Red Kari Squash and Split Pea Soup with Sinful Onions

One of my favourite new traditions, is to start the new year with a bowl of lentil & pumpkin soup.  It’s a tradition from Nigel Slater that I borrowed from his hunger-inspiring account of what he cooked and ate in a year, The Kitchen Diaries.


This year, I had on hand a red kari squash (not a pumpkin) and yellow split peas (not red lentils), but the spirit of the soup is the same, and it may have been even more delicious!

The tipping point for the delicious-factor of this soup comes down to one thing: the sinful onion topping. How just onions and a bit of oil can taste so good is beyond me. These onions are quasi-caramelised, but turned a bit to crispy burnt bits. They are divine.

In this case, we’re talking about fairly high-heat cooking, so I used coconut oil instead of olive oil.  I read a blog post recently about how olive oil does scary (carcinogenic) things at high heat, and that clarified butter (a.k.a. ghee – yum!) and coconut oil are much more stable for high-heat cooking!  I have implemented this change 100% in my kitchen, and am now using coconut oil whenever it comes to high-heat cooking.  If you see any of my old recipes that still use olive oil, please feel free to substitute coconut oil or another high-heat-stable cooking oil.  Especially for roasting!!!

I ended up roasting the squash here, following my own directions from How to Roast Squash earlier in the week, and then popping it in the fridge so I could make the soup the next day.

In terms of using herbs and spices for healing, nutritionista Meghan Telpner has a great post on using turmeric in her Turmeric Tea.  This is something I’ve been using for the last few weeks as an inflammation-reducer, because I’ve done something wonky to my back… apparently related to my hips.  Go figure.  All you need to know, is that the turmeric adds a curry flavour to this soup and it’s divine.  I hope you like it as much as we do.


Red Kari Squash and Lentil Soup
Inspired by Nigel Slater’s Dal and Pumpkin Soup from The Kitchen Diaries, Serves 4-6.

  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1″ nub of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 c. yellow split peas (or red lentils), rinsed and picked over to remove any stones
  • 6 c. water
  • 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 1-3 tsp. dried red chili flakes
  • 1 red kari squash, roasted, peeled & diced
  • salt or tamari, to taste

In a large pot over low heat, sweat the onions, garlic, and ginger in the coconut oil until transparent.  Add the lentils, water, turmeric, and chili flakes, and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

Add the kari squash and turn the heat back up to high to bring the soup back to a furious boil.  Boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat, and blitz using a blender or immersion blender until smooth and season with salt or tamari to taste.  Enjoy in bowls along with a hearty topping of sinful onions.

Sinful Onions

  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. dried red chili flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic

Over medium heat, in a large pan, heat the oil and add the onions.  Cook until they start to brown, then add the chili flakes and the garlic.  Keep cooking until the onions are a lovely golden brown.

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Categories: Gluten-Free, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian


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4 Comments on “Red Kari Squash and Split Pea Soup with Sinful Onions”

  1. Mishie
    January 16, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Please don’t mix imperial and metric in your directions. One or t’other, please (both is OK, too)

    • January 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

      Request granted!
      I’ve changed the metric weight measurements on this recipe to imperial cups.

      If you see this happening again, please be patient with me! As this blog is for pleasure rather than for pay, you may see less-than-perfection. As I tend to be inspired by recipes from all over the world and cook in Imperial and Metric almost interchangeably (I find I generally bake in Metric, and cook in Imperial!), you’ll see sources coming from both sides, which end up in a hodge-podge of recipe measurements. I do my best to include both when possible, or at least to be clear.

      As for all of my recipes, they are meant to be jumping-off points rather than strict instructions. I cook by feel and rarely follow a recipe to the letter – please feel free to use your intuition and palate and adjust recipes to how you like them!


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    […] it would be really beautiful topped with pomegranate arils, or even crispy onions (I think the “Sinful Onions” from this recipe would be […]

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