5-2 Diet Recipe; Butternut Squash, Mushroom & Green Lentil Soup
A delicious warming, low in fat, high in fibre soup (or curry) to blow away the Winter chills and satisfy your appetite - at only 300 calories a serving.
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Butternut Squash is low in fat and a rich source of nutrients, mushrooms are good for increasing energy levels and green lentils are ridiculously cheap, full of minerals, a great source of fiber and help to lower your cholesterol - all-in-all this little bowl of soup packs a very powerful punch to keep you healthy.
Perfect for a cold Winter's day, hot steaming bowlfuls of this and you and your family will be happy, well fed and full. A serving of this is under 300 calories and I like to eat this as my main meal with some freshly baked bread. The recipe serves four people and freezes really well so stock up the freezer for those days when you don't have the time or energy to cook.
I prepare everything first and then it only takes about 30 minutes to make and for me there's nothing quite so nice as homemade soup and I hope after tasting this warmly spiced soup that you will agree.
500-600g Butternut Squash, peeled and roughly chopped
410g can Green Lentils, drained
135g Organic Mushrooms, sliced thickly
1 Onion, finely chopped
200ml Reduced Fat Coconut Milk
300ml Vegetable Stock
1-2 rounded tbsp of Flour
2 tbsp Patak's Mild Curry Paste
2 tbsp of Patak's Garlic Pickle
1 tbsp Kalonji Black Onion Seeds
1 tbsp Sunflower or Vegetable Oil
A large handful of Fresh Mint or Coriander Leaves
I love pumpkin and squashes of all types and we were lucky enough last year to have a wonderful harvest so I spent lots of time making everything from Pumpkin Bread and Muffins to hot steaming bowls of soups and in this case one of my favorites Butternut Squash, Mushroom & Green Lentil.
- Slice, peel and chop your butternut squash, you will need a strong sharp knife for this, I prefer my favourite utensil, a Chinese Cleaver. And I find it easiest to slice it into circles, half them and then peel them, that may just be me but try it and let me know. You can obviously, especially if you're my friend Jane, bypass this step and buy a bag of ready peeled and chopped Butternut Squash which is available from most supermarkets.
- Heat the Sunflower or Vegetable Oil in a deep frying pan and add your finely chopped onion and cook gently on a low heat for 3-4 minutes until the soften and become translucent. As the spices heat and start to mix with the onions the smell is fantastic.
- Add your preferred Curry Paste, Garlic Pickle and the wonderful Kalonji Black Onion Seeds and fry for 2-3 minutes, don't rush this bit as you are building up a lots of flavor while this is cooking gently.
- Stir in the Butternut Squash and thickly sliced Mushrooms, turn gently in the onion and spices for a few minutes.
- Add your rounded tablespoon(s) of flour and stir to cook through for a further minute.
- Pour in the Vegetable Stock and Coconut Milk. Note: please shake the can of Coconut Milk thoroughly before opening as it sometimes separates and you're left trying scoop out the solid parts in the bottom of the can.
- Turn up your heat and bring the curry to a gently simmer to cook for 20 minutes.
- Add your drained can of Green Lentils and continue simmering for a further 20 minutes, or until the Butternut Squash is very soft.
- Using a handheld blender puree the soup until you have a smooth consistency.
- This is now a fairly thick mixture and you need to add as much water as necessary until you have your preferred thickness. I cannot give you a definite quantity of water as everyone has their own particular preference, I don't like my soup to thick nor do I like it runny, one of the blessings of making your own soup is you can have whatever is perfect for you.
- Scatter the shredded/torn Mint or Coriander Leaves on top as a garnish.
This really is a delicious and nourishing soup and I find myself having to guard the soup if I have made it the day before I'm serving it as my daughter seems to suddenly develop a spoon for a hand. I must admit the first time we had it even I couldn't believe that I had managed to create such a great soup and every time we've had it since I am still surprised at just how good it tastes.
I like to serve this with hot steaming Garlic Naan Bread just out of the oven .... and of course a lot of love!
Note: As you can see in the photograph below this can be eaten as a vegetable curry and then the 'leftovers' can be blended to make the soup, if I do this I normally pop the soup in the freezer for another day - two meals in one.