One of my favourite things about winter is being able to cook more lovely nourishing soups. Pumpkin soup is a definite favourite in our house, so I’ve given it a bit of a protein boost with some red lentils, to make this soup a super healthy and hearty meal. Pumpkin is a wonderfully rich source of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A by the body. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant and immune enhancer. It also helps support healthy eyesight and gums. Red lentils are a highly nutritious legume and a fabulous source of iron, which is an important mineral needed to build red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body. Lentils are also high fibre, for good bowel health, and zinc, which helps strengthen the immune system to fight off infections, as well as being essential for male and female reproductive health. And not to forget all that lovely garlic that will help prevent colds and flu this winter, as well as helping lower your cholesterol levels. Make an extra big batch so you can freeze some for meals during the week. I love to stir a spoonful of either Greek yoghurt or pesto through the top of this tasty soup, and serve it with some crusty grainy toast drizzled in flaxseed.
1/4 kent pumpkin
2 large carrots
1 celery stalk
3 cloves of garlic
Small handful of sliced leek
1/2 cup dried red lentils
2 cups water
Season with sea salt and pepper
Top with a spoonful of pesto or Greek yoghurt
In a large saucepan heat some olive oil and add pumpkin, and carrots and cook for around 4 minutes, then add in leek and garlic and celery and cook for a further few minutes.
Add 2 cups of boiling water and then add in lentils. Bring to the boil and then turn down to low heat. Season with sea salt and some pepper and leave to cook for 30 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes and add extra water if needed.
Mix with a hand blender and then serve topped with either pesto or Greek yoghurt, along with some crusty wholegrain toast drizzled with flaxseed oil. Avocado toast is also lovely with soup.