Smoky Lentil Mushroom Soup

lentil mushroom soup

Nice and warm on a snowy February day.

I was in 70 degree and sunny temps in FL the other day…only to come back to 27 degrees and snow in NYC. So, why not make some soup? Not that soup fills the void of fresh Florida produce like tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes….Oh well. I think this soup would benefit from some homemade croutons sprinkled on top and a glass of red wine. Enjoy!

  • 2-3TB olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 package of white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/2C. red wine
  • 1 carton of vegetable broth
  • 1 14oz.can of diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
  • 2 cans of lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 1 container of spinach, rinsed
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoky paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

(Use a Dutch Oven or soup pot) Heat pot first, over medium heat, when pot is hot, add olive oil and then add shallots and garlic, sauté for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and yellow pepper and cook for another few minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add half cup of red wine and stir. Let the wine cook down, then add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and then the lentils and spices, stir. Then cover and let simmer for about 30-45 minutes. Add the spinach just before you’re about to eat and let that get wilted. Serve with crusty bread or, make some whole wheat bread croutons* and sprinkle on top of soup. Serves 4 with some leftovers.

*To make croutons: Cut two slices of whole wheat or whole grain bread into 1 inch pieces. Heat 2TB of butter in a pan, add bread and make sure the bread is coated with the melted butter. If bread isn’t coated, then add a little olive oil. Add some salt, pepper to taste.

Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Curry

You know those times when you have a craving for a particular dish? (Today it was butternut squash risotto). So, you go to the store and attempt to purchase your ingredients, but they don’t have everything you need and you don’t want to venture too far into the store on account it’s pitch black indoors because there’s no power in the store. Then, you come home, realize you don’t have enough aborio rice to make said risotto, so, you scrap the idea when you spy red lentils and a giant container of curry powder in your cupboard and then switch gears. No? So it’s just me then, eh?

So, yes, that was me today. By the time work was over and I’d had enough of my apartment water pressure issues and the Super and the Landlord and management company, I was upset and the only thing that helped was being in the kitchen creating this curry dish for dinner. Cooking is so therapeutic for me, as I’ve written before. Anyway, this was fun to make and my apartment now smells like curry. I’m pretty happy. Enjoy!

Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Curry with Couscous

Mind you, I bought a smaller butternut squash (hey, it was only .75 a pound! How cheap for NYC!) and didn’t have much in my vegetable crisper besides baby carrots and an onion, so that’s what I put into this curry. Now, technically, I’m sure this isn’t a real curry, but hey, who cares? Use what you have on hand. Got a potato? Use it. Got some celery? Use it. You can figure it out along the way, just like I did. My measurements for the spices might be on the cautious side, so, please, adjust and add more if needed. And you know what? My dinner was delicious and a perfect end to my looooong day.

  • 1 small butternut squash, diced small, about 2-3 cups
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 10 baby carrots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Cup of red lentils
  • 1 32 oz. container of Vegetable Stock (I use Kitchen Basics brand w/o sodium)
  • 2Tb olive oil
  • 1 TB curry powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp dried jalapeños (I used California crushed ones from Penzy’s)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 tsp corriander
  • 1 TB tomato paste (I used a generous squeeze from a tube of Mutti, double concentrated tomato paste)
  • 1 TB crushed red pepper
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup couscous, cooked

Heat a Dutch Oven on medium hight heat, add the extra virgin olive oil and then add the garlic, onion and carrots. Sauté until somewhat soft. Add a few dashes of salt to sweat the onions a bit. Add the squash and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add lentils, vegetable broth and all the spices and tomato paste. Give it a good stir and bring it to a boil. Turn down the flame and cover to simmer for 45-50 minutes, or, until the lentils and squash are soft and a majority of the liquid is gone. (While curry is cooking, you can bring a cup of water, salt and dash of olive oil to boil, add a cup of couscous, stir, cover and take off the stove burner. The couscous will be done in about 5 minutes.) Serve the curry over the couscous.