Vegetable Soup with Lentils and Seasonal Greens

Diet starts…yesterday!

Happy New Year, everyone!  Ahh, January. The month of resolutions, fresh starts, and attempts to undo all of the hefty holiday indulging.  Here’s a recipe I really enjoyed that falls in the healthy eating category, while still being tasty!

I came across a pretty clean eating recipe at Saving Dessert for vegetable soup but made a few edits.  I upped the butternut squash because you can’t cut up a butternut squash and just end up with 1 cup.  I also threw in a zucchini just to mix it up a bit, and used purple kale instead of the pound of bok choy.  With the extra veggies added, there isn’t a ton of broth in the soup, but I also don’t mind it that way.  Perhaps this is more of a stew in that sense.  Anyway, we are all about efficiency in this household with the baby around, and this is a great easy way to get our veggies in without having to cook every night!  Hope you like it as much as we do!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small leek, cleaned and sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped butternut squash (1/2″ cubes)*
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 3/4 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups (32-ounces) no-salt or low-salt vegetable stock
  • 14 ounce can chopped canned tomatoes (low salt)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bunch kale, swiss chard, cabbage, or other seasonal leafy green (I used purple kale)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like things spicy!)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Drizzle the olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven with a heavy bottom. Heat on medium until hot. Add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is softened.
  2. Add the leek, celery, carrots, butternut squash, and the lentils. Stir gently to coat all vegetables in the olive oil then add the zucchini, vegetable stock, and chopped tomatoes. Add paprika and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper.  Cover the pot with a lid and gently simmer for about 15-20 minutes until lentils are soft.

    Loving All the Color
  3. Add the tomato paste, chopped greens, and thyme. Simmer until the greens are just tender.

Smoked paprika might be my new favorite spice.  I really wasn’t expecting this soup to be so tasty because… how good can vegetable soups really be?  The smoked paprika really adds that addicting smoky flavor to the soup, and the little bit of cayenne adds a warm tingle to the tongue.  I’m not big on spicy food, so this is just the right amount.

*If butternut squash isn’t in season, you can sub it with rutabaga, turnips, or other hard squash. I bet potatoes or sweet potatoes would even work in this!  Be sure to cut vegetables about the same size so they cook evenly.
Vegetable Soup with Lentils and Seasonal Greens

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