Butternut Squash Soup with Black Lentils & Goat Cheese

I was initially fearful of my first fall as a mostly vegetarian after being in the groove of one dish summer salads and mezze plates for many months.  The idea of an entire season without shepherd’s pie, spaghetti bolognese or goulash still scares me a little bit.  But over the weekend as the weather turned cooler and the leaves really started to turn I remembered that it was finally soup season!

fall

To celebrate on Sunday night I made a delicious minestrone with kale, chick peas and a bunch of veggies that were hanging out in my fridge about to go bad.  And last night I decided to go off the rails, taking inspiration from a recipe I had every intention of making from my favourite blog, Smitten Kitchen.  The original recipe was for a spicy squash and lentil salad.  I loved the idea of the sweet squash, the bite of the black lentils and the smooth texture of the goat cheese, but I didn’t want a salad that would be served at room temperature.  In the end I turned out a velvety smooth butternut squash soup, with black lentils for colour, texture and extra protein, topped with goat cheese and sage.

squash

lentils

Unfortunately the presentation was sorely lacking, so you’ll have to excuse my lack of photos, but here’s my recipe, my very own from start to finish!  I’ll be ready to write my cookbook in no time!

Ingredients:

  • About 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed, (use more if you’re not sure, you can always add more stock to thin things out if it’s too thick)
  • 1/2 cup black lentils, cooked and drained
  • 2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crumbled goat cheese (as much as your little heart desires), I used about 1/3 of a log

What you do:

Toss the squash with salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil and roast in the oven at 425 for 20-25 min. turning once.  You want the squash to be tender, but not completely mushed. When it’s done, put the squash cubes into a large pot, add the veggie stock and bring to a boil.   Add the sage and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Then puree the mixture with an immersion blender, or run it through your blender.  Once it’s been pureed, add extra stock to get the desired texture, and then add the cream and stir to combine.  Don’t let it boil once you add the cream.

When you’re ready to serve, place a couple spoon fulls of lentils in each bowl and pour the soup over top. Add more lentils to the top centre, to get the desired quantity.  Remember lentils are quite filling, so don’t go overboard.  Sprinkle with goat cheese, top with a bit more fresh sage if you like, or some good olive oil and sit down to enjoy a steaming hot bowl of the best butternut squash soup you’ll ever try!

It would be a fun dish to serve at a Halloween party, because the black lentils against the orange soup are quite festive!  I served mine with a simple green salad and crusty olive bread.  Instead of the sage, you could go back to Deb’s recipe and add the smoked paprika for a totally different flavour profile.  I might try that next time, and there will indeed be a next time for this one.

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