butternut squash, soup, vegetarian,

Butternut Squash, Carrot + Red Lentil Soup

Fuel up pre- or post-workout with this hearty and satisfying soup.

If you dismiss soups as nothing more than a starter dish or one half of a complete meal, you're missing out on a warming and satisfying way to get your fill. "When they're chock full of vegetables, protein, antioxidants and a host of other nourishing nutrients, soups are a great one-stop shop meal," says Marissa Lippert, R.D. and founder of Nourish Kitchen + Table in New York City. "Look for soups that are brothy and balanced, heavy on the veg and/or lean protein, and full of complex, slow-burning carbs like beans and grains."

To get you started, we're featuring a good-for-you recipe from Lippert every Monday this month. Check out her first offering, a White Bean + Escarole Soup, and our second soup below. It's loaded with slow-burning carbs from butternut squash, satisfying protein from red lentils, and spices for an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory boost. Enjoy.

Butternut Squash, Carrot and Red Lentil Soup 
Serves 8 to 10

1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 to 3 parsnips, chopped
3 to 4 shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground (or 1 tsp. ground cumin)
1 tsp. harissa powder (or a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper)
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. brown sugar
3 bay leaves
4 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 c. water
1 c. coconut milk
1 c. of red lentils
salt to taste
garnish with cilantro
good pinch of Aleppo pepper

1. In a large stockpot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. 

2. Add vegetables, shallots and garlic and saute for 8 to 10 minutes. Add in spices, brown sugar, bay leaves, broth, water, coconut milk and lentils. Increase heat to medium-high, stir well and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.  

3. Discard the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, lightly puree the soup, leaving it slightly chunky. Garnish soup with cilantro.