A stocked pantry is something like a gold mine when you’re hungry and you have no idea what’s for lunch. A peek into one big drawer of mine includes several kinds of dried beans, at least 5 kinds of rice, bulgar, barley, polenta, oats, couscous, farro, quinoa, a variety of dried fruits, and usually a couple of kinds of lentils. (A big bank account makes a lot of people feel secure, but I’m rich when my cabinets are full.) When I have no idea what’s to eat, lentils are my go-to. They’re easy, fast, filling, healthy as can be (see below), pair with nearly anything and in many a direction, and they’re even pretty darned inexpensive.
While I do choose to cook lentil soup quite often, one night I…
…stirred up the red lentil soup from my book and then put lamb chops right down in the middle of them.
Another time, I made lentils for a fancy-schmancy dinner party I cooked with two restaurant chefs. I had no idea if lentils could be made into risotto, but I had little to lose…
Salmon on Lentil Risotto with Mushrooms and Fresh Greens
Sometimes they’re a salad for a hot summer night…
or fill my need for dreaming of France:
I can’t name all of the reasons I love lentils, but I enjoy the fact that many cultures cook with them and that they come in a variety of lovely colors:
French Lentil Salad from Splendid Table
Ethiopian Lentil Stew –SAVEUR
LENTILS….learn, love, and cook:
Did you know? When combined with a whole grain, lentils provide the same quality protein as meat!
Lentils are good source of protein. A ½ cup serving of cooked lentils provides about 12 grams of protein. With such high protein content, you are sure to be fuelled up all day long.
Did you know? Just 1/2 cup of cooked green lentils packs in 32% of your days’ worth of fibre!
Lentils are an excellent source of fibre. In addition to gut mobility, dietary fibre is well known for many health benefits. Notably, high intake of fibre is associated with lower blood cholesterol levels and protection against developing colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes.”
Want to read about Montana lentil farmers?
Corporations are in control at the beginning of the food chain, with the seed and with the chemicals, and they’re also in control at the other end of the food chain,” says Liz Carlisle. Her book, Lentil Underground, is the story of a group of farmers in Montana who broke free of the industrial farming system by growing organic lentils.”Splendid Table dot org
Lentil Basics from foodhero.org
Learn more at USA Pulses dot org
Now that you’re nearly as lentil crazy as me, you should try this. And, oh, by the way, it’ll fit in your Meatless Monday routine, cut your grocery bill, feed your vegan friend or even your gluten-free sister if you leave out the crouton garnish.
(Nutritional info below recipe)
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND LENTIL SOUP
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 each, diced: small yellow onion, small shallot, garlic clove, and medium fennel bulb Reserve fronds for garnish
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups vegetable broth 32 ounces
- 3 cups water
- 12 ounces peeled diced butternut squash (2 cups)
- ¾ cup rinsed green or brown lentils
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Hot sauce to taste
- ½ cup lite coconut milk
- 12-18 freshly fried croutons see below, optional
- In a 6-quart dutch oven, heat oil and crushed red pepper over medium heat for a minute. Add onion, shallot, garlic, fennel and parsley; season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Pour in white wine, turn down heat to medium-low and cover, cooking, stirring regularly, for about 7 minutes or until vegetables are softening. Pour in broth and water; cover, raise heat, and bring to a boil. Stir in squash, lentils, curry powder, cumin, and a dash or two of hot sauce. Reduce heat so that the vegetables are boiling gently and cook for 30-40 minutes or until squash is tender and the lentils are done, but still have a little bite. You want them to maintain some of their texture, not to be mushy. Stir in coconut milk and let heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot garnished with croutons and fennel fronds, torn or chopped.
WINE: Simplest–an inexpensive Washington Riesling. Step up: a German Grüner Veltliner.
|Nutrition Facts (excludes crouton garnish)|
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 4 g||6 %|
|Saturated Fat 2 g||9 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 2 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0 %|
|Sodium 344 mg||14 %|
|Potassium 514 mg||15 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 22 g||7 %|
|Dietary Fiber 5 g||22 %|
|Sugars 6 g|
|Protein 4 g||9 %|
|Vitamin A||137 %|
|Vitamin C||44 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
(Fitness Pal dot com)
IF YOU LIKED THIS, you might like my…
Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Soup
Once in a while, someone asks me what I keep in my fridge. The more apropos question might be, “What don’t you keep in your fridgES?” Well, here is my kitchen refrigerator, which is made by VIKING. I keep an extra old fridge in the garage for storage and beer and there are also two wine fridges–one in the dining room and one in our bedroom. I’m shameless, but I got cold stuff.
Stay warm and cook soup,
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