By Dianne Bunis

As the autumn landscape turns to royal, spectacular colors and to cool nights, a bowl of soup sounds good. Take the chill off with lentil soup, nicely balanced with simple vegetables and warming spice.

Lentils are a great source of protein and provide iron, magnesium and Vitamin C.

Garlic, known for its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, helps with circulatory and digestive systems, helps to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure, and regulate blood sugar levels. Turmeric (Curcuma longa), an herb of the ginger family, is rich with antioxidants and health benefits.

Choose fresh garlic, onions and carrots harvested by local farmers, now available at farmers markets and stands, then let the slow cooker do all the work for a quick weeknight meal with enough left over to freeze. Tip: Roast several heads of garlic at the same time ... it's great on fresh or toasted bread.

Roasted garlic lentil soup

Ingredients:

1 head of garlic

2 cups green lentils, pick over to remove debris and rinse

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large organic carrot, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped

6 cloves roasted garlic, minced

8 cups low-sodium organic veggie broth

1 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon coriander

Sea salt, fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare roasted garlic ahead:

Cut head of garlic crosswise. Drizzle cut side with olive oil, wrap in foil loosely (form a tent). Roast in oven at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour.


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Squeeze softened garlic from each clove and mince, set aside. Refrigerate to store unused portion.

Prepare soup:

In a slow cooker, drizzle oil then combine onion and carrot. Add broth, lentils, spices and garlic; stir to combine.

Cover and cook until lentils and carrots are tender, 8-10 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.

Cool completely before freezing; use within three months.