The best way to smuggle… red lentils

I think quite possibly, red lentils are the holy grail of vegie smuggling. They have that unique flavour of… well… dirt really, that makes them tricky to hide in a delicious, kid-friendly meal. I have tried all sorts of dahls & stews. I’ve tried to hide them in chillis, fajitas (a way that works briliantly with brown lentils) but time and time again I’ve served them up and gotten a big ‘not happy Jan’ from the kids.

But finally after 18 months of trying and trying I’ve cracked it with this amazingly good pumpkin soup recipe. It is a magic recipe. My kids don’t like pumpkin and they don’t like lentils, but this dish makes them swoon. Admittedly, the quantity of lentils is small, but from modest beginnings I can build. It seems like the trickiest part of vegie smuggling is discovering the first acceptable dish that contains a forbidden ingredient. Once the first meal goes in, the taste seed is planted and you can move on to bigger and bolder things. From here I’ll build a dahl recipe with similar flavours and before I know it, the kids will be pestering ME for a trip down to the local Indian.

vegie smugglers pumpkin and lentil soup recipe

Food alchemy.

Pumpkin, corn & lentil soup

1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, chopped into 1.5cm cubes
Olive oil
1–2 tsp Moroccan spice mix (the better quality the mix, the better the flavour)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 litre good-quality chicken stock
¼ cup red lentils, picked over, rinsed
420g can creamed corn
Grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and top with the pumpkin in a single layer. Drizzle with oil and as much spice mix as suits your family. Toss to combine and bake for 15–20 minutes until the pumpkin is soft but without too much colour.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium–low heat. Add the onion and cook for 6–8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the pumpkin, stock and lentils to the pan. Stir well and cover. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Stir through the corn and black pepper. Remove from the heat and use a stick blender to blend until creamy.

Slice the baguette, scatter with cheddar and grill under a preheated grill on medium until it is melted and golden. Cut some slices into cubes and keep some whole.

Serve the soup in cute bowls, with both cheesy cubes hidden throughout and a large slice on top.



If your kids like soups, why not try these other recipes…

Chicken, vegie & pasta soup

Witches Stew

4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jacqui said,

    Oh that looks really good! I’m going to try that this week, thanks for the recipe 🙂

  2. 2

    Selina said,

    Oh. My. God! Thank you thank you thank you! My kids both HATE pumpkin, but wolfed this down in a microsecond. I didn’t even get a chance to add the cheesy bread! I’ll be making this one again – feeling very smug tonight!

  3. 4

    Rosemarie said,

    This is so yummy. I would put more lentils in, I have no chn, and I used the “entice” brand of Moroccan spice. A little more authentic and Australian owned and no onion in it and little salt.
    Will make again and again. Will see if it freezes

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