Back when I was practicing Zen Buddhism, there was a soup that was served frequently for lunch at meditation retreats. The base was butternut squash, blended with miso, honey, butter, and some spices into a thick and delicious soup.
Of course, this soup wasn’t vegan, but I often made my own version of it at home.
It’s been years since my last meditation retreat, but the deliciousness of this soup stuck with me. I wanted to recreate it as a version that had a bit more protein and nutrition. Something perfect for warming up on a cold day. Or you know, any day, really.
I came upon a recipe from Chatelaine Magazine that added in lentils and used coconut milk instead of butter. My version adds in a few more veggies (broccoli or kale are perfect here) but maintains that umami flavour of the miso.
For my fellow spoonies: this recipe is made much easier if you choose frozen vegetables. For example, frozen kale or broccoli work great! You can also get frozen chopped onions (often mixed with a few other veggies like carrots or celery). Totally fine to use those too. If it is a mix with carrots and celery, the soup will be good with those additions.
If you prefer fresh vegetables, you could look for a pre-made kale salad (without dressing) that is mostly kale. Handfuls of that work instead of chopping kale yourself! Or, try baby spinach instead, which doesn’t need chopping. Sometimes it’s even pre-washed.
If blending half the soup just feels like too much work when you get to that step, just skip it! It’s still delicious, just more chunky and a bit less creamy.
Finally, this soup does easily double if you want to meal prep it on a day you are feeling up to doing that. It freezes fine – sometimes the coconut milk can separate a bit, but just give it a good stir when reheating and it will blend back in.
Squash Miso Lentil Soup
- 1 large soup pot
- 1 hand blender or regular blender
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil I like olive
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic diced
- 1 large carrot diced
- 2 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 litre vegetable broth low sodium
- 398 mL coconut milk one can
- 2 cups squash frozen
- 1 1/4 cups red lentils
- 3 cups vegetables, in bite sized pieces see notes for suggestions!
- 1/3 cup white miso
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice optional
- 1 pinch black pepper optional
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic and carrot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Next, stir in ginger and cook until fragrant, 2 min.
- Add in the vegetable broth, coconut milk, squash, and lentils. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils and squash start to break down and thicken the soup, 15 min.
- Now it's time to blend half the soup. Take a hand blender and blend on low until about half is blended. Alternatively, put half the soup in a regular blender and blend until smooth, then add back to the pot.
- Next, add in your vegetables of choice and cook a few minutes until tender, or if you chose greens like kale or spinach, just until wilted.
- Turn off the heat (very important!)
- Take 1 cup of water and whisk with the miso in a small bowl until smooth. Add that to your soup.
- Give it a taste! If you feel it needs a little brightness, add in the 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. If it needs a bit of black pepper, add that in too.
- Enjoy hot with some bread or crackers.