Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

In January, when the sidewalks elsewhere are covered with ice, I'll gloat about the 70 degree weather here, but for now, I'm just wishing for a little bit of fall. It's been unseasonably warm, even for Florida, with 90+ temperatures during the day, afternoon thunderstorms, and humidity so thick that you could slice it with a butter knife. I tried a pumpkin spice latte at Starbuck's last week, which seemed pretty much like a cruel joke.

Nevertheless, I'm still up for some fall cooking. And I tried this recipe for butternut squash and red lentil soup, which is so amazing you must run out and make it RIGHT NOW. I altered it to use the spices I had on hand, but I had a big bag of red lentils, so all I needed was to run out and buy one of those seasonal vegetables. Red lentils are my favorite - they taste nothing like brown lentils, cook up quickly, are light and low-fat, but have tons of good stuff in them: fiber, folate, magnesium, and iron, to name a few. And combined with the very slight sweetness of butternut squash, they make an amazing combination: filling but not heavy.

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 cup red lentils
1 quart (4 cups) water
2 Rapunzel vegetarian boullion cubes (You could also use broth in the last step)
1 onion, chopped
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes (Mine had basil & garlic in them, you could also kick it up a notch and use Rotel)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried coriander
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne

Saute onions in a large saucepan coated with the olive oil. Add garlic, cook for another minute. Add squash, diced tomatoes, lentils, water, boullion, and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until squash is tender.

Blend half of it, then put it back in the pot. I use an immersion blender to keep some of the consistency. Welcome to fall...

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