Spicy pumpkin lentil soup
You know that fall is in full effect when you’re in the supermarket and greeted by a large number of pumpkins. It seems like every corner that I turn in the store there appears to be a pumpkin insight. I believe that this was a sign, a calling telling me to make a pumpkin recipe to which I succumbed to.
Pumpkin is an essential vegetable in many Caribbean dishes from desserts to pudding and/or even soup. In fact it is highly favoured over it’s big sister butternut squash. I tend to alternate between cooking with squash and pumpkin, depending on the time of year or the recipe to hand.
In my humble opinion they taste virtually the same, so it’s safe to say that this recipe can be made all year round with squash, therefor, you don’t need to wait until the fall to make my spicy pumpkin lentil soup.
This soup offers a nice little taste of the Caribbean only vegan style. Contrary to popular belief not all Caribbean soups contain meat. Granted you’ll find fish, chicken and soup containing some beef or pork BUT…. Islanders aren’t afraid to venture down the vegan route with a few root vegetables and legumes, both of which play a crucial role in the Caribbean lifestyle.
I would describe this recipe as cheap, cheerful and most importantly healthy. Lentils are one of the cheapest legumes you can obtain. I brought a huge bag for 75p which is a unbelievable bargain. Pumpkin/squash are both reasonably priced too.
You can make the stock from scratch using my recipe and the coconut milk too to save yourself some additional money. One ingredient that might be problematic is the scotch bonnet – queen of the Caribbean. I added this whole for flavour and warmth only not heat. Do note, you can purchase scotch bonnet from any West Indian grocery store. Alternatively, you can use an fresh chilli instead.
Whatever you do DON’T I repeat DON’T cut the pepper/chilli, it is used for flavour only not spice as the chilli flakes will bring the subtle heat. Remove the pepper/chilli just before the soup is pureed.
- 1 medium pumpkin or butternut squash, cubed, peeled and seeds removed (save the seeds)
- 200g red lentils, washed
- 4 tsp coconut oil
- 1 medium sized onion, sliced
- 1 tsp of fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp of ginger, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 700ml of vegetable stock (see post)
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp himalayan pink salt
- ½ tsp of chilli flakes
- ½ tsp palm sugar (optional)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 scotch bonnet or chilli
- Heat the coconut oil in a non stick saucepan and proceed to sautee the onions and garlic until golden.
- Stir in the ginger, thyme, chilli flakes, black pepper, pink salt, pumpkin and lentils (in that order) and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and pour in the coconut milk and add the whole scotch bonnet.
- Over the saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes until the lentils and pumpkin are tenderised.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the scotch bonnet/chilli from the pot and discard
- Meanwhile clean off the flesh from the seeds and rinse them thoroughly.
- Pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Preheat a small frying pan and toast the seeds, they will begin to pop and look golden once done.
- Remove the soup mixture from the saucepan and transfer into a blender.
- Pulse the mixture into a smooth consistency
- Sprinkle with palm sugar and toasted pumpkin seeds prior to serving.