This nutritious and filling red lentil and pumpkin velvet soup with its warm and deep flavor, is your feel-good soup, especially on a cold weather.
This easy red lentil and pumpkin velvet soup is quickly made in one pot and can serve as a healthy starter or even a light dinner since the combination of pumpkin and red lentils makes it very nutritious and filling enough to saturate your cravings. You can actually make this with any kind of squash, but if you can find sugar pumpkins, butternut squash or acorn squash use those varieties because they have a good pumpkin flavor and sweet flesh. Like this creamy Italian mushroom soup with black garlic and porcini, it’s warm, cozy, and perfect on a cold weather. In other words, it’s a feel-good soup!
Fall is definitely pumpkin season, so what a better way to honor those wonderful vegetables than a healthy and nutritious red lentil and pumpkin soup? The red lentils, except the extra protein and fiber, provide a sweet earthiness which complements the taste of the pumpkin perfectly and also make this soup very creamy and velvety.
For this recipe, I used butternut squash because this is what I found at the market. Butternut squash is actually great for all kinds of pumpkin recipes and according to thekitchn.com you may find it inside many cans of pumpkin puree. I’ve also used it with wonderful results in this light and creamy butternut squash risotto with mushroom chips. And let me tell you something. If you love squash, then you should definitely make this risotto because it’s extra creamy, light and full of Fall flavor, and if you like mushrooms then you MUST make those mushroom chips because they’re full of umami and highly addictive!
Can you use canned pumpkin for this recipe?
Your kitchen is your kingdom, so you can do whatever you want without having to answer to anyone. But (there’s always a “but”, huh?), in this recipe, the taste of the pumpkin is intensified by sautéing it over high heat in order for some caramelization to develop. Caramelization happens when the surface of the pumpkin gets in contact with high heat. This creates new molecules which have deeper and more complex flavor and aroma. When the surface of the pumpkin is brown with some black spots throughout, then it’s ready. You can’t do that with canned pumpkin because it is already pureed and it will most likely stick on the pan and burn.
- Some squash varieties you can use: sugar pumpkin, butternut squash, kabocha, acorn squash, carnival squash.
- Brown or green whole lentils will not work well with this recipe and may take more time to cook. Other split lentils without the skin and with a mellow flavor will be nice.
- Develop flavor: Brown the pumpkin over high heat until it’s browned and you can see black spots on its surface.
- You can use vegetable stock instead of water. If you’re not vegan you can also use chicken stock.
Similar recipes you may like:
Do you have leftover pumpkin? Make these moist and fluffy olive oil and pumpkin dinner rolls
- 2 1/2 cups (400 grams/14 oz) cubeb pumpkin
- 1/4 cups olive oil (or another vegetable oil)
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, whole
- 1 cup split red lentils
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoons cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups water or vegetable stock, hot
Transfer the red lentils to a sieve and rinse very well with fresh water. Let them drain.
Heat a large pot over high heat. Transfer the olive oil, the pumpkin and the carrot to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned (about 10 minutes).
Reduce heat to medium, add the onion and the garlic, and cook for 5 more minutes until the onion is soft. Add the red lentils, the cumin, and the thyme and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the water, the salt and the pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are soft and tender (about 20-30 minutes).
Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let the soup cool down a little and transfer it in batches to your blender. Taste and adjust the salt, the pepper, the cumin, and the thyme. If the soup is too thick add water as necessary. Reheat and serve. Eat!
I use whole garlic clove and then discard it, for a milder taste. You can use it minced for stronger taste.
Serve with coconut cream or coconut yogurt (you can use sour cream or Greek yogurt if you’re not vegan), olive oil croutons, and freshly ground pepper.
Any leftover soup should be kept in the fridge. It will thicken after it’s stored, so add some water to loosen it and re-warm it over medium heat or in the microwaves.