The lentil is a humble but mighty ingredient. It is a superior form of protein, and contains significant amount of fiber and iron. It is also good source of folate, an important nutrient for women of child-bearing age. But, what is the best part? It cooks in a short time, relative to dried legumes. That makes it a better option for a weeknight meal.
This soup, for instance, comes together in about 40 minutes. Of course, this soup reheats very well.
It contains red lentils, which cook faster than the green or brown type, Swiss chard, acorn squash, carrots, and onion and garlic.
Greens note – I used Swiss chard for this soup, but I have used other greens in the past – kale, beet greens, spinach, etc.
Instead of the acorn squash, you can use butternut squash, pumpkin, calabaza squash, sweet potatoes or yams, or any winter squash that cooks in 30 minutes when cubed.
1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced into medallions
2 cups Swiss chard, chopped
2 cups red lentils, rinsed well
2 cups acorn squash, peeled and cubed
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon madras curry powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
8-9 cups vegetable or chicken stock
salt to taste
Lemon wedges (optional)
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a heavy bottomed pot. Add onions and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes. Add spices, ½ teaspoon salt, carrots, chard, and acorn squash. Saute for 2-3 minutes more. Add lentils, and give it a couple of turns in the hot oil with the veggies.
Add stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about half an hour till lentils and vegetables are done. Before you turn off the heat, taste it to adjust for salt, and seasoning.
Optional – serve with lemon wedges so that each person can squeeze some lemon into their bowls.