Since we’re currently stationed in Boulder, Colorado, I hit up a few of the very-nearby farm stands for some grocery staples this week. Our first stop was at Munson Farms, a place that specializes in winter squash. In order to fuel my semi-quenchable fall appetite our purchase included 1.5 mammoth-sized pumpkins (not those wimpy pumpkin pie types) and an acorn squash. If you’re not in the mood for mammoth pumpkins, they also sell other types of winter squash, like: gourds, delicata, and butternut… among others.
After making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin brownies, multiple pumpkin quiches (recipe coming soon!), pumpkin tacos with black bean salsa, and pumpkin and black bean soup (among others) – I still have half of a pumpkin left. Overbought? Surely, you jest.A short drive down the road is Cure Organic Farm. Although this farm sells 100% certified organic fruit and vegetables, you can also find some local products like wool and honey here as well. We parked for all the non-winter-squash items there, and purchased some golden beets and radish bunches. Beets are typically on the sweeter side of the vegetable category, and can be seen roasted, pickled, grated into cake batter, baked for chips, and even made into gnocchi or pasta. Radishes, on the other hand, are diagnosed into the split personality side of a vegetable: zesty when raw, mellow when cooked. Think: pre-morning coffee, post-morning shower. Although I like the root side of both of these veggies (which I use in the recipe below), I was mainly shopping for their greens to make my Fall Greens and Grain Salad with Acorn Squash. Beet greens, like swiss chard, can play a major role as spinach substitute, and radish greens – with their peppery bite, work well as arugula stunt doubles.
The inspiration for my recipe below came from a post I found at Eating Well for a Moroccan Lentil and Cauliflower Soup. I really liked the spice of the recipe, but had close to none of the ingredients that it called for – and then I got to work. Incorporating the spice, I chopped and sautéed the veggies, added the lentils, stirred in the parsley and created this hearty soup; perfect for a crisp fall meal.
Note: I made this in my all-purpose cooker, which can easily switch from saute to steam to roast to slow cook by a matter of pressing buttons. If you have one, use it for all of the steps in the recipe; cooking everything in one pot is the best flavor enhancer. If you don’t have an all purpose cooker, no need to worry – I wrote the instructions below for you. Bon appetit!
Beet, Radish, and Cauliflower Lentil Soup
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1 Tablespoon oil
1 and 1/2 cup chopped radishes
1 cup chopped golden beets (peeled first)
1 cup lentils
7 cups water, divided
1 teaspoon grated ginger (or ginger paste)
1 and 1/4 teaspoon coriander
1 and 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3-4 cups chopped cauliflower (around 1/2 head)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley – finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Directions: place a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and oil. Saute until onion is tender. Next, add radishes and beets to the pan and sauté until fork tender. Transfer everything from the skillet to a slow cooker, turn dial to “Low” setting, and add: water, lentils, ginger, coriander, curry, and turmeric. Cook on “Low” for 3-4 hours (or longer if you don’t mind a softer bean). Add cauliflower to slow cooker and cook one hour. Stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Makes: 6 servings