January 25, 2020 at 12:00PM by CWC
When I was invited on a a 10-day tour of India, the thing I was most excited about was the food. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I dreamt of the curries and masalas I would sample, and made a lengthy mental list of the spices I would smuggle back to the U.S. when my journey was over. While I certainly ate my weight in naan and butter chicken (and daal and aloo matar) my favorite food takeaway from the trip was actually one I could replicate right here at home in New York.
At a cooking class with Gita Jaishankar of Gita’s Kitchen, between teaching us how best to sauté potatoes and organize spices, our teacher revealed that the best inflammation-fighting food combination, particularly during the winter months is spinach and green lentils.
The fiber- and protein-packed ingredients are superfoods on their own, but when you put them together, some real magic happens. “The vitamin C from the spinach helps to power on the mighty iron compounds, known as non-heme iron, hiding in the green lentils,” says Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD. Since inflammation happens when there is poor circulation or lack of oxygen in your red blood cells, this flux of iron helps soothe inflammation, promote circulation, and boost energy.
Finding a recipe that uses both of these powerhouse ingredients is as easy as one,
stew two, three. “By throwing spinach—or even kale, swiss chard or collard greens—into a stock pot with green lentils with vegetable broth, spices like turmeric, cardamom and curry, and flavor and health enhancers like onions and garlic, you’ve got yourself an inflammation fighting plant-based bowl of goodness,” says Beckerman.
To make the seemingly-simple dish even more flavorful, Jaishankar suggests heating oil in a pan and adding the spices one by one, which will help infuse them into your leafy greens. The result? A happy (and full yet inflammation-free) body and belly… and a mental vacation to Jaipur.