This comforting and nourishing chestnut, pumpkin and red lentil soup is just the autumn warmer you need to keep you and your family going.
The soup season is officially open! I just came back from Hawaii and cold hit me right away as soon as I put my foot on the Chicago ground. I’m a summer girl, I love warm weather, sun, light dresses… and seriously it took me years to understand those who said they loved scarves, layers and heavy clothes. I hate being cold or freezing. Luckily, I got much better at this after all these years in Sweden and now in Chicago, and it went to a point that I can now handle it pretty well actually.
Most importantly – and this really helps me to fight the cold every year – I love healthy warm, comforting and nourishing meals loaded with seasonal vegetables, especially when it’s all dark outside and cozy in my house. It brings me joy somehow and it makes me feel good both from the inside and the outside.
Soups are definitely among my favorite meals in this season. They are so easy to prepare and enable you to get all your veggies at once. Also, I like the fact that you can actually make huge quantities of soup so you have enough for a few days in a row. When I was younger, used to have soup (almost) every day as a starter to dinner, and many families still do it in France. It’s actually a good way to make sure you have your daily veggie intake, even though it is not meant this way in France.
A few others of my favorite seasonal soups:
- Best Ever Ginger Lime Carrot Soup
- Detox Cumin Broccoli Lentil Soup
- Purple Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup
- Vegan Celeriac and Parsnip Soup
- Sumptuous Creamy Mushroom Soup
Nowadays, the lack of time makes us skip the 3-course dinner most of the time, and soup becomes the unique meal instead. So my little trick is to add legumes (such as chickpeas, lentils, etc.) to the soup, in order to make sure it is satisfying enough to keep us energized until the next meal. I also play with extra toppings (savory granola or all kind of seeds) and serve with a generous slice of bread or tartines from time to time.
Today’s soup makes no exception. I prepared it with butternut squash or any other pumpkin, depending on what I have at hands, and then add some cooked, peeled chestnuts. Alternatively you could use some chestnut puree (not chestnut spread though, this one has sugar!) or even better, take the time to cook your own chestnuts. I used to do that at home when I was a kid and it was a lot of fun each time a chestnut would pop up in the covered dutch oven! The chestnuts bring a lovely earthy taste and to make the fall flavors pop out even more, I add a few leaves of fresh sage while cooking.
And then I add some red lentils to make the soup more satisfying and being able to enjoy it as a main meal. Prepare everything in one single large pot with vegetable broth, white wine, and let simmer until everything is cooked through (vegetables and lentils). Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan on medium heat and gently fry the remaining chopped chestnuts in a little bit of butter. When the vegetables are ready, mix everything using an immersion blender, adjusting both the seasoning and the consistency according to your own tastes, and serve the soup hot with the extra fried chestnuts on top and a few additional sage leaves.
And there you are, finally ready for the chilly days of fall and winter with a warm, satisfying and comforting soup, healthy on top of that. Smile and enjoy!
- 1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter + 1 teaspoon
- 4 cups (650g) butternut squash or other pumpkin, diced
- A few sage leaves
- Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup (200g) red lentils
- 4.4 ounces (210g) whole roasted chestnuts, peeled + extra for serving
- 3-4 cups (3/4 - 1L) vegetable stock
- ⅓-1/2 cup (100ml) dry white wine
- In a large pot or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and gently fry, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften. Melt one tablespoon of butter and gently stir-fry the pumpkin, until roasted on all sides. Add the sage leaves and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then add the red lentils and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender and red lentils are cooked through.
- Add the cooked chestnut, reserving a few for serving, pour the white wine, and simmer 5 more minutes.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding additional stock if the soup is too thick.
- In a small frying pan, melt the remaining butter and stir-fry the extra chestnuts, chopped.
- Divide the soup into bowls, top with the chopped roasted chestnuts, thyme leaves, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and enjoy!
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