In the Netherlands, they don't differentiate between pumpkins and squash. Bizarre, no? They just call everything pumpkins.
Semantics though, really. I'm sure this soup would be great if made with pumpkin, or any other type of squash. That's the amazing thing with soups: it's hard to go wrong. Just add some vegetables and a bouillon cube, a little spice here, a little spice there, and maybe some lentils to make it more hearty and there you have it. Warm, comforting, hydrating, filling, nutritious, delicious.
I used to avoid cooking with squash because I thought took waaaay too long to skin and cut. Until I learned this...
Dietitian's Recommendation: partially cook the squash in the oven first after having poked some holes in it with a fork or knife (be careful!). After about 20 minutes the skin and flesh with have softened significantly. Let it cool on a rack and then attempt to peel and chop.
This little trick will make your life a load easier and you'll probably start eating a lot more squash when you realize how easy it can be.
One more tip: if you don't have the patience or time to make the lentil croutons, then don't! Just add the entire batch of lentils right into the soup as is. It'll save you time and will still be delicious. Enjoy the soup on its own, with some fresh bread, crackers, or whatever else you fancy.
Coconut Curry Cream of Squash Soup with Spiced Lentil Croutons
▸ ▹ Vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Total Time: 55 min
1 medium butternut squash
1 tsp (5mL) olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1.5 tsp (8g) curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala
3/4 can (300mL) full-fat coconut milk
INGREDIENTS: Lentil Croutons
2 tsp (10mL) olive oil
3/4 cup (150g) dry brown lentils (or 1.5 cups cooked)
1 tsp (3g) dry mint
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp salt
INGREDIENTS: Optional Garnish
caramelized yellow onion
roasted coconut flakes (not pictured)
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). While preheating, rinse and then soak the dry lentils in warm water, set aside.
Carefully cut your butternut squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Poke holes throughout with a fork and place on a cookie sheet in the oven to soften, about 20 minutes.
Prepare the onions, garlic and carrot. If cooking lentils from dry, begin to cook them now by draining the soaking water and adding 3 cups fresh water and lentils to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer until lentils are al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot on medium heat, sauté the onions in the oil until golden brown and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Occasionally and carefully add a splash of water to prevent it from burning. Set aside 1/4 of the onions for garnish, if desired.
At this point the squash should have softened enough to peel the skin with ease. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, about 5 minutes.
While the squash cools, add the garlic to the sautéed onions (after having removed some for garnish) and cook while stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the carrots, bouillon cube, spices and 3 cups water (do not add the coconut milk yet).
If the squash has cooled enough, gently peel and chop into small cubes. Add to the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook partially covered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the soup simmers, prepare the lentil croutons. Add half of the cooked lentils (reserve the other half), and all of the oil and spices to a medium pot on medium-high heat. Stir often until the lentils have become lightly golden and the spices produce an aromatic smell, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
When the squash has cooked, puree the soup using an immersion blender, or by adding the soup to a blender. Once pureed, add the coconut milk and the reserved unseasoned cooked lentils to the pot. Stir to incorporate.
Garnish with the caramelized onions and lentil croutons, as well as other optional garnishes listed. Serve hot and enjoy!
Nutrition Tip: you don’t need to soak the lentils before cooking but there are many health benefits to doing so, even if for a few minutes. It also speeds up the cooking time if soaked in advance.
Variations: feel free to add other vegetables or different types of lentils to this soup. You can also use low-fat coconut milk if desired.
Speed-it-up: to speed up this recipe, use canned or leftover lentils.
Leftovers: this is a great batch cooking recipe. Prepare more than you need and freeze some for later. This recipe also works great for whenever you find yourself with leftover lentils or cooked squash.
Storage: store in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Did You Try This Recipe?
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