Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson give their take on brain food in The Healthy Mind Cookbook.
Silicon Valley has promised us that, someday, little nanobots will act like tiny microprocessors in our brains, helping to make us smarter. I say, Why wait? We already have a teensy food that does that. It’s the lentil, the vegetable kingdom’s version of a Lilliputian flying saucer. 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. With a host of spices, cubed delicata squash, and thinly sliced kale, this is my go-to soup when I’m working hard and need to process a lot of information.
- 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.
Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook, by Rebecca Katz. Published in 2015 by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.