Red Lentil Piquillo Pepper Bisque

This is a truly delightful and velvety smooth soup!  It has incredible flavor with blended piquillo peppers, tomato, lentils, manchego cheese and toasted almonds!

Red-Lentil-Piquillo-Bisque

I made this soup on Wednesday and brought it to the farmers market to let my favorite ceramic artists Tom and Jasper to taste.  They shared it with two other guys and they gave me four thumbs up!  Yayyyy, I love feedback, especially positive feedback.

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of meeting a fellow food blogger that I admire very much!  Her name is Pang from the fantastic blog “Circa Happy“!  If you don’t know about Circa Happy, I highly recommend it!  She has to be one of the sweetest people/blogger out there and her photography is out of this world!  She is so sweet in person and it shows in her posts.  It is so awesome to meet someone that you have only communicated with through the internet.  We met up in San Jose for lunch and a little shopping at a very cool outside mall called Santana Row.  We talked about everything and of course food photography and blogging.  We plan to meet again!   The best part about making a big batch of soup is that it is so nice to be able to heat some up after a long day out and call it a night!

Red-Lentil-Piquillo-Pepper-Bisque

I enjoy this with a red Rioja and a white rioja, so it pretty much goes with any dry red or dry white wine.

Red-Lentil-Piquillo-Soup

Recipe: Approx. 8 – 10 servings

Piquillo Puree

  • 1 10 oz. Jar Piquillo Peppers (without sugar add) – rinse and remove seeds
  •  1 Cup Strained Tomatoes (I used Bionaturae in a glass jar) or 1 Large Tomato – grated, skin discarded
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Manchego Cheese ( I used raw aged 12 months – Mitica)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
  • 2 Teaspoons Hot Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt

Soup

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 White Onions – diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves – minced
  • 1 Bouillon Cube – vegetarian – unsalted
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Cups Red Lentils – sorted  and rinsed
  • 8 Cups Filtered Water

Garnish (optional, but so good)

  • Red Cabbage – thinly sliced
  • Creme Fraiche
  • Toasted Almonds – roughly chopped

Instructions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F

Toast almonds – spread out on a cookie sheet and bake on the middle rack for 18 minutes (put a timer on so you don’t burn).   Let cool, then roughly chop.

While almonds are toasting, dice the onion and add to a 4 to 5 1/2 quart soup pot or dutch oven along with the olive oil.  Sauté on medium heat.
Mince the garlic and add to onions and sauté for about 10 – 15 minutes or until garlic is slightly golden.
 Add wine and bouillon.  Mash bouillon cube to dissolve and cook until wine is syrupy.
While onions are cooking, measure lentils, sort for any rocks and rinse.  Set aside.
When the onions are finished cooking, add water and lentils.  Turn up heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until lentils are soft.
While lentils are cooking, make the piquillo puree.  In a food processor or blender; puree the piquillo peppers, crushed tomato sauce (if using a tomato, cut in half and grate on a cheese grater with the cut side of the tomato down), almonds, cheese, vinegar, paprika and salt.  Add the puree to soup when the lentils are finished cooking.
Puree with a hand held blender (immersion blender) or you can use a food processor but it won’t be as smooth.
Health benefits:
Piquillo peppers are a high source of fiber, and Vitamins C, E, A, and B.  The vitamin C content is as high as a citrus fruit.  They improve the blood circulation and reduce high blood pressure.  They also help reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and promote healthy cholesterol.
Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady steam of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health.  They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K.  They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth.

Butternut Squash Soup Topped with Cilantro Coconut Gouda Pesto

This is a unique take on a butternut squash soup with the cilantro coconut gouda pesto.  I made this soup a savory style instead of the classic slightly sweet style.

Butternut-Squash-Soup-Topped-with-Cilantro-Coconut-Gouda-Pesto

Butternut-Squash-Soup-and-Cilantro-Coconut-Gouda-Pesto

Recipe: Serves approx. 6 – 8 servings

  • Cilantro Coconut Gouda Pesto
  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Unsalted Vegetable Bouillon Cube
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 4 Cups Filtered Water
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions:

Start by making the Cilantro Coconut Gouda Pesto. (you can do this the day before if you want)

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut off the stem and the bottom of the squash and peel with a peeler.  Cut in half and scoop out the seeds then cut in to approx. 1 inch chunks and put in to a bowl with 2 tablespoons of each olive oil and wine.  Toss together coating the squash.

Put the squash on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes then move to top rack for 10 minutes.

While the squash is baking, dice the onion and mince the garlic.  (or use a garlic press)

Saute the onions, the garlic and olive oil.  Heat on med heat until onions are soft.

Add the wine and bullion cubes the stir until wine is reduced and set aside.

When the squash is done let cool then puree in a food processor or blender with the onions.

Transfer to a soup pot and add the remaining ingredients and cook until hot.

Mix a 1/2 a teaspoon of pesto with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil per cup of soup (or more if you like) and drizzle on top and sprinkle with paprika.

Zesty Red Lentil Tomato Soup

 The combination of red lentils and marinara is down right comforting, it literally soothes my soul!  Mix in some veggies and it’s a healthy delicious soup.

Zesty-Red-Lentil-Tomato-Soup

This is one of my all time favorite soups and a staples I make quite often.  Many years ago my cousin made me a soup very similar to this one, it was so good I had to recreate.  It is the perfect winter soup. It’s filling and satisfying all by itself or it with a yummy grilled cheese sandwich.

_Red-Lentil-and-Tomato-Soup

It goes great with a dry white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or a light red like a Pinot Noir.

Red-Lentil-Tomato-Soup

Recipe – 8 – 12 servings

Sauce

  • 1/2 White Onion (lighter sauce) or Red Onion (richer sauce)
  • 2 to 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup of Dry White (lighter sauce) or Red Wine (richer sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano
  • 1 Jar of Eden Organic Crushed Tomato Sauce for a rich sauce or Bionaturae for a lighter sauce.  Or a can of BPA free Muir Glen.
  • 1/2 Cup Filtered Water
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt

Lentils and veggies

  • 3 Cups Red Lentils
  • 12 Cups Filtered Water
  • 4 Small Potatoes – 1/2 inch diced
  • 3 Large Carrots – sliced
  • 1 Cup Fresh  or Frozen Corn
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – whole
  • 2 Unsalted Vegetable Bouillon Cube
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Spices

  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt or to Taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or to taste (Optional)
  • Optional Garnishes – crushed red peppers, micro sprouts, fresh oregano, chili oil (olive oil & paprika)

* This soup is really good without the vegetables as well.  For extra tomato flavor double the marinara sauce.

Instructions:

Marinara sauce

Dice the onion and mince the garlic then put in straight sided pan with 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.

Saute on medium-high heat untill soft and slightly golden. About 5-7 minutes.

Add oregano, dry white or red wine and saute until wine reduces.

Add the tomato sauce and pour filtered water into the jar then shake to get all the remaining sauce from jar, pour in and stir.

Let simmer for 1/2 hour on medium-low heat.

Add 1-2 more tablespoons of olive oil, sea salt and simmer for another 1/2 hour.

Lentils and veggies

While the marinara is simmering add lentils to a 5 1/2 quart soup pot, rinse thoroughly and strain.

Add the water to the lentils, potatoes, whole cloves of garlic and the bullion cubes then bring to a boil on medium-low heat.  Cook for about 20 – 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.  As the starchy foam surfaces, scoop it off.

While lentils are cooking, in a medium pot add water and then a steam basket, steam carrots on high until soft and add to lentils when potatoes are soft.

After the lentils and potatoes are cooked add the marinara, corn, olive oil, salt and spices.

 Simmer on low for 20 more minutes.

It is best after a few hours or the next day.

Zesty-Tomato-Red-Lentil-Soup

Health benefits:

Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady steam of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health. Lentils provide a steady stream of glucose to your brain.  Glucose is a sugar and key source of energy for cells in the body, and is the only fuel your brain can use.  The high fiber regulates the release of the glucose, providing a steady stream of fuel that powers your brain cells, and is a key component in keeping your brain in excellent shape. They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K. They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth. Lentils originated in Southwestern Asia along the Indus River have been eaten for over 8000 years.

Tomatoes are great for the heart due to the extreme antioxidant support, niacin, folate and vitamin B6 that help the reduction of heart disease.  They are also high in vitamins A, C, K and potassium.  The choline in tomatoes helps assist the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.  It also helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory.  Tomatoes are high in Lycopene the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color.  Cooking tomatoes breaks down the cell walls, which helps to release the lycopene and is better absorbed by the body with a little bit of fat like olive oil.  The Zea-xanthin in them helps filtering harmful ultra-violet rays, which protect eyes from “age-related macular disease.”  They are also a powerful blood purifier and great for skin and bone health.