Roasted squash and black beluga lentils combine to make a rich and filling soup.
Do you grow butternut squash? If so, you may wonder what to do with it all. Even if you have a squash-loving family like mine, night after night of mashed squash can get old.
The other night was one of those nights I was avoiding the grocery store, so I made soup from what was on hand. There wasn’t much in the cupboard, some lentils and a baby squash were about it. Now you can find all kinds of red lentil and squash curry recipes, but I didn’t have any red lentils and I didn’t feel like curry. So I was on my own. The result turned out pretty good too.
This recipe leaves lots of room for substitutions and personal preferences. Instead of tiny black lentils use French green lentil or regular old brown ones, use green or orange bell pepper for the red pepper, use onion instead of leeks or parsnips instead of carrots if you like. Leave the chipotle pepper out, or get a smoky flavor with mild Spanish paprika instead, but don’t be tempted to leave out the “secret ingredient” here – malt vinegar. The vinegar brings all the flavors together and turns this lentil soup into something more than a usual lentil soup.
I roasted the squash because I like the sweetness of roasted squash, plus I didn’t want it to fall apart while cooking. But if you are pressed for time, just add the cubed squash with the other veggies. It may break down and thicken the soup, but the flavor will still be good.
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 small leek, white part chopped
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup black beluga lentils
- ½ small red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed and roasted
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp malt vinegar
- ½ tsp ground chipotle pepper
- salt to taste
- toasted pumpkin seeds
- Saute the celery, leek, and carrot in the olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth and lentils. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are done, about 20 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper, squash, tomato paste, vinegar, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the pepper is tender and the flavors have melded, about 10 more minutes, Add more broth if necessary.
- Serve topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.
What do you do with your winter squash overload?