Vegan Kale, Lentil & Sausage Soup

My husband and I are training for a marathon in October. For the past couple of months, we have been eating more and more foods rich in carbohydrates. Training is HARD but if you eat right, it can make it a bit easier for you.

You can increase the glycogen stored in your muscles by carbo-loading. Why? Because your muscles use glycogen as fuel and it'll make a difference if your run is 90 minutes or longer. So what can you eat that is high in carbohydrates? Well, pasta, breads, any kind of starch like rice, vegetables, fruit, and legumes. That sort of thing.

To prepare for one of our long training runs one weekend, I made us a carbo-loading soup. I basically took one of my favorite simple soup recipes, made it carbo-rich and turned it vegan. Yes, I was totally thinking of my husband! That and the fact that red meat is hard to digest and I wanted to stay away from it. Instead of real Italian sausage, I just used vegan Tofurky.

For a vegan soup, I thought it was awesome. The meat-eater inside of me still prefers the original meaty version but this soup was much better for my training :) I made a few substitutions based on what I had at home but it more or less tasted like the same vegan sausage kale soup I made last time. The soup was great because it was high in carbohydrates and so well balanced! The vegetables added fiber as well and the lentils were protein-rich. Because it was a soup, we ended up feeling hydrated afterwards, which is important in training. I used whole wheat pasta for extra nutrients. We're not racing yet so this was totally awesome for us. The week before the race however, we'll have to lay off the fiber and protein a bit. We don't want to upset our stomachs with pre-race jitters:( Right now, fiber is great and we can pretty much eat anything, as long as it's nutritious and healthy!

Vegan Kale, Lentil & Sausage Soup
Serves 6-8
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 large fennel, finely chopped
1 package tofurky, sliced
1 large kale, finely cut the leafy parts

150 g whole wheat pasta
1 cup of dried French lentils, soaked in water beforehand
2 tsp raspberry wine vinegar
2 L or more water (should more than cover everything inside pot)
4 cubes of vegetable stock

Cook the pasta until al dente, drain, and set aside. Fry the onions, garlic, and fennel in olive oil, then add the tofurky and fry some more. Add the kale and cook for another minute or so. Add wine vinegar, water, stock cubes, and lentils. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover for about 15 minutes. Before serving, add the pasta and reheat the soup.


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