Butternut Squash Soup

By Lucy Hyland

Serves: 4-6 portions   Prep Time: 20 minutes  Cooking Time: 30 minutes

This soup soothes the soul. It is gently warming yet rich as its packed full of flavour. The butternut squash is naturally quite sweet and naturally sweet foods can feel very comforting indeed. It is very easy to skip one of the most important nutrients at lunch – protein. This soup has protein in the form of lentils, which are very quick to cook and add loads of extra goodness to this already nutritious soup. The colour of this soup just makes you feel good.

The recipe also contains ginger – ginger root is easily found in the supermarkets and is one of the best spices for easing nausea. Another tip is to great about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ginger root into some boiling water and sip it throughout the day – it can really help alleviate that nauseousness. 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion – roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch of ginger root – grated
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 medium sized butternut squash – peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 tin of red/orange lentils OR 2 cups of dried lentils (washed and rinsed for both)
  • 1 litre of stock or boiling water (I used homemade chicken stock but a low sodium chicken or vegetable stock will do)

Method

  1. Place onions in a large saucepan, add a little water, place over a medium heat, and cover with the lid.
  2. Allow them to get lovely and soft and then add the rest of the spices and herbs, along with some salt and pepper.
  3. Give these a good stir and leave for a few minutes. If you feel the mixture is getting a little dry, add some more water.
  4. Add the chopped butternut squash and stir well (the smaller you chop them the shorter the cooking time – I aim for about an inch squared)
  5. Add the tinned or dried lentils, stir well and then add the stock.
  6. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for around 15 minutes.
  7. It's done when the butternut and the lentils are soft – test with a fork.
  8. Blitz using a blender or hand held blender and serve with some freshly chopped parsley or coriander/cilantro.

Nutritional Benefits

This recipe is a great all-rounder. The soup is packed with plant foods that are a rich source of anti-inflammatory phyto-nutrients which are great for protecting the body’s cells from damage.  Herbs and spices, in particular, do a great job in this department. The protein from the lentils will help to maintain your body’s muscle mass and help your body to heal especially after surgery.