I Went to India and Got the Perfect Inflammation-Fighting Winter Recipe—And It’s 100% Vegan

Photo: Getty Images/nzfhatipoglu
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 dreamed of the curries and masalas I would sample, and made a lengthy mental list of the spices I would bring back to the U.S. at the end of my journey. 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 is spinach and green lentils, particularly during the winter months.

Experts In This Article

The fiber- and protein-packed ingredients are superfoods in their own rights, 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 yet inflammation-free) body... and a mental vacation to Jaipur.

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