Whenever I go on vacation I wonder if I’ll be able to find my usual favorite plant-rich meals. Thankfully on this summer’s trip I discovered a popular cafe The Golden Pear that became my mainstay for lunches. My favorite dish there was a wonderfully hearty but simple vegan soup with red lentils and butternut squash. Not many ingredients but so packed with nutrients and flavor.
Who doesn’t love lentils? They’re the easiest and quickest to cook of the legume family: no soaking required and about 15-20 minutes simmering on the stove using whole lentils (split lentils cook in even less time). A quarter cup of lentils offers 13 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber, and is loaded with potassium, iron, zinc and folate.
As fall inches closer, I was inspired to cook my own version of this soup. I included the red lentils and butternut squash, and then added the super spice turmeric and one potato to make it even thicker. I garnished with homemade crispy seasoned kale chips and curry roasted chickpeas for texture, but definitely not needed to enjoy this soup!
Love this photo below of fall vegetables. Feel free to substitute other types of winter squashes (acorn, delicata, pumpkin), different colored potatoes, or carrots in this recipe.
Red Lentil Butternut Squash Soup with Turmeric, Kale Chips and Roasted Chickpeas
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 large butternut squash (I purchase this already prepped and wrapped at the supermarket), cut into small cubes
1 large potato, chopped
2 cups red lentils
8 cups water or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon turmeric (or more if desired)
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
- Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and cook until softened.
- Add squash and potato and cook 5-10 more minutes (add some water or broth if ingredients stick to pan).
- Add 8 cups water or broth and stir in lentils, turmeric and black pepper. Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until squash and potato are completely softened. Add salt to taste as desired.
- Leave as is, or puree with an immersion blender. Garnish however you like!
I have to warn you that this soup is REALLY filling! If you’re watching your weight, try eating a bowl or mug of this as a snack or right before your meal to take the edge off your appetite.