Updated: Jan 8
After taking a nice break from having my baby, I'm back and want to share with you something I ate while recovering after surgery. When you don't feel your best, healthy comfort food can be the key to nourishing your body: comfort food that is quick, easy to make, easy to digest and food that can make you feel good.
Lentil soup seems like it can meet all these comfort food criteria. Besides it is now soup and pumpkin season so pairing these together with lentils is a must.
Lentils weren't something I grew up with because they weren't popular in Ukrainian cuisine. However, one of our neighboring countries, Turkey, has a deep history with lentils.
In fact, my first love with lentil soup took place in 2011 through my Turkish girlfriend Hazer. I ate my first bowl when she brought to me at my apartment and I immediately asked for the recipe. Here is her recipe:
Since then I made her recipe so many times, but I have taken the liberty of making a number of changes.
The recipe I'm thrilled to share with you today is my go to recipe, which is a simple and very rustic soup with tons of health benefits and zero measurements needed. Plus it is always a one-pot meal and fewer dishes to wash, which makes me happy.
What is best about this soup?
Lentil Soup… sounds so boring. But honestly, this soup is full of flavor along with beautiful color which will entice you to go for seconds. I promise! The pumpkin of course makes it even better producing a fall-flavored soup packed with prebiotics, a stock that is rich in collagen and lentils that provide protein creating a complete meal in a bowl.
My family loves a hot bowl of goodness on these cooler days. Nothing warms and nourishes the soul like a steaming bowl of soup. Among my favorites are:
But today, it's all about this quick and easy lentil soup with pumpkin, which will leave you fully satisfied. Besides being easy to make and super delicious, it's very filling, and high on nutrition. It can be adapted to being a vegan lentil soup too!
Lentils are the key ingredient in many cuisines around the globe. In my kitchen, using legumes for cooking and even as a substitution for other ingredients is an often occurrence. I love to use a variety because all legumes are rich in minerals and B vitamins.
Since the beginning of civilization, the lowly lentil has nourished healthy people across a wide portion of the globe. Dr. Weston Price considers the lentil the most nutritious of all legumes, due to its high phosphorus content. Lentils also are rich in calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron as well as vitamin B complex. Lentils are high in molybdenum content, a mineral that plays a role in protein assimilation, iron absorption, fat oxidation and normal cell function. They are low in phytates as well and thus no need to soak compared to other legumes or only for short period of time, like an hour or two.
How to make lentil soup
Step One: prep ingredients
chop onions and pumpkin
mince garlic and ginger
get ready your chicken broth (homemade is always better)
rinse the lentils with a hot water
Step Two: Saute'
heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan
sauté the onions, until they have softened, but not brown, 10 minutes
add the garlic and ginger. Let it saute' for 30 seconds while stirring
add spices (cumin, turmeric, salt, black pepper, red pepper flaks)
add the lentils and pumpkin, then mix all together, add tomato paste
add broth, bay leave and stir to combine. Bring gently to a boil
Step Three: Simmer
Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot, and simmer until the lentils are soft. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
Use a hand blender and blend to a rich creamy consistency. Add more broth if you wish a thinner consistency.
Serve with your choice of garnish such as lemon wedges and chopped parsley. Also garnish with drippings of red sauce, please watch the video for this step, I promise you this topping will take it over the top! It's a very Turkish way to serve any soup.
See how easy that is? You can have dinner on the table in an hour, and most of your time is hands-off vs. hands-on.
Lentil soup with pumpkin: Healthy Comfort Food at Its Best!
While this meal is incredibly simple to make, I can't stress enough that it is a powerhouse of nutrients. Not only do the pumpkin and lentil contain a multitude of nutrients, but also the bone broth provides essential amino acids as well as minerals and vitamins. It can improve digestion, allergies, as well as increase immune and brain health. Bone broth is filling because of the high collagen content, so even a vegetable-based soup becomes an entire meal.
Side dish suggestions
Let's do it...
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Serves: 8 portions
Ingredients for the soup
2 cups red lentils
2 cups chopped pumpkin or butternut squash
1 big onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 inch of ginger root
1/2 Tablespoon of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2-3 teaspoons of Celtic salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of turmeric
pinch of red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
Ingredients for the garnish (optional)
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon of paprika sweet or spicy
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 lemon juice only
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
Chop onions. On a heavy bottom pot add olive oil and onions. Let cook on low heat for 10 minutes until they look soft but not brown.
2. Cut and peel pumpkin, chop into a small pieces create the 2 cups.
3. Next pour hot, but not boiling water to rinse the lentils. Set aside.
4. In the pot with onions, add minced garlic and ginger, stir for a minute. Now add salt, black pepper and the rest of the spices. Stir all together and cook for a minute or so.
5. Add pumpkin, lentils, tomato paste, and bay leaves, stir and let cook for 5 minutes stirring once in a while.
6. Add chicken stock or water, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
7. Using immersion blender, puree soup (don't forget to fish out the bay leaves).
8. Leave pot uncovered and let simmer for another additional 5 minutes. Taste for seasonings. Pour into bowls.
9. To make a garnish, take a small frying pan, and on a low heat, add olive oil, paprika, and tomato paste, whisk all to together and bring to bubbling. Then with a spoon drizzle the red sauce over each bowl, sprinkle with parsley, and squeeze some lemon juice. Don't forget about lemon wedge for serving.