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Chunky spiced butternut squash and red lentil soup

I may be in the minority but I love the transition from summer to autumn – the turning leaves, that early-morning chill in the air, opaque tights and of course, the return to hearty, warming food.  This autumnal soup is just that – warming, wholesome and full of goodness. 

Serves 4-6

  • 2 tbsps ghee or olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 large pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 500ml stock
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 100g red lentils
  • Paneer, cut into 2cm cubes (optional)
  • Spinach (optional)

Heat the ghee or oil in a large casserole dish or saucepan over a medium high heat.  Add the onion, garlic and spices and cook for 2 minutes until the onions begin to soften.  Add the squash and stir continuously for another 2-3 minutes.

Pour over the stock and coconut milk.  Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and allow to simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes.  Once the squash is soft, blend the soup until just smooth.  Add the lentils and cook for a further 15-20 minutes until they are tender but retain a bit of a bite.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If using the paneer, fry in a little oil until golden on all sides just before serving the soup.  If using spinach, just wash and stir through the hot soup until it wilts.

Pour the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the paneer (if using) or a spoonful of yogurt. Enjoy!

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