As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, warm up with this delicious and nutritious soup. Pumpkin season is upon us, and not only is this squash so versatile, the health benefits are pretty impressive also.
A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A. This is vital for good vision, especially in dim light. Their bright orange colour is due to their high content of beta carotenoids, including beta- carotene. It is also packed full of fiber which can aid in weight loss and potassium which can restore the body’s balance of electrolytes. Lentils are nutty and earthy in flavour, with a high nutritional value in protein and fiber, which is great for lowering cholesterol. This great cupboard staple is healthy and cheap, which anyone can incorporate into their diet. We love fall!
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus 1 tsp
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- approx 800g chopped pumpkin flesh, plus the seeds
- 100g split red lentils
- ½ small pack thyme, leaves picked, plus extra to serve
- 1l hot vegetable stock
- pinch of salt and sugar
- 50g crème fraîche, plus extra to serve
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Fry the onions until softened and starting to turn golden. Stir in the garlic, pumpkin flesh, lentils and thyme, then pour in the hot stock. Season, cover and simmer for 20-25 mins until the lentils and vegetables are tender
- Meanwhile, wash the pumpkin seeds. Remove any flesh still clinging to them, then dry them with kitchen paper. Heat the 1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan and fry the seeds until they start to jump and pop. Stir frequently, but cover the pan in between to keep them in it. When the seeds look nutty and toasted, add a sprinkling of salt and a pinch of sugar, and stir well.
- Whizz the cooked pumpkin mixture with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth, then add the crème fraîche and whizz again. Taste for seasoning.
- Serve with a spoonful of crème fraîche, a few thyme leaves and the toasted seeds scattered on top.