Today, in our series on Easy Weeknight Meals we’re joining my friend Ashley of Vibrant Healthy Kids and her sweet daughter Sloan as they make one of their favorite easy weeknight meals: Sweet Potato Curry Lentil Soup with Homemade Kale Pesto. Here’s how quickly it comes together on a busy weeknight…
Ashley’s love for healthy, clean cooking came from spending years with chronic health problems and medications, and then making healthier food and lifestyle choices that completely turned things around for her. “My transformation began with the farmers markets of Northern California and learning to cook…making small changes over time turned into a lifestyle that allowed me to abandoned the small pharmacy I had created and enjoy life feeling truly healthy for the first time in as long as I can remember.”
Fast forward to motherhood (Ashley has two daughters ages 6 and 4), “our pediatrician taught me how food was a powerful tool for supporting my own children’s health challenges”. She started her blog Vibrant Healthy Kids, and has become so passionate on the subject of healthy cooking, that she left her thriving career to go back to school and study to become a pediatric nutritionist. I’m so inspired by her!
Today, she’s sharing one of her family’s go-to meals. With only 5 ingredients, and lots of rich nutrients, it’s a weeknight favorite at their home in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Even her daughters are huge fans, “our girls usually finish two bowls of this soup and have leftovers in their lunchbox.”
“The curry flavor is incredibly mild, which makes this a great way to introduce curry into your children’s meals.” The flavors and simplicity of the meal make it such a great weeknight option. I was lucky enough to enjoy sample at the end of our shoot!
Ashley spends a lot of time with her daughters in the kitchen. “Somedays cooking with my children can slow me down, but sometimes it’s about the journey and not the destination. It has been wonderful watching them transform from creating more work for me in the kitchen, to being incredibly helpful. ”
(Find the full recipes at the bottom)
Sweet Potato Curry Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet potatoes cut in 1 inch cubes (i leave skin on, but can remove skin if you prefer)
1 yellow onion finely chopped
1½ vegetable bouillon cubes cut into smaller pieces (we love Rapunzel Organic No Salt Added)
fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons indian curry powder
1 cup green or black lentils, rinsed with debris removed
4 cups of water
Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in pot over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes and onions to pot with a pinch of sea salt. stir. Cook until onions become slightly translucent and soften. Add in curry powder and stir until spread evenly with sweet potatoes and onions. Add lentils and 4 cups of water (or slightly more until sweet potatoes and lentils are covered with water). Add previously cut vegetable bouillon cubes into pot. Bring to boil for 1-3 minutes until bouillon appears to be dissolved. Reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for 20-30 minutes until lentils soften to desired tenderness. Taste and add additional salt to desired taste.
Next, we’re making some kale pesto to dollop into our lentil soup. Ashley says she uses this recipe for so many things. “You can also add a bit of the leftover pesto into their quinoa, rice, or over their favorite pasta. The pesto can easily get lost mixed in with your child’s favorite pasta sauce. Or, try our vegan pesto as a dipping sauce with sweet potato fries.”
1 cup kale or 1 large handful washed
1 cup basil or 1 large handful washed
6 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon sea salt
6 Tablespoons pine nuts (or raw cashews is a great healthy, affordable alternative)
Combine ingredients in the food processor
Combine ingredients in food processor or blender. Process until combined well. This recipe makes plenty, so if you do not want leftovers in the fridge or freezer, cut it in half.
Thank you Ashley for inviting us into your home and sharing your brilliant recipe and inspiring story! Find more about Ashley at her blog Vibrant Healthy Kids