Comfort Food…

So, I’ve had kind of a rough week. I mean, I’m great, but between unpleasant dental work, taking my car to the shop, a flat tire, and, to top it all off, breaking my crockpot (by far the worst of it!), I was ready for some comfort food. Of course, comfort food is different for everyone. For me, it’s a simple, satisfying meal (or snack) that leaves me feeling nourished.

The meal of the day is French lentils with greens and creamy butternut squash soup. The rich colors will appeal to your senses even before you take a bite. Then, when you dig in, you get a little saltiness, a little sweet, creamy and warm – pretty much everything you need for comfort food, as far as I’m concerned.

And, of course, simplicity. French lentils don’t need soaking and cook in under an hour, with very little effort on your part. The squash takes about the same amount of time to bake, again with very little effort. Once that’s all done, it’s just a matter of a pan and blender and about 10 minutes of your time…

To cook the lentils, place in a pot (I use 2 cups so I have plenty for now and some for the freezer too), then cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook with the cover off just enough to let a little steam escape until soft. This takes about 45 minutes, maybe a bit less, for me. Do use French lentils, as they hold their shape, while other types of lentils do not. And, they are extra yummy.

To cook the squash, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, coat the fleshy part lightly with olive oil and bake face down in a baking pan. Put a few gashes in with a sharp knife and bake at 400 degrees until very soft. Scoop out flesh and mash with a fork. If you are baking something else and think to put the squash in, it will be fine at any temperature between 350 and 425 degrees. If you are using beet greens, you can roast the beets at the same time too.  I use a combo of delicata squash and butternut squash. One medium butternut and 2 very small delicata yielded about 4 cups, but don’t worry too much about amount – you can always adjust seasonings, etc.

French Lentils with Greens, 1 serving, easily multiplied 

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped shallot (could replace with leek, scallion, etc)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark leafy greens (my favorites are beet greens and kale)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Heat small saucepan over medium heat.  Add olive oil and tilt pan to coat.  Add shallot and saute until it begins to brown.  Add Kale and continue to cook, covered, until tender.  Add lentils, cover and cook 5 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Butternut Squash Soup

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped leek
  • 4 cups mashed roasted butternut/delicate squash
  • 4-6 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube (I like Rapunzel, with sea salt)
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter, or more if you like
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth.  Heat, season with salt, if necessary, and enjoy! 

Optional additions/changes:

  • replace ginger and nutmeg with curry powder
  • puree an apple into the soup
  • replace the water/broth with coconut milk and reduce or eliminate the coconut butter
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