Friday: Autumn Harvest Lentil Soup

Here’s my inspiration (found on, as well as my personal editing (I’m taking out these parts of the published recipe, and adding in these parts), based on what I actually have on hand: 

Autumn Harvest Lentil Soup

(Adapted, just barely, from Myra Kornfeld, doubled)

  • 1 2 cups red lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 4 8 cups water
  • bay leaf
  • salt
  • 2 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 4 large medium onions shallots, cut into small dice (about 2 cups)
  • 5 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 inch piece peeled, minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 4 cups butternut acorn squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1/2 lb)
  • 1 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 3 cups water
  • 2-3 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 bunch spinach, cleaned, torn into small pieces or a 7-oz bag baby spinach
  • Cayenne
  1. Add the lentils, 4 8 cups of water, the bay leaf and 1 2 tsp salt to a medium saucepan (or larger if doubling recipe). Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer partially covered 20 minutes. The lentils should be tender. Remove the bay leaf. Puree the lentils with an immersion blender or just whisk until creamy. I like both results.
  2. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet (or stock pot if doubling recipe). Add the onions and sweat them over medium low heat for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander; saute another 3 minutes. Add the butternut squash, parsnip, carrots, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Add the lemon juice and spinach and stir. Add the lentils and simmer 5 – 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Add a generous pinch of cayenne. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice, and cayenne as desired. As with most soups, this one is delicious served right away and even better the next day.

There were some casualties involved in prepping this soup.  Although everything I read said that acorn squash is particularly difficult to peel (and should therefore be baked & scooped out instead of cut & then cooked), I thought I could do it.  I was kinda right – I managed to peel & chop it.  But I was also wrong.  I ended up with a cut pointer finger and a broken chef’s knife:


Although I prepped several of the ingredients on my Sunday domestic-fest, Travis ended up putting the soup together while I was at work this evening.  I enjoyed it, although I don’t know that it’s my FAVORITE soup (I mean, it’s really unlikely that anything without cream is going to qualify as my favorite).  Travis thought it was “weird,” which I told him was not a helpful critique.  He couldn’t give me more than that, and I didn’t find it at all weird, so maybe he’ll figure it out when we have leftovers this weekend?  Perhaps he just hasn’t had that many vegetarian lentil soups.  I actually love lentil soup and when I was vegetarian, it was one of the only meals I’d actually make for myself (that, grilled cheese, and spaghetti were really my only solid, go-to meals back then).  Although I’ve normally had potato in place of the squash, we don’t have that many potatoes left.  And I was happy to have parsnips in there, since this is my first use for them aside from roasting them.  I thought it was a delightful cold-weather soup (which is perfect for this week in Tacoma), and that the different vegetables just provided a new variety for an endlessly versatile soup.


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