Persian Winter Squash Soup

It's fall, and we have mounds of winter squash, so we take every opportunity to enjoy this beta-carotene rich food. I made this delicious dish for my mother's memorial, to accompany some wonderful Persian food prepared by one of our students, Setareh. I used a banana squash and a small golden Hubbard, both from our garden. Serve as meal in it's own right, with bread or flatbread, or as part of a full meal with a dish such as Persian Rice with Chard or Armenian Cashew Rice Pilaf. Ideally, serve tourshi along with Persian food. Scroll down for recipe.

Serves 5 as a main meal, 8 as an accompaniment to other dishes.

Ingredients

1 medium shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup basmati rice
8 or more cups vegetable broth
4lb winter squash, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

For Nānāh Dāgh

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried mint

Sauté shallot and garlic in olive oil until just past translucent. Add turmeric and mix well.

Add rinsed lentils and rice and stir until rice darkens a shade or two.

Add 8 cups of vegetable broth along with 8 cups of water. Cover and cook on medium high for 30 minutes.

Add the cubed winter squash. Continue cooking on medium low for 1 hour and half to 2 hours. Make sure to stir the soup often during cooking time so that the bottom does not stick. If the soup is too watery then cook partially covered to reduce. It is supposed to be thick and hearty soup. Once the lentils are soft, add salt and pepper to taste.

The only way it will taste Persian is to season at the last minute with Nānāh Dāgh. If you forget this step, you wouldn't sense much difference from a typical Indian dal soup! Infuse the dried mint into hot olive oil and pour over the soup just before serving.

Adapted from My Persian Kitchen

Ayurvedic Recipes_Persian Winter Squash Soup 3.jpg
Cubing and peeling the squash. I find it easier to cube first and then peel the cubes or small slices.

Cubing and peeling the squash. I find it easier to cube first and then peel the cubes or small slices.

Simmering the soup

Simmering the soup

Alakananda Ma is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

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