Jillian Michaels has been kicking my butt. Every morning. I hear her voice as my alarm clock goes off, her signature “don’t phone this one in” line reverberating as I contemplate pressing snooze. I don’t; instead dragging myself out of bed, mentally preparing for what is sure to be another grueling workout ahead.
Of course, all this torture is self-inflicted. I’ve made up my mind to do at least a little something for myself this summer, given that the majority of my day these days are spent sitting behind a desk, studying, with a rare break to eat or walk Woodley. But I must say, I’ve become slightly addicted to Jillian’s workout DVDs. I now own all of them, after discovering — via exercise T.V. — that the full, 40 minute version of “Banish Fat, Boost your Metabolism” (they’ve since cut it down to a meager 25 minutes — not nearly as hard) was more challenging than any gym boot camp or personal training session I’ve ever done. But perhaps even more shocking was that I wasn’t bored while doing it, despite feeling like I might die. Despite having to break out my emergency-only “breathing machine” once (“emergency-only” usually meaning an asthma attack, which I may or may not have had during the workout). Despite sweating enough to wring out my shirt afterward. Despite all that, I actually find myself enjoying working out these days. In the comfort of my own home. With Jillian Michael’s no-nonsense attitude motivating me perhaps only half as much as her perfect abs staring back at me on my T.V. screen. Maybe that’s just because anything is less boring than studying for the bar exam…
So, what does any of this have to do with crushed lentil soup? Well, I realized that I don’t really want to be one of those people who kills themselves for an hour only to throw it away on a high-carb, high-fat meal afterward. Still, my appetite has been a bit more voracious these days, given my early-morning calorie expenditures. This soup was a quick and satisfying solution to my newfound problem.It’s high in fiber. Low fat. Low carb. High protein. And not too heavy. It’s great with a salad and takes only a little more than a half hour to come together. This Middle Eastern take on red lentils is a nice change-of-pace from the traditional — and also very good — Indian Dahl.
Crushed Lentil Soup:
1 medium-sized sweet onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups split red lentils, rinsed and picked over
6 cups water
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
pinch of cayenne pepper
parlsey or cilantro, chopped, for topping
1. In a large soup pot or Dutch Oven, saute onion with olive oil over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, until transluscent.
2. Add lentils, water, cumin, coriander and salt. Stir. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occassionally.
3. Stir in lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Remove from heat. Serve immediately, sprinkled with some freshly chopped parsley or cilantro.