Red Lentil and Autumn Vegetable Soup

IMG_2630 I made this soup a few weeks ago when the leaves first started changing and I choose ingredients mostly because of their autumnal colors.  It is not typical for me to make food with aesthetics as my primary motivation.  Luckily though, the soup turned out to be tasty, as well as visually pleasing!  The temperature in NYC is supposed to drop over the next few days, and I suspect that the all of those beautiful leaves are going to blow away.  I froze a bunch of this soup when I made it and I’m glad I did.  Hopefully, the soup can extend the fall a bit longer, in my kitchen at least.IMG_2546Ironically, the garnishes for this soup are not just for looks.  They provide important texture and bursts of contrasting flavour, so don’t skip them!


  • 2 tablespoons mild oil plus a little more to toast the pepitas
  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp whole coriander seed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • a pinch of saffron threads
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 pounds total butternut squash, kabocha pumpkin, sweet potato or yam (or a combination of these), peeled and chopped (seeds discarded).  You can also use 2 cups of baked squash or pumpkin.  It is easier to bake those big winter squashes whole than to peel and chop them raw.
  • 1/2 cup yogurt for serving
  • 1/2 cup pepitas for serving
  • paprika or cayenne for serving
  • A few sprigs of cilantro for serving
  1.  Over medium high heat 2 Tablespoons of mild oil in a large heavy bottomed soup pot.  Add the cumin and coriander seeds to the hot oil and cook until the seeds start to pop (just a minute or two).
  2. Add the onion,  garlic, celery and carrots.  Cook until the vegetables begin just begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the turmeric, saffron threads, stock lentils and squash (or pumpkins, yams or sweet potatoes).  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  While the soup cooks, prepare the garnishes
  4. Heat a bit of oil in a pan and toast the pepitas until they turn from green to golden.  Mince the cilantro.
  5. When the soup is done cooking, puree it.  You may add more water, if needed, to achieve the desired thickness.  Serve the soup hot, garnished with yogurt, fried pepitas a pinch of cayenne or paprika and a dusting of minced cilantro.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tanya Berry says:

    Hi Erin, I made this soup and shared some with a friend… here are her comments: this soup is amazing! can i have your recipe? do you know if it freezes well? i’ve never made a good lentil soup and i can’t get enough of this one.

    I sent her to your blog for the recipe, but do you know if it freezes well? I’m assuming yes…

    1. Hi Tanya,

      You know, I froze a bunch of it and have not thawed it yet. Maybe tonight is the night! I’ll investigate further and get back to you. I am so happy that you made the soup and that you liked it!

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