Start to finish: 45 minutes, including cook time
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
1 stalk celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)
4 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped (about 1 cup chopped)
1 1/4 cup cubed butternut squash (1/2-inch cube) (or substitute chopped carrot)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning (or dried oregano)
3 cups vegetable stock
2-3 cups water
1/2 pound dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked through (about 1 1/4 cup)
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (or wine vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, if needed
In a large heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven, soften the onion, celery and mushrooms in the olive oil over medium heat, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the squash, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder and Italian herbs and cook for another five minutes, stirring frequently. Onion should be quite soft now.
Add the stock, 2 cups of the water, the lentils, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Reduce heat, cover partially with a lid and let simmer until lentils and squash are tender, about 25-30 minutes. If the mixture gets too thick, add up to another cup of water.
Once soup is cooked, remove 1-2 cups of the soup to a blender and very carefully blend on low until somewhat smooth. Pour the thickened, blended soup back into the pot and stir. Stir in vinegar and taste for salt. Add the salt only if needed.
Chef’s Note: green lentils may also be used, but add about 10 minutes of cooking time.
Nutrition information per serving: 155 calories; 22 calories from fat; 3 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 328 mg sodium; 27 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 8 g protein.
Melissa d’Arabian, Associated Press