warm.

To keep leftovers for more than a few days, freeze the stew in 1-quart glass jars with lids, leaving one to two inches of headspace. This will keep for 2 to 3 months.


Ghee is butter that’s been heated and strained to remove the milk solids or proteins (casein and whey). Those with a dairy intolerance can often tolerate ghee since the problematic proteins have been taken out, leaving only the butter fat. By removing the milk solids, you are also increasing the smoke point of the butter, providing an end product with more diverse applications like high-heat frying and roasting. 



  • 1 pound unsalted butter

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Once it is completely melted, the butter will begin to separate into three distinct layers—milk solids on the bottom and top and butter fat or oil in the middle. Using a large spoon, gently skim and remove the foaming milk solids on the surface and discard. You should have two layers left. At this point, don’t stir and disrupt the two layers. Allow them to stay separate while continuing to simmer, skimming any stray solids on the top. Eventually, the top translucent oil layer will turn a golden-brown color. Don’t rush this step: this is what imparts that delicious, toasty ghee flavor. Continue simmering the butter oil until you reach your desired flavor and color (I prefer 6 to 8 minutes).Turn off the heat, and prepare a small mesh strainer and a 16-ounce glass jar with a lid. Line your strainer with fine cheesecloth and place over your jar. Carefully and slowly pour the golden butter oil through the cheesecloth and strainer into the jar, leaving any milk solids in the pan. Discard the remaining solids. What you’re left with is liquid ghee. It will solidify at room temperature where you can keep it for 2 to 3 months, or you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.


  • 1 bunch cilantro

  • 4 scallions

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

In a small food processor or blender, blend the cilantro, scallions, lime juice, and sea salt until finely chopped but not fully puréed (I prefer mine a little chunky). With the food processor on, drizzle in the olive oil slowly and blend until the mixture has a pesto-like consistency. Pour into a smaller serving bowl or jar and season to taste with additional salt if needed. Set aside

From The Nutritionist's Kitchen by Carly Knowles, MS, RDN, LD © 2020 by Carly Knowles. Photography © Kimberley Hasselbrink. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO