Hovering in the wake of summer produce, I battled against squash, sweet potatoes, root veggies, and various other cold weather ingredients. Don’t get me wrong; those three vegetables comprise some of my favorite edible treats, but I couldn’t give up summer just yet! Finally, at the farmers market, I succumbed to a butternut squash, a couple gorgeous sweet potatoes, and a handful of knobby parsnips: all signs of autumn, held off until now by Madison’s extended Indian Summer.
In the spirit of the warming, comforting dishes inspired by the dropping temperatures, what else could I whip up but soup? My mother happened to have a Crock Pot full of red lentil soup with sausage for the omnivores in the family, but it stunk up the house something real nice and launched me into a craving for creamy lentil soup chock full of chunky vegetables.
Curried Lentil Soup (Gluten Free, Nut Free, Soy Free)—Inspired by Vegan on the Go-Go’s Basic Daal.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3 Roma/plum tomatoes, diced or 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 large carrots, medium diced
- 2 medium parsnips, medium diced
- 1 cup red lentils
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 large bunch spinach, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh cilantro to garnish
In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute for about 2 minutes or until the onion is transluscent.
Add the spices and saute for another minute, then add the tomatoes and allow their juices to reduce a bit.
Add the carrots, parsnips, lentils, and broth. Stir well to coat in the spice mixture. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 20-40 minutes or until the lentils are creamy and the vegetables are tender.
Once the veggies and lentils are nice and cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the spinach in batches. Add black pepper to taste and garnish with cilantro. This soup is particularly nice served over a mound of quinoa.
Meal Checklist: Protein–red lentils. Whole Grain–quinoa. Vegetables–onion, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, parsnips. Leafy Green–spinach.
Local Ingredients: Rosso Toscano onions from Jones Valley Farm, garlic from Brantmeier Family Farm, Roma tomatoes from Happy Valley Farm, giant sweet carrots from JenEhr Family Farm, parsnips and spinach from Driftless Organics, cilantro from my garden.
Until next time, Ali.