I love bright, colorful food. Not only does it evoke a much better visual response to a dish, making me excited to delve in, but colorful foods are also usually the healthiest ones – win, win! So here’s a nice colorful soup, using bright orange butternut squash as the base. Carrots and red lentils add to the delightful orange hue, and ginger provides the main flavoring (you can add even more than the recipe calls for, if you’d like, or stir in ginger juice (from grated ginger, wrapped in cheesecloth and squeezed) at the end). A squeeze of lemon or lime juice (either will work just fine – or even a splash of vinegar, in a pinch) helps contrast the sweetness of the squash. You can also stir in a little plain yogurt, which the original recipe called for, but I didn’t find necessary. Instead, I topped my soup with pepitas for a pop of contrast in color and texture.
Ginger Butternut Squash Soup (adapted from The New York Times)
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 (2-lb) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1″ cubes
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1″ piece ginger, minced
- 6 cups stock
- 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over
- juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
- salt and pepper, to taste
- freshly grated nutmeg
- pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then sautee 1 onion, diced and 1 carrot, diced until both are softened and the onion is translucent, about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Add 1 (2-lb) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1″ cubes, 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced, and 1″ piece ginger, minced, and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add 6 cups stock and 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over, bring to a boil, then lower heat, and let simmer until the butternut squash is very tender and the lentils are falling apart, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- If desired, using a blender or immersion blender, puree the soup to desired consistency. Add extra stock or water to thin out, if needed.
- Stir in juice of 1/2 lemon or lime, then add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve topped with freshly grated nutmeg and pepitas (pumpkin seeds).