Orange Lentil Soup

Color psychologists claim that orange is a happy, energetic color which can make people hungry and remind them of the tropics. I don’t know about you, but in the middle of January I find that my life needs a whole lot of orange! Our world has been nothing but white and cold for the last two months and frankly I’m ready for something different. Since a tropical vacation isn’t on the calendar I decided to put on Bob Marley and warm up my kitchen instead.

Orange Lentil Soup-5

This soup was inspired by a delicious sounding recipe for potato and lentil soup over at The Daily Spud. (An award winning Irish food blog, the author of The Daily Spud is just as nice in person as she is online. If you haven’t checked out her site, do stop by!) Upon finding that I only had orange lentils in my cupboard, I quickly realized that orange lentils and carrots would equal a very orange soup. This sparked a mission to find other orange ingredients to play with and before I knew it I had butternut squash, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and curry powder, sitting together on my counter. It was an orange themed soup party ready to happen!

Making Orange Lentil Soup

Now I realize that color-coordinating your food does not guarantee a good (or even edible) result. However in this case all the ingredients played together nicely, creating a thick and creamy soup. Living up to its energetic color, the spices in this soup really pop the flavor while a sprinkle of toasted almonds adds a lively contrasting crunch. Curry powder, ginger, and cayenne will warm you up from the inside out- add in enough of each and you may even break a sweat. Now the only thing missing is a tropical beach…

Orange Lentil Soup

Scheduling Note – Major site changes are underway this week so I will be posting off of the usual schedule. Thank you for your patience!
Orange Lentil Soup (Printable Recipe)
Inspired by The Daily Spud
Makes ~12 cups of Soup

As I’ve warned before – I can’t make a small batch of soup! Feel free to cut this recipe in half if desired.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (about 4 cups)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ rounds
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 2-inch piece of ginger, minced
2 cups orange lentils, picked over for rocks, and rinsed
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons hot curry powder (or mild if you prefer that)
dash cayenne pepper
10 cups vegetable stock
1 lemon, juiced

1 cup toasted slivered almonds or peanuts (salt free), for garnish

Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, butternut squash, carrots, and onions to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Next add in the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in all of the remaining ingredients except the salt and pepper. Stir the soup, and bring it to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer the soup for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 25 minutes check the soup to make sure the squash is soft all the way through and that the lentils are cooked. The lentils will begin to break down in the soup at this point, which is what you want. Taste the soup and add in salt and pepper until it is to your liking. Take the soup off the heat and let it cool slightly. Once the soup is cool enough, puree it with an immersion or regular blender until it is a smooth and creamy consistency.
Serve the soup hot, with a sprinkle of toasted slivered almonds on top of each bowl.
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