The weather turned here this week. Last week, we were running around in huge piles of leaves in our T-Shirts. This week, we’re in wellies and big coats and I’m secretly thrilled. I love the colder weather and all the beautiful colors everywhere in the autumn. What better excuse than to pull out my crockpot and make more soup! This is one of those soups takes very little time and yet tastes very rich and delicious and leaves your kitchen smelling superb. It’s vegan and dairy free. The red lentils add extra protein and iron. The ingredients are simple and you don’t need to spend much on them. Simply chop and prepare all the ingredients and pop into your crockpot. And you’ll have a delicious lunch or simple supper ready for you just a few hours later.
Last weekend, I went apple and pumpkin picking with my family in beautiful upstate New York. As we were about to choose a large pumpkin to carve for Halloween, I spotted a field of butternut squash growing close by. It’s always fascinating to see vegetables growing and to pick them right then and there. It’s my dream to have an organic vegetable garden but for now, visiting local farms and selecting their produce is wonderful too. I picked the butternut squash (above) and when we got home made this simple soup. I love it when the weather cools down enough that I can eat soup for lunch every day.
This week is Thanksgiving in the U.S. It’s a wonderful holiday where we get to share a delicious feast with our family and friends and it’s my favorite American holiday of all. This massaged kale, butternut squash and pomegranate salad is an updated version of my famous massaged kale salad that I love to include in my detox and cleanse programs and make almost every week at home. Tangy, spicy, crunchy and full of green goodness, I think this salad would make a beautiful addition to any Thanksgiving table.
Please don’t be intimidated by pomegranates. Here is a very easy way to take the seeds out of a pomegranate in just a few minutes!
One bunch kale (lacinato, purple or curly)
1-2 cloves garlic
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
2-3 tablespoons goat’s cheese
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Heat oven to 400F. Peel, de-seed and dice butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. Place on aluminum foil on a baking tray. Drizzle olive oil, sea salt and rosemary over squash. Bake until golden and soft – about 40 minutes.
- Place sunflower or pumpkin seeds on another baking tray lined with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes until brown.
- Remove thick stems from kale. Slice into fine ribbons or tear apart into small pieces with your hands. Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, garlic and the lemon juice over the kale. Rub into the kale leaves.
- Once squash is cooked and cooled a little, put into the bowl with the kale. Stir.
- Add the pomegranate seeds and sprinkle the crumbled goat’s cheese and sunflower or pumpkin seeds on top.
- Season with salt and pepper.
October is my favorite month of the year. The leaves are starting to change color, everyone is in full back-to-school mode and settled into routines and the Farmer’s Markets is bursting with autumn vegetables. Of course, as I write this blog it’s 85 degrees in NYC and we are still in shorts and t-shirts so I’m hopeful for some cool drizzly days soon when I can dust off my boots, wrap up in a big scarf and enjoy the season. And make soup. Why not try this easy butternut squash soup this week. It’s not fiddly (no peeling, cutting and cursing at raw butternut squash as you try to chop it up to fit in your pot) as it’s roasted in the oven and has some seasonal apple for extra flavor and sweetness. Enjoy!
2 medium butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
olive or coconut oil
4 carrots, chopped
1 medium Honeycrisp or Gala apple, cored and diced
1 medium onion, diced
6 fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: roasted pumpkin seeds or chopped parsley
- Heat the oven to 425°F
- Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush olive or coconut oil all over the tops of the squash. Roast until the squash is tender (about 1 hour) then cool on a wire rack.
- Place carrots, apple, onion, sage, a pinch of sea salt and pepper in a saucepan and cook until softened. Set aside.
- Scoop out the flesh of the squash and put it into the pan with the apple mixture. Discard the squash skin.
- Add the broth, water, pinch of sea salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Using a blender or immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth in batches. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds or fresh parsley.