Gardens are a surprise. You never know what they’re going to give you.
I’m probably the only person on the planet who couldn’t grow zucchini. You know, the stuff EVERYONE is giving away at the end of the summer because they’ve got so much of it.
Nope, not me. I faithfully planted the seeds, fed and watered them and was rewarded with tons of foliage — and not a single fruit.
Last year, maybe out of spite, I gave away their spot in the garden to their winter cousin, butternut squash.
Again, I faithfully planted the seeds, fed and watered them and was rewarded — with tons of foliage. Figuring I was destined for another fruitless harvest, we left on holiday, expecting to return to a bunch of dead vines.
But gardens are a surprise.
We came home to find that the squash vines had not only escaped their tiny bed, they had taken over the backyard and we had a bumper crop!
Now, as I start to think about planting this year’s garden, we’re down to the end of last year’s harvest. But there’s time for one last batch of warming soup — starring squash — before spring (finally) arrives.
This idea began with a recipe called Harvest Gold that I found years ago in a British Weight Watchers cookbook, Simply Autumn. Each time I made it, there was another change: I threw in some carrots, in keeping with the orange theme, and then added just a hint of curry, since it goes well with both squash and lentils. Finally, a splash of coconut milk, because everything tastes better with coconut milk.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes, optional
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 2 1/2 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
- 2 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
- 2 cups peeled, sliced carrots
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup reduced-fat coconut milk
- 2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds, optional
- Heat olive oil in stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. (Throw in a splash of water if the garlic is browning too quickly.)
- Add hot pepper flakes and curry powder, cook another 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, broth, lentils and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are softened, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Puree soup with handheld immersion blender, or in batches in a blender. (If you're using a blender, make sure you don't fill more than half full.)
- Return to pan and add coconut milk. Heat gently over low heat until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds, if desired