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Heart Healthy Mediterranean Vegetable Lentil Soup

This heart-healthy Mediterranean vegetable lentil soup is jam-packed with nine types of vegetables, lentils, and 15 grams of fiber per serving.

As a dietitian, I can say that this soup is definitely heart-healthy. It's also a delicious and satisfying way to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. We often think of it as a man’s disease, but did you know that a woman’s risk increases significantly after menopause? Once your estrogen levels decline, LDL (bad cholesterol) often goes up.

That increases your risk of heart disease. Combine it with other risk factors like being overweight, smoking, being too sedentary, and having diabetes, high blood pressure, or metabolic syndrome, and the risk goes up even more.

How to Reduce The Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

When I’m working with patients on ways to protect their heart, these are the things I recommend:

1. Know your numbers! If you're over the age of 40, have your cholesterol (AKA fasting lipid profile), blood pressure and glucose checked regularly. Knowing your numbers helps you to be more proactive if they start to go up.

  • Cholesterol should be below 200 mg/dL; with an LDL below 130 mg/dL (or lower if have other risk factors) an HDL above 40 mg/dL (higher is better), and triglycerides below 150 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure should be 120/80 mm/Hg
  • Fasting glucose should be less than 100 mg/dL

2. Eat more cholesterol-lowering foods.  My favorites include legumes, barley, oats, nuts, seeds, apples, pears, avocados, broccoli, and jicama. These happen to be especially good sources of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. But - all fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have some amount of soluble fiber, so be sure to mix it up!

3. Be as physically active as you can. The recommendation for all adults is 150 minutes of cardio exercise (any kind that gets your heart rate up) plus 2-3 strength training sessions each week. It’s great if you can do a little bit each day, but it’s more important to just be consistent about exercise. If longer workouts on the weekend and shorter sessions during the week works better for you – do it! Regular exercise makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight, it strengthens your entire cardiovascular system, and it often helps to improve cholesterol and blood pressure.

4. Ask your doctor if you should take supplements to support your heart health. There is some evidence eating more plant sterols can help block cholesterol absorption. You can get plant sterols from a supplement. They're also naturally occurring in foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans), nuts, and seeds. Omega-3 fish oil supplements might also help, although the research is mixed. They may help reduce triglycerides, and they may reduce the risk of another heart attack or stroke in people with heart disease. It's not clear if they help prevent heart disease though.

Heart Healthy Mediterranean Vegetable Lentil Soup | Craving Something Healthy

5. Finally, eat a whole foods, Mediterranean-style diet - and cook it yourself. Fast food and take-out meals are full of unhealthy fats and excess sodium. When you cook at home, you control exactly what's in your food, and you can pack your meals with more fruits and vegetables. They should be front and center on each and every plate.

There's a reason the Mediterranean Diet is so good for you and so helpful when it comes to reducing your risk of heart disease. It's full of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Not only do these foods provide cholesterol-lowering fiber, but they're also full of antioxidants and important compounds that protect your heart and blood vessels from inflammation.

A white bowl of Heart healthy Mediterranean vegetable lentil soup. A red and white striped napkin and spoon are in the background.

One of the easiest ways to pack your plate full (or bowl) with veggies is this easy, Heart Healthy Mediterranean Vegetable Lentil Soup. Each and every bite is full of flavor and color from vegetables and a rich, tomato and bone broth stock that's infused with amazing herbs and Mediterranean flavors.  

This soup is my favorite way to get all the good stuff that supports your heart health in each and every bite. Your heart will love it!  

Recipe

Five Things You Can Do For Better Heart Health |Craving Something Healthy

Heart Healthy Mediterranean Vegetable Lentil Soup

This hearty soup is packed with vegetables, lentils and delicious Mediterranean flavors
4.28 from 54 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 278kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 3 medium celery stalks diced
  • 5 medium carrots diced
  • 1 parsnip (or 1 small potato) diced
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken bone broth (or beef, vegetable)
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil
  • 1 ½ cup dried green lentils
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas
  • 3 cups chopped kale (or spinach or other leafy green)
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (or broccoli) very small pieces
  • teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 teaspoons salt or to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium high heat.
  • Sauté the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and parsnips for about 10 minutes or until they start to turn golden.
  • Add the pesto and spices and stir to combine.
  • Add the stock and tomatoes. Turn the heat up to high and bring the soup to a boil.
  • Add the lentils, peas, and kale or other greens  if using. Let the soup come back to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Cover, and let simmer for about 40 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower florets, pepper and salt to taste. Cover and continue to simmer for another 15-20 minutes until all vegetables and lentils are tender.
  • Taste, and adjust any seasoning with salt and additional pesto if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 739mg | Potassium: 1015mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 9145IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 5mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @CravingSomethingHealthy!
 Heart Healthy Mediterranean Vegetable Lentil Soup Craving Something Healthy

20 Comments

  1. I just made this for a vegetarian friend, so I used water instead of a meat broth. Also, I used "no salt added" diced tomatoes and "no salt added" tomato sauce. It does, however, need some salt, so I am going to add a dash or two of "Slap Ya Mama" seasoning, which contains salt and red and black pepper.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this the other night in my big crock pot (low for 8hrs) and it filled it to the brim. I absolutely loved it. I made it with what I had on hand and it still turned out amazing. I subbed 2 sweet potatoes for the parsnip, I didn't have celery, I used frozen broccoli AND cauliflower, frozen spinach, and frozen missed veggies. I also didn't sauté anything, I just put it all in the crock pot and let it do it's thing. I will definitely make this again. I even added a little feta cheese to my bowl when it was time to eat. Thanks for sharing this recipe

    1. Thanks for trying it Kasey! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and great idea to use the crockpot!

  3. This looks yummy! I’m making it today for my parents, Dad is 90 and had open heart surgery at 89! Trying to keep him healthy and full! Could you make this in the crockpot?

    1. Hi Deanna - Hope your dad is doing well! I've never tried it in a crockpot but I don't see why it wouldn't work. If you try it, let me know and I'll post it in case anyone else wants to try it!

  4. I typically don’t leave recipe reviews, but this soup was delicious. I ate it everyday (sometimes twice a day) until it was gone. I will definitely be making it again soon. I don’t care that it’s summer, this soup will be a year-round staple for me!

    1. I'm so glad you liked it Kate! Isn't it the best when you find a new soup to add to your rotation?!

    1. I'm so sorry for not responding! I just found your comments in my spam folder! Hopefully you got about 1 1/2 cups per serving (it depends on how many veggies you add). That sodium seems a little high to me. I'll go back and make sure I did the nutrition analysis correctly. Thanks for calling it out to me!

  5. Hi Anne! This soup looks delicious and heart-healthy. Thank you for the wonderful information as well regarding the Omega-3s and other supplements. Looking forward to trying this recipe!
    All the best to you,
    Morgan
    @homemadebymorgan

  6. What a healthy soup with heart health and overall well being in mind! I fit the category-- just over 40 and very much aware of my cholesterol numbers. I've switched to a mostly plant based diet and still have trouble keeping cholesterol under 200. Working on it. I'll look into these supplements you mention.

    1. Thanks for visiting Holly! Yes, it gets harder to manage cholesterol as you get older - especially if you have a family history. Healthy diet, supplements and exercise all help!

      1. Hi Holly,
        Supplements along with a healthy diet and lifestyle can definitely help! You may not see a reduction in cholesterol from the omega-3 but it's helpful for your blood pressure and it has anti-inflammatory benefits throughout your body. You can also try Red Yeast Rice supplements for cholesterol but check with your doctor. They're a supplement that works in the same way as a statin medication so they can have similar side effects. shoot me an email if you want more information.

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