Friday, June 11, 2010

Lentil Squash Soup and Moxie Bread

This is another soup that comes from Love Soup - and its technically a winter soup - but who cares? Now I know what you are thinking....this looks like carrot baby food right? Yeah it does - but trust me its sooo good (even picky Ryan agrees) and plus, puree is super easy for your body to digest which means good absorption of nutrients and no bloating and burping...eww why are we talking about this?

In any case, this is a hearty vegan meal that will satisfy even the picky eaters in your life.

Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup
1 cup red lentils
1 small butternut squash (1.5 pounds)
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 yellow onion, sliced thin
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp tumeric
several generous shakes of cayenne pepper
the juice of one small lemon
4 cups veg stock (if you are using store bought then dilute it with a cup of water)

1. Preheat the oven to 375
2. Rinse the lentils and put them in a soup pot with 4 cups of water and 1 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and boil gently for 20 minutes, skimming off the foam that forms.
3. Cut the squash in half and clean out the guts and seeds (put the seeds aside in a bowl for later). Put the cut side of the squash down on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes or until you can poke the squash and it gives easily. While this is roasting, saute the onions in the olive oil with a little salt over medium heat, stirring often, until they are soft and golden (20 to 30 minutes). Peel and dice the sweet potato.
4. When the lentils are tender, add the onions, sweet potato, ginger, cumin, tumeric and cayenne, and 4 cups of veg broth. Simmer everything, covered, for 25 minutes. As soon as the squash is ready, scoop it out (you dont want any of the skin) and add it to the soup. Cook until everything is soft.
5. Puree the soup in batches or with an immersion blender. Add the lemon juice.

With the squash seeds
1. Clean the seeds by placing them in a colander and running them under cool water - picking away bits of squash guts that cling.
2. Lay the seeds out in a single layer on a paper towel and let them dry completely (I usually leave them overnight). They may stick to the paper towel a bit so you could use aluminum foil instead if you want but it will take a little longer to dry.
3. When the seeds are dry throw them in a small bowl and toss them with a tsp of olive oil and a few pinches of salt.
4. Lay them flat on a baking sheet and roast them at 400 F for as long as it takes for them to get golden and crispy (10-15 minutes). These will keep for months in a air-tight container.
5. Sprinkle over your soup and enjoy!

The bread you see on the side here is a vegan herbed focaccia bread that I picked up at the farmers market in Frederick. It comes from the new bakery in town called Moxie down on Market between 6th and 7th street. Not only was the bread delicious, but when I read the little blurb on their postcard I was totally sold. They are run by Cakes for Cause and their mission is to "provide job training and support to youth in Frederick who have aged out of foster care or who live in public housing in our community." Pretty cool thing to have in Frederick - plus they are ensuring a healthy group of future bakers for Frederick's future.

Know what else is cool? Every saturday at 10:45 is Yoga Saturday. Instructors from Sol Yoga come over to give a class and then there are smoothies and apricot bars and other treats afterwards. May be checking this out soon!

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