As much as I’d like to say spring is in the air and fill your screen with a verdant green dish teeming with abundance, here I am with another cozy bowl of orange soup. February is still very much a soup and stew month for me. It’s cold, it’s grey, we still don’t have a clear democratic presidential nominee and, let’s face it, spring is a distant reality. I’m over it. I need comfort and warmth, and this roasted butternut squash and red lentil soup does just that.
This recipe takes a standard roasted squash soup and turns it up a notch. It is quite substantial, thanks to the addition of lentils and coconut milk, and it has more flavor, with the help of plenty of ginger and warm spices. My kids lap this stuff up. To add a little textural interest and pander to the nutritional needs of said kids, I also like to top it with crispy kale.
My kids go nuts for crispy kale. Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. I have not cracked the code on kids’ nutrition or tricked them into pure adoration of leafy greens. They will not touch a kale salad (unless it is to lick creamy dressing off of the kale leaves and leave behind a tattered mess of uneaten kale). I have merely figured out that if I bake well-seasoned kale to crispy perfection, they will devour it like a bag of chips. This may be my favorite parenting hack yet.
Anyway, if you are looking for a crowd-pleasing soup with unique flavor and a delightful pop of texture, give this recipe a try. It’s pure, creamy comfort as we wait for spring. Enjoy! xo Maggie
p.s. for another orange (and delicious!) soup, try this Sheet Pan Carrot, Apple and Ginger Soup. So easy.Print
- 1 large butternut squash (approx. 2 1/2 lb), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
- 2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 1 15 oz can coconut milk, full-fat
- 4 cups broth, vegetable or chicken
- 1 large bunch curly kale, de-stemmed and leaves torn into bite size pieces
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rub the inside and outside of the squash with a drizzle of coconut or olive oil. Roast flesh side down for approximately 40 minutes, until the squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes until cool enough to handle. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees for the crispy kale.
- While the squash cools, heat the ghee or coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion along with a tsp of salt and a pinch of pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent and starting to brown — about 4 minutes. Add the ginger and spices and cook for a few more minutes until fragrant. Scrape the squash off the skin and scoop into the pot (discard the skin). Add the lentils, coconut milk and broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat and cook until the lentils are fully cooked — about 30 minutes.
- While the soup cooks, prepare the crispy kale. If the kale is at all damp, blot with a towel until as dry as possible. Place the torn kale onto a large baking sheet (use the same one you used for the squash). Drizzle with the oil and coconut aminos and a pinch of salt and pepper and mix and massage with your hands to evenly coat the kale. Divide the kale between two baking sheets and spread the kale out evenly on each. Bake until crisp and just starting to brown — 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway.
- Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Alternatively, transfer soup to a blender and puree in batches, venting the lid to allow steam to escape (to avoid the dreaded soup explosion!). Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Divide among bowls and serve with a swirl of yogurt, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a handful of crispy kale chips on top. Enjoy!
- The first step of roasting the squash can be done a day or so in advance.
- This soup is meant to be quite thick. If you prefer a thinner soup, add an additional cup or two of broth or water.
- Curly kale is preferable to tuscan or laminate kale to yield the crispiest chips. It’s better to use two baking sheets here to give the kale enough space to gain the desired crispiness.
- Coconut aminos is a soy sauce alternative made from the fermented sap of coconut palms. It has a sweeter flavor than soy sauce and is less salty. Feel free to substitute soy sauce or tamari.