Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Healthy Option: Kabocha Squash and Lentil Soup

The Holidays are almost over and it is time to eat some healthier foods. I can't believe the abundance of candy and cookies around the holidays. I'm weak, so when they are around I eat them. I didn't make a single dessert this Christmas, but I probably ate more sweets during the last two weeks than I did during the previous four months. For my next few posts I am going to try to post some healthy meals that don't sacrifice flavor.

This recipe is based on a recipe I found on one of my favorite food blogs. The original recipe can be found here. I forgot to get a fennel bulb when I went to the market, so I improvised using what I had on hand. I plan to try this recipe again using the fennel bulb, but I am quite pleased with the outcome. This soup features the Kabocha Squash which is an excelent roasting squash, but any smooth textured squash would suffice. The addition of the kale worked very well and the garlic croutons puts this soup over the top.

(Kabocha Squash and Lentil Soup recipe follows)

Kabocha Squash and Lentil Soup

  • 1 1/2 pounds kabocha squash
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 6 slices ginger, 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 15 - 20 whole anise seeds
  • 1 leek, sliced in half moons 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 medium shallot, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 spring onions, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilli
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, more to taste
  • 2 cups chopped kale

Cut the squash in half through the stem and scoop out the seeds. Cut each half in to wedges about 2 inches thick. Coat the squash pieces with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet with a lip or in a baking dish. Add about a half cup of water to the tray and roast in a 400ยบ F oven. Roast until the squash is very tender, about 40 - 60 minutes. Turn the squash pieces over half way through. Remove squash and allow it to cool a bit. Scrape the flesh from the skin and place in a bowl. This could be done ahead of making the soup.

Roasted Kabocha Squash
When the squash is finished roasting add the 6 cups water, lentils, star anise, ginger, and bay leaf to a sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are almost cooked, but a little under done. Remove from heat and discard the ginger and star anise. Heat a soup pot over medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toast the anise seeds and red pepper flakes in the oil for about 1 minute. Add the black pepper, leek, shallot, and spring onion and saute over low heat for 6 - 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the squash, lentils and cooking broth, and salt. Cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until the lentils are finished cooking. Stir in the kale and cook for 2 - 3 minutes more.

Serve in bowls as-is or with garlic croutons.

Garlic Croutons
 Notes: The garlic croutons put this soup over the top! If you buy a larger kabocha squash and roast it you'll have leftovers of roasted squash which is not a bad thing.


  1. Bradley - its Hedy Toolen from Dumaguete! Will try your 2 recipes next week as I will have company and these look perfect. I love Morrocan food and lentils and squash - AND all of the ingredients are available here. Look forward to your other recipes and info about cookware. Cookware is one of the things I really miss here and am so sorry that I sold all my great cookware when we left the states. Oh well, live and learn. Let me know if you want some exotic recipes from here!

  2. Heady, great to hear from you. I'm glad the damage form the flood wasn't too bad.
    Nothing pleases me more than to hear people are enjoying my blog and enjoying the recipes. Please do let me know how they turn out. I would so love to get some of the exotic recipes from the Philippines! Feel free to send them. I would love to find a recipe for Mongos (is that how it is spelled?) the soup with beans and coconut milk. The girls laughed when I told them it was my favorite "but, sir, that's what poor people eat" thy said. I loved it.