One-Pot Holiday Vegan Red Lentil Butternut Squash Soup

This (oil-free) holiday soup, which complements the tastes and aromas of the holidays, is the perfect introduction to whole food plant-based eating that is so delicious, everyone at your holiday table will be drooling for it!

Vegan Cooking Level: Beginner

Ingredients

2 cups red lentils, rinsed well

9 cups veggie broth or water (or combination)

1 small onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced or grated

½ a medium butternut squash, 1-inch dice

2 stalks celery and their greens, diced

1 tsp. salt (or less, to taste)

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

1 tsp. all-purpose herb & spice seasoning (I like Bragg's)

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup any type white rice, rinsed

Juice of one-half a lemon

Optional: Add a Berbere or Shawarma spice mix to this upon serving to spice it up (hot!)

STEP 1: Add lentils and liquid to a large soup pot or ceramic Dutch oven and bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and set a timer to simmer for 30 minutes until lentils are soft and turn yellowish. Meanwhile, dice up all the veggies.

STEP 2: After the 30 minutes, add all the diced veggies, rice and all the spices to the pot, stir to combine and set the timer for 20 more minutes. Taste test for the veggies and rice to be tender and if not, stir and simmer 10 more minutes and test again. To make a smoother soup (or disguise veggies for kids) use an immersion blender and blend in a pulsing motion until desired texture. Add any veggies desired to the top of your soup, upon serving.

INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS: Reduce the water to 6 cups. Add all ingredients except the salt to the Instant Pot. Press Manual and set for 17 minutes. Use natural release or the a quick-release method (if you're in a hurry) and when the steam is fully released you can open the lid and check your soup! It should be smooth and ready to serve! Use the immersion blender to achieve and even smoother soup.

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