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.
- 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.