I love Thanksgiving. I really do. Mashed Potatoes made with copious amounts of butter. Homemade green bean casserole. My Mom’s Cornbread Stuffing. 3 different kinds of pie. Blue Bell Homestyle Vanilla Ice Cream. This year, Dave and I traveled to Florida to spend Thanksgiving with my parents and a large amount of my Dad’s side of the family.
Even though I managed to run twice along the water, I came back from Florida, feeling a little well, plumper. And I’m ok with it. However, I think the best cure from a week of indulgence is to come home, stock up on a bunch of groceries, and make a big pot of vegetable soup.
I decided to flip through a new cookbook to my stash, courtesy of an early wedding present from one of Dave’s groomsmen and his lovely wife, Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking. I quickly stumbled on her “Chunky Lentil Soup.” Green lentils, butternut squash (in season!), and a healthy bunch of swiss chard for good measure. Just what my body craved.
Chunky Lentil Soup
Recipe adapted from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson
1 1/4 cups green French or black beluga lentils
Couple tablespoons of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion, yellow, chopped
2 cups small (1/4 inch) diced butternut squash
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water (or vegetable stock if you have some around, I used water)
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher
Pinch of smoked paprika (optional but tasty)
Pinch of ground chipotle peppers (optional but tasty and I throw it in most soups)
1 bunch of swiss chard (or kale or any other green), de-stemmed and cut into ribbons
Optional toppings: Heidi suggests torn fresh basil, grated parmesan and some good quality olive oil for garnish. I choose to swirl in a little sour cream or greek yogurt.
Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the lentils, and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or your soup pot of choice over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender (around 3-5 minutes). Stir in the squash, tomatoes, and water/broth and continue cooking until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes. I added a little more water during this time because it was getting a little thick. Drain the lentils and stir them into the pot. Add the seasonings and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chard and allow to wilt. Bring the soup back to a gentle simmer.
Serve with any of the above toppings and some good crusty bread or your favorite whole-grain cracker.
Really recommended to pack for lunch. Filling without giving you that 2PM feeling.