We’ve recently gotten into a few new food habits around here, both to make more of having meals together and to make it easier for me to think of what to make for dinner each day of the week. You know, meatless Mondays, taco Tuesdays, pizza Fridays, and so on.
Sunday mornings have quickly become one of my favorite parts of each week as it’s when Josh makes us all scrambled eggs and we sit down at the table and share the meal. Linden has been eating parts of our meals—fruit and veggies mostly—but this is one where we all eat the same thing. It’s so awesome to see her hand eye coordination improving steadily and to watch the determination with which she gets as much food into her mouth as she can. (A lot still winds up on the floor and in her lap!)
But Sundays have also meant soup, which is fitting for this time of year because it just feels right to have a big pot of something simmering away on the stove as we go about the last day of the weekend. I’ve seen a few recipes for soup with red lentils lately, many of which have featured spices like tumeric and cumin, so I thought I’d give my own version a go. This soup turned out better than I could have imagined—it’s warming (both in temperature and in spice), bright (from the orange juice), and filling (lots of fiber!). Plus, I added some Chinese five spice, which is one of those things that I have in my pantry and hardly ever have an opportunity to use. I love the flavor (mostly because of a carrot spread that I used to devour at Real Food Daily) and it works very well here.
I’m not sure that little Linden will be joining us at the table for soup any time soon (based on the amount of yogurt that winds up on her face when she feeds herself with a preloaded spoon, I’m going to wait a while!), but I am certainly already looking forward to it.
Red Lentil Stew with Butternut Squash
Serves about 8 (depending on how big your bowls are!). This soup is gluten free, vegan and filled with good-for-you ingredients.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
2 cups diced celery (about 1/2 of a large bunch)
2 large carrots, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups red lentils
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
1 cup orange juice
6 cups vegetable stock
2-3 cups water
4 cups (or two cans) pureed butternut squash
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Warm the oil and butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and saute until just starting to soften. Stir in the lentils and the spices.
2. Add the orange juice and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stir in the squash, and let cook until the vegetables are tender and the lentils are cooked, about 20 minutes. Add water as needed to keep the soup from getting too thick and stir regularly to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Season with salt and pepper and add more of the spices from Step 1 if desired. Serve warm.
Variations: Puree the soup for an even creamier version; Top with plain yogurt, crumbled goat cheese, or shredded Gruyere; Serve over brown rice, couscous, or a hearty corn muffin.