Moroccan Spiced Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Soup


This soup is an absolute staple for fall.  I have had the most basic version of butternut squash soup, which is essentially boiled squash, onions and broth, pureed until smooth.  That soup is satisfying and delicious, But when you spice it up, toss in some fresh aromatics, and add some red lentils for protein, the whole thing goes to another level. This is a delicious, warm, and filling soup.


One large butternut squash
Moroccan spice blend (see below)
1 1/2 cups red lentils
3 leeks
3 cubes of Rapunzel vegan vegetable bouillon with sea salt and herbs
a 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated 1-2 stalks of fresh lemongrass (optional) Chop if tender, or leave whole and remove before pureeing if it's woody and tough
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 cups of diced tomato
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
Juice from 1-2 lemons
Moroccan Spices:
This is basically the same as the Ras-El-Hanout blend on, with a few minor changes. Whisk together spices that are already ground, or use whole and grind in a clean coffee grinder or spice grinder. Keep in mind that you may need less of the spice blend if the spices are freshly ground. The Neo Masala Indian Spice Blend by Alchemy Spice is very similar to this one, and can be used as a substitute if you don't have time to blend your own. 1/2 tsp each of the following:
Sea salt
Black pepper
Turmeric 1/4 tsp each of the following:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, seed and cut the butternut squash into cubes and place on a baking sheet. Toss with some oil and sprinkle some of the Moroccan spices over the cubes and roast in the oven until the tips begin to turn dark brown.
Meanwhile, trim the green parts from the leeks and chop the tender white parts. Place in a large stock pot with some oil. Saute on medium-high heat until tender. Add the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, stock cubes, lentils, and 2 tablespoons of the spice blend. Stir until combined, then add 8-10 cups of water. Stir occasionally. Allow to boil a few minutes, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are very tender. When the lentils are cooked completely, add the cooked butternut squash. Remove from heat and let cool enough to puree safely. Remove the lemongrass stalks if they are whole. Either with an immersion blender or standard blender, puree the soup until smooth.
After the soup is pureed, warm through on low heat. Stir in the diced tomato, chopped cilantro and lemon juice. Add water if too thick. Season with more salt or spices to taste.