Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Soup: Curried Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes and Kale

When I saw that Pacific Foods was having a home chef recipe contest I couldn't wait to get creative (and put myself in the running for the grand prize!). 

OK, so in deciding what to make, I looked at our week ahead. I knew we'd be getting home late from a cross-country meet at tennis lesson on Tuesday, so I wanted something I could have ready / that would heat up in a few minutes, that was healthy and protein-packed, and that my kids would enjoy. Both of my kids like lentil soup, so I decided to use a carton of the Vegetarian Pho Soup Starter to make a thick, comforting Curried Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes and Kale.

A big fan of meals where I can throw everything in a pot and let them do their thing, that's what I decided to do... and it worked perfectly. Since I knew this recipe was one that could be made ahead and frozen, I decided to make a 6-8 serving recipe, so we'd have some left over to tuck in the freezer.  First I brought the 4 cups of Vegetarian Pho Soup Starter + 2 cups of Pacific Vegetable Broth to a boil.

I added the lentils,

and then the diced carrots, onions and celery to the pot.

Next, I added frozen chopped butternut squash (b/c I had some on hand, but you could also use fresh butternut squash).

And 1 cup of sweet potatoes, which I had peeled and chopped. 

Then the zest of one lemon,

and four frozen cubes of minced cilantro and 1 teaspoon of mild curry powder.

Then I lowered the heat to a simmer, covered the pot, and let it do its thing for 25 minutes while I enjoyed a glass of wine.

After 25 minutes, I checked to make sure the sweet potatoes and squash were fork tender. Then, I turned the heat off, added the chopped kale, popped the lid back on, and just let the greens wilt a bit-- about 5 minutes. Then it was ready to serve-- or to package up for busy weeknights ahead, as the case may be!

Tuesday update: my kids LOVED this soup-- we all did. I made the soup on Sunday and tucked part of it in the freezer, and part of it in the fridge for when we rolled in right at dinnertime tonight. I served it over quinoa and it was a perfect, hearty, healthy meal after an active day! New favorite for the Fall and Winter seasons!!

Curried Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes and Kale
makes 6-8 servings

1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups butternut squash*
2 cups sweet potatoes*
one lemon, zested
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or 4 cubes frozen minced cilantro)
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups kale, chopped

In a soup pot, or Dutch oven, bring the four cups Pacific Vegetarian Pho soup base and two cups of vegetable broth up to a boil. Add the lentils, onion, celery, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, lemon zest, cilantro and curry powder to the pot. Stir. Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes, or until squash and sweet potatoes are fork tender. Turn the burner off, add the chopped kale, and cover pot for 5 more minutes so the green wilt, but do not become soggy. Serve soup warm with an optional dollop of Greek yogurt. Soup will keep in fridge for a few days, or will freeze well for up to 3 months.

*This recipe was delicious with a combination of both butternut squash and sweet potatoes, but you could also make it with just one or the other. Whichever you'd prefer, and whichever is easier based upon what you have on hand!

I packed half the batch up in these freezer containers, and packed half the batch up in the fridge... ready for busy weeknights ahead!

Disclosures: the links to my favorite tubs for freezing soups within this post are amazon affiliate links. The pricing is exactly the same for you, but I earn a small commission when you purchase products via these links. {Thank you for helping to support recipe testing on the Full Plate Blog!} Also, as a food blogger, I was sent four cartons of Pacific Soup Starters to try. I was not compensated in any other way for developing this recipe, and purchased the rest of the ingredients myself. Rest assured that-- as always-- I only share recipes my family truly enjoys, and that are keepers!

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