Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another incidentally vegan soup for dinner

I was looking for a way to use butternut squash and coconut milk together, after we had them as such a fabulous combination in a curry at a dinner party recently. I realize that I am using winter squash so often in my recipes that readers may be wondering whether I am secretly working for the butternut ad council, but here's the thing: butternut and other winter squash tastes fabulous--rich and slightly sweet; it's low in calories; and it's local to Georgia in the winter. My husband and I are trying to eat locally sourced, organic foods when possible, and winter squash is one of the times it's very possible right now!

But back to my search a few days ago: I came across this recipe and, given its high ratings, I decided to give it a go with a few changes.

Red Lentil Thai-ish Soup

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp. dried ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pinch ground fenugreek seeds (I'd never heard of these, but there they were in the spice aisle!)
1 cup dry red lentils
1 cup butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed (I used left-over, pre-cooked African squash--it's much easier to cube butternut squash after it's cooked)
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 c. vegetable broth
1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and cook the onion, ginger, garlic, and fenugreek 5 min., or until onion is tender.

Mix the lentils, squash, and cilantro into the pot. Stir in the broth, coconut milk, and tomato paste. Season with curry powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, or until lentils and squash are tender.

The verdict: my husband, who loves lentil soup, was very taken with this dish; he wants me to make it again. It was sorta like a Thai version of lentil soup. My best friend (who was over so that she and I could go for a walk) and I are not huge lentil soup fans; we thought the dish was good but not great. The consistency was more like a stew than a soup. It was definitely a hearty vegetarian dish. At around 300 calories and 15g of fat per serving, it's a very reasonable meal for people being careful of such things, so if you dig lentil soup, check it out.

To serve with it, I toasted 1 whole piece of whole-wheat pita bread with two teaspoons of butter patted on it. The butter melted and left the pita tasting more like Indian flatbread than pita bread; it was great. We cut the pita into thirds to share.

1 comment:

lisa jane said...

That soup looks really awesome.Pity we are stuck in the middle of damn summer right now,but it will be a great one to pull out when it gets chilly.YUM