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Winter Squash Soup with Lentils

Because squash seed oils are damaged by high heat, don’t cook with them, but do try them as a dipping oil for bread, use as the oil in a salad dressing (see the recipe for raw kale salad in our Blue Ribbon Edition Cookbook), drizzle over rice, potatoes, mushrooms, poultry, or whatever else you choose.

Are these oils healthy fats? Absolutely. The Styrian pumpkin, for instance, was developed in Austria, back in the 17th century, and early growers discovered that the green seeds of the Styrian pumpkin prevented bladder and prostate problems, and eliminated intestinal parasites (one wonders how they discovered that!).  Austrian farmers grew these pumpkins for the seeds and oil from the seeds alone. Today we are lucky to have growers like Stony Brook Farms in the Finger Lakes Region of New York who continue the tradition. I absolutely love their squash seed oils! (Yes, we do sell these.)

Serves 4

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

healthy pinch dried rosemary

1 large onion, about 2 C, chopped

7 C water or vegetable broth

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp good salt

1 Tbsp curry powder

4-8 Tbsp green pumpkinseed or

4 C squash, peeled and cubed

 squash seed oil

½ cup brown or green lentils

hulled pumpkinseeds for garnish

1 tsp black pepper

minced parsley for garnish

Gently warm EVOO in a soup kettle. Sauté onion and garlic over medium heat until onion is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder and warm until fragrant, about a minute. Add squash cubes, lentils, pepper, rosemary and liquid. Bring soup just to a boil. Lower heat, cover pot and simmer soup for 40 minutes.  Add salt, stir, taste and adjust seasoning. (I like more salt myself.)

Using a potato masher right in the pot, mash squash and lentils in soup. You won’t have a pureed, smooth soup, but you’ll find an interesting one with some thickness and body. Ladle out soup and drizzle pumpkinseed or squash seed oil on top of soup in each bowl. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and parsley (or not). This is really delicious!