A couple weeks ago the weather here in Alicante turned. Suddenly it got cold. Like, really cold. Below 15-degrees cold.
Yeah, I know. Living in the land of eternal sunshine (I ♥ you, Spain) has warped my sense of what’s actually cold. Nonetheless, I’ve found myself snuggling up with hot water bottles, blankets, big baggy jumpers and endless cups of tea.
And I instantly started craving rich bowls of piping hot soup.
I seem to eat about three times as much food in winter so I decided to make the world’s most enormous pot of pumpkin and sweet potato soup, which should keep me going for about two days. Then I added a few extras, as part of my ongoing quest to inject more protein into my largely vegetarian diet.
The secret to this recipe’s protein punch is the mixture of lentils and cannellini beans hidden inside. Then, sprinkle a few seeds over the top and voila! You have complete protein. You can even serve the soup over a little brown rice for even better complete protein paring.
If you’re wondering about this complete protein business, the rule is lentils/beans + seeds/grains = complete protein.
What goes in:
Serves 10. Maybe more!
1 enormous pumpkin (mine weighed about 5kg)
2 large sweet potatoes
600g jar of pre-cooked cannellini beans
250g uncooked red lentils
2 medium-sized brown onions
4 garlic cloves
2cm piece of ginger
Several generous tablespoons of dried rosemary
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 tablespoon of garam masala
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
2 small dried red chillies
1 vegetable stock cube
A couple litres of hot water
Salt to taste
Pepitas and coriander, to garnish
How you do it:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Roughly chop the pumpkin and sweet potato into large pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and then season with salt and rosemary. Pop in the oven and roast for about an hour, until starting to golden and soft when pierced with a fork.
Roughly chop the garlic, ginger and onion. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot then add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another couple of minutes.
Add in the vegetable stock, lentils and roasted pumpkin and sweet potato, then add enough hot water to cover everything. Throw in the spices and chopped chillies and season with salt.
Allow everything to bubble away for 10 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft and fully cooked. You can add in extra hot water if the mixture looks like it’s getting too thick. Add in the cannellini beans and cook for another couple of minutes.
Blend the mixture until smooth. You might want to do this in batches as there will be a heck of a lot of soup! Season again with salt if necessary and serve topped with pepitas and fresh coriander.
This recipe freezes exceptionally well and lasts several days in the fridge.