Brrr!  It suddenly got cold and I’m running round the house turning the heating on and getting extra jumpers!  It had to happen of course, after our strangely warm autumn so far, but I still feel unprepared.

So what’s the only rational response to this turn of events?  Well, steaming bowls of hot chocolate obviously.  But if you’re looking for a healthier option then the steaming bowls have to be filled with soup, and nothing really beats a thick warming soup for a winter feel good factor.

This soup was made on the spur of the moment with store cupboard ingredients, including frozen butternut squash, which has become one of my favourite standbys.  Of course fresh squash would be even better, but having healthy ingredients in the freezer means quick dishes like this can be made without much thought or planning.

Squash and Lentil Soup

1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 tblsp olive oil
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black mustard seed
5 or 6 chunks frozen butternut squash
1 cup red lentils
1 pint water
1 tsp herbamare salt (or use sea salt)
1 heaped tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground black pepper

Heat the onion in a large saucepan and cook the onion, carrot, garlic and spices (except the garam masala) for several minutes, stirring to coat the vegetables in the spices.  Add the squash and lentils and stir briefly, then add the water and salt.

Bring the water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for around 20 minutes.  Add the garam masala and black pepper, taste the soup and add more salt if necessary.

Use a blender to blend the soup until smooth.  If you don’t have a blender, then the soup is fine as it is!

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