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From the AICR Test Kitchen
Week of November 26, 2012
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Asian Lentil Soup

from the
American Institute for Cancer Research

This soup is a tasty, healthy and easy addition to your menu. Combine fiber-filled lentils with colorful carrots, celery, red bell peppers and bok choy for a wonderful medley of flavor and nutrition.

Lentils are legumes – related to beans and peanuts – and are rich in protein and the B vitamin folate. They are believed to have originated in the Near East and then spread to the Mediterranean and farther east, and they are still popular in those cuisines today.

The combination of garlic, ginger, soy and hoisin sauces power the flavor. Soy sauce is an ancient liquid seasoning used in China as early as the twelfth century BCE. Hoisin sauce is a thick, dark sauce made of soybean paste, chilies and salt and is sometimes referred to as Chinese barbecue sauce – sweet, salty, spicy and tangy all at the same time.

Pair this soup with a grilled cheese sandwich for a quick and easy dinner during the busy holiday season. Lightly brush slices of whole-wheat bread with olive oil, place oiled side down in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a slice of natural cheese, top with another slice of bread, flip when the cheese begins to soften and serve when bread is golden brown.


Asian Lentil Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced thin
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced thin
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped medium
  • 1 bunch bok choy, chopped (use green leaves and 2 inches of white stalk)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans no salt added lentils (or cook 1 cup dry lentils per package direction)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh minced ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. organic hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley finely chopped to garnish

Heat oil over medium heat in large pot. Sauté carrots, celery, bell pepper, onion and bok choy until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Add lentils and remainder of soup ingredients to sautéed vegetables, reserving parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Garnish with parsley and serve.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 1 cup.

Per serving: 155 calories, 3 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 24 g carbohydrate,
10 g protein, 8 g dietary fiber, 230 mg sodium.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $100 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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