It’s December, and while I feel like everyone is chomping at the bit for gingerbread, peppermint, and cookies galore, I’m here with a super healthy and hearty dinner idea for you. Don’t worry, all of those other things are coming soon, but I have been desperate for some wholesome meals to balance out all the over-indulging. This dinner was so cozy and wonderful, and to my joy all THREE of my family members loved it. That’a a successful dinner now don’t you agree?
This soup uses red lentils, which are my favorite, but green lentils, or split peas would work well too. It is full of veggies, I used butternut squash, spinach, carrots, celery & potato in this, but you could sub sweet potato, or kale if that’s what you have! Chopping the veggies takes a little prep time, but once that is done everything cooks up in about 30 minutes and dinner is served. In my opinion the secret to making this a fantastic soup is the smoked paprika. If you don’t have this spice in your cabinet get on it stat! Everyone that tasted this asked if I had made it with bacon, and when I told them it was meat free they were shocked! The smoked paprika adds a really nice flavor and (in my opinion,) is a great addition to almost any dish. I made a loaf of Crusty No Knead Artisan bread to go alongside this and it was fabulous to dunk right into the warm soup. My only regret is that I didn’t double this recipe and freeze leftovers. Guess what’s going back on the meal plan for next week?
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 medium sized onion, diced
- 2 cup grated carrots (you could also dice them,)
- 10-12 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 tsp. vinegar
- 2 cups dried red lentils
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash*
- 1 large russet potato, diced
- 2 cups finely chopped spinach
- grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a large dutch oven or pot, sauté the onion and celery in olive oil for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Add the carrots and continue to cook until golden, another 3-5 minutes.
- Add the stock, paprika, alt & pepper, fresh herbs, vinegar, lentils, squash, and potato. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to low, simmering for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils have broken down and all the vegetables are soft.
- Stir in the spinach right before serving, and top with parmesan cheese and a dash of cayenne if desired.
Recipe adapted from Life Made Simple Bakes