Red lentils cook quickly, so they’re a good choice when you want a hearty, filling soup in little time. Adding a couple of cups of pumpkin or butternut squash puree adds to the orange-y goodness of this soup — and cauliflower and spinach contribute to its overall veggie-packed deliciousness. Serve this main-dish soup with a fresh flatbread and a simple salad. Photos by Evan Atlas.
Curried Red Lentil, Pumpkin, and Cauliflower Soup
- 1 ½ cups red lentils rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups or so bite-sized cauliflower florets
- 2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning blend like Frontier or Mrs. Dash
- 2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder to taste
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or to taste
- 2 cups well-pureed sugar pumpkin or butternut squash
- or one 15- to 16-ounce can pumpkin puree, preferably organic
- 1 to 2 cups coconut milk or unsweetened coconut milk beverage or other unsweetened nondairy milk, such as almond milk
- 4 to 6 ounces baby spinach leaves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine the red lentils in a saucepan with 4 cups water. Bring to a slow boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently until mushy, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until both are golden.
- Add the cauliflower florets, seasoning blend, curry powder, ginger, and just enough water to cover. Bring to a slow boil, then cover and simmer gently until the cauliflower is just tender, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in the butternut squash or pumpkin puree, cooked lentils, and just enough coconut milk (or other nondairy milk) to give the soup a medium-thick consistency.
- Return to a simmer, then simmer gently for 10 minutes longer, or until the flavors are blended and the cauliflower is completely tender but not overcooked.
- Season with salt and pepper. At this point, if you’d like, you can set the soup aside off the heat (covered). Or you can serve right away. Either way, just before serving, heat the soup until piping hot and adjust consistency and seasonings.
- Stir in the spinach at the last minute and cook just until it’s wilted. Stir in the cilantro and serve.