How about a super easy winter squash and red lentil soup? I used butternut squash, but you can use any winter squash. This soup recipe has warming spices such as ground coriander, cumin and black pepper, but you can easily swap them out for your favourite spices if you want to play with the ingredients.
The hardest bit about this recipe (well it’s not exactly hard, just takes a tiny bit longer) roasting your squash.
Good news is, roasting squash is super easy!
To roast or not to roast your squash?
Actually no you don’t have to roast the squash to make this lentil soup. The easiest way to make this soup in fact is to peel and dice your winter squash, toss all of the ingredients into the pan and cook for 20 minutes.
However, if you decide to roast your squash, then you’ll get a whole new depth of flavour to your soup. So if possible, roast. You will be glad you did!
You see, roasting brings out the flavour of your squash. The natural vegetable sugars in it caramelise with the intense heat. This means that you’ll get a deep, irresistible, earthy sweetness in your squash.
Is roasting squash easy?
Yes, absolutely it is. There are several ways that you can roast it. Read my full ‘how to roast squash’ article here.
In brief the easiest ways to roast your squash are any of the following methods…
- Peel and cube your squash. This is the fastest way to roast this plump, starchy vegetable, but it is slightly more faffy as you need to peel and cube first. To save time you can even leave the skin on if you are using butternut squash since it will be blended into the soup anyway.
- Deseed and slice your squash. This method is excellent for large unwieldy squash. Simply take the seeds out and chop up your squash however you can. Once baked just scrape the squash out of the skin.
- Half and de-seed. This is the easiest method if you are using butternut squash. It does however have a longer roasting time because it is in large pieces. Once roasted simply scoop out the squash. You can even keep the skin on for an ultra-simple fuss-free effort.
Red lentils in winter squash soup
I love that red lentils cook quickly, which makes them ideal for a fast cooked soup.
Red lentils partner perfectly with roast squash. They also happen to be high in protein, which means you are going to end up with a very nutritious, well-rounded soup.
- 1 large squash (1.25kg/ 3¾ lbs approximately)
- 150g (0.85 cups) red split lentils
- 700ml (3 cups) water
- 2 teaspoons sea salt (or extra to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 heaped tablespoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 100g (half a block) of creamed coconut
- Peel your squash with a good quality vegetable peeler. Then dice into approximately half an inch cubes.
- Next decide if you are going to roast your squash or not. Roasting deepens the flavour, but the soup still works fine without roasting. If you are roasting and want lots of tips then see my article here for various simple roasting options: how to roast winter squash article If you are not going to roast then skip down to the non-roasted squash instructions.
- The fastest way to roast your squash is to place your diced cubes onto an oven tray and bake at 200C (400F). Your squash will take about 30 minutes to roast. You will know that your squash has roasted as soon as you can easily pierce it with a fork.
- Whilst your squash is roasting, put all of the ingredients (except the creamed coconut) into a pan, with a lid. Bring the contents to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the roast squash is ready, put it in the pan along with the other ingredients and add an extra cup of water because the squash will have lost a lot of water content when roasting.
- Chop up your creamed coconut and also add to the pan.
- Blend with a hand blender (called an immersion blender in the USA) until creamy smooth then serve.
- If you are not roasting then simply toss all of your ingredients (except the creamed coconut) into a large pan with a lid. Then bring the pan to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Once the contents come to a boil turn down the heat to simmer the contents for about 20 minutes, until everything is cooked. You know that is cooked when you can easily pierce your squash with a fork.
- Chop up your creamed coconut and add to the pan near the end of the cooking period.
- Once cooked, use a hand blender (called an immersion blender in the USA) and blend until creamy smooth.
- Serve immediately or reheat later.
Making the soup if you are roasting your squash...
Making the soup if you are NOT roasting your squash...
This soup keeps for a few days in the fridge. It also freezes well and is good for batch-making.
See the article above for full notes.
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