Are there any curry lovers out there? I am dying to share this recipe with someone because it is hearty, comforting, and oh so tasty. It’s the type of soup that warms you from the inside out. I threw it together on a whim last night and apparently nobody in my life likes curry! More for me, right?
Before we get to the recipe, I want to share a couple of notes about this soup and some substitution ideas. First, I used an acorn squash because it is what I had on hand. If you are new to using squash and do not have good knife skills, substitute with a butternut squash. The butternut squash is infinitely easier to peel and has a similar taste. If squash is not your thing, substitute with sweet potatoes. If neither squash nor sweet potatoes are your thing, try my chicken tortilla soup.
Second, this soup has an intense curry flavor. If you like curry, but you do not love curry, cut back to 1 teaspoon and use vegetable broth and water as the base instead of just straight water. As the soup is cooking, taste and add more curry as desired. Remember that it is easier to add more of an ingredient than to try to balance it out after the fact.
Third, do not throw out the squash seeds! The seeds are edible just like pumpkin seeds. For some reason, people do not think about toasting the seeds of other squashes, but they make a wonderful soup garnish or can be used on salads or as an on-the-go snack. I flavored my seeds with salt and Chinese five spice, but you can use anything you like to season your seeds. Some spices that compliment curry are cinnamon, ginger, chili powder, cumin, or cloves.
Now, on to the soup! This is the type of soup that you will want to make on a chilly winter day. The mere smell of curry warms my body as it seeps throughout the house. I almost can’t wait for the first real snowfall so I can make it again. This soup would be a great starter to a Thanksgiving meal even though the flavors are not necessarily traditional. By the way, how is Thanksgiving THIS Thursday? Where does the time go?
Just before serving, I added a tablespoon of chili paste. I use Huey Fong, which is the same company that makes Sriracha (aka rooster sauce). I think the chili paste adds a nice layer of heat to this soup. For you spicy food haters, I would not describe the flavor chili paste adds to this soup as spicy at all. It is not going to burn your mouth and make your eyes water, it just adds a little kick and enhances the overall flavor of this soup. Give it a try! If you are nervous about adding chili paste to the entire pot of soup, you can always put it on the table and have guests add it to their individual bowls as desired.
Curried Acorn Squash and Red Lentil Soup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 acorn squash, peeled and cubed (see substitution ideas above)
- 3 carrots
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 tablespoon curry powder (see substitution ideas above)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili paste (optional)
- 1 1/2 quarts water
- In a large pot, cook onions and garlic in melted coconut oil, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.
- Add ginger and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add carrots and squash and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the curry and cumin and cook for about a minute. This will toast the spices and open their flavor.
- Add water and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are cooked through and vegetables are tender.
- If using, add 1 tablespoon of chili paste just before serving.
- Serve warm and garnish with spiced acorn squash seeds.
Spiced Acorn Squash Seeds
- Coconut oil
- Chinese five spice (see substitution ideas above)
- Rinse and dry the seeds from 1 acorn squash.
- Melt coconut oil in a small bowl and toss the seeds to coat evenly. If you do not have coconut oil, you can use olive oil.
- Add 1 generous pinch of Chinese five spice and toss to evenly distribute.
- Spread seeds onto a baking sheet lined with foil and sprinkle with salt to taste.
- Roast in a 375˚ oven for about 12 minutes. All ovens vary so you will want to watch the seeds and check on them periodically. They are done when they look toasted and golden brown.