This soup will make you feel so good. This is a soup I always find myself making on Mondays. Kind of a recovery soup after all the indulging I did over the weekend. As in we ate nothing with any nutritional value this weekend and now we need to make a big pot of nutrients and eat all of them.
That’s what soups are for me – a way to repent. Sometimes when I know we’re having soup for dinner, it feels like punishment. I don’t get excited about soup. In fact, I don’t think I ever made soup until I started dating Greg. Greg LOVES soup. I could never understand why he would get so excited about soup or why in the world he would order soup at a restaurant. For me ordering soup at a restaurant is like staying home to read a book when you have the option to go to an amusement park to ride water slides instead. It always feels like the most boring option.
But maybe I’m coming around. Since Greg and I have been dating, I’ve made all kinds of soups. And I’ve enjoyed them! If nothing else, after eating this soup I can give myself another gold star for all the colors I packed into one meal, Greg is super happy, and all that indulging I did over the weekend doesn’t feel so bad. So we’ll call this a win-win-win!
The red lentils I used in this soup are a bonus. Lentils are a great source of protein, iron and fiber so they can give any soup a nutritional boost. Since this soup already has some many other things going on, I used red lentils. The red varieties tend to cook down and are perfect for thickening soups. If lentils are the star of your dish, you’ll want to use a brown or green lentil as they maintain their firm texture even after cooking.
While my preference would be to use a whole, bone-in chicken, cook it down and make homemade stock; I usually don’t have time for that. So my go-to for soups is rotisserie chicken. It saves time and you still get that cooked on the bone flavor. You can even put the cleaned rotisserie carcass in the pot while your soup is cooking to impart a little more of the natural chicken flavor.
I like to try kinds of seasonings to give the soup some depth. For this one I used ancho chile powder and cayenne pepper which give it a bit of a kick. If you don’t like it spicy, cut these seasonings back or don’t use them at all. The other flavors in this soup are strong enough to hold their own; I personally like the spice.
Oh and this soup’s most redeeming quality is that it tastes better on day 2. So you don’t have to cook tomorrow!
Winter Vegetable and Lentil Soup
- Serves 6-8
- Prep Time 20 minutes
- Cook Time 45 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 cups butternut squash, ½-inch cubed
1 cup sweet potato, ½-inch cubed
1 bunch kale, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 cup red lentils
64 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
3 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Grated parmesan cheese for topping
DirectionsIn a medium saucepan, add lentils, 1 cup chicken stock and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add in the garlic, cook for 1 minute while stirring. Add carrots, celery, squash, sweet potato and chicken. Also add salt, pepper, paprika, granulated onion, chile powder and cayenne pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to allow the flavors to come together.
Add the remaining chicken stock and the cooked lentils. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, add the kale and cover the pot. Allow the soup to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Serve with parmesan cheese for topping.