This week, in the full spirit of autumn, I got my blazers dry cleaned and texted my husband that I felt like a real adult. He reminded me that I am a real adult–a fact I had actually forgotten. Has it ever hit you all of a sudden that the first part of your life is over? The part where dinner is ramen, and you find ways to not do your laundry for a month (hello swimsuit bottoms), and you kind of just bum around carelessly for a few years. And then one day you wake up and take all your blazers to the dry cleaner because the weather is changing. Then you begin to always remember to take the trash out to the curb on trash day.
Life can be funny like that! Sometimes I miss the whimsy of those older days, but I definitely do not miss my cheap college dinners. I made some real doozies back then! This recipe is a better version of a cheap lentil stew. I used bacon for some added smoky flavor, plus red lentils (always red), pumpkin puree, and delicious butternut squash, which is always in abundance at my house lately. I’ve been using half and freezing them! It’s the perfect food for freezing.
Let’s get started on this recipe! First, you’ll saute the bacon until browned. To the bacon, add carrots, celery and onion and saute ten minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the thyme and cumin, and cook for another minute or so.
To the pot, add red lentils, water, pumpkin, butternut squash and drained white beans. Stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately turn down to a simmer and cover, simmering for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils and squash are cooked through. Easy enough! Serve hot! I like to top with croutons or serve with crusty bread. It’s the perfect simple weeknight dinner for fall.
This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver.
- 6 slices bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 cup red lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups ½ inch cubes butternut squash
- one 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
- one 15 ounce can great northern beans, drained
- In a large soup pot over medium high heat, add the bacon pieces. Cook, stirring frequently until bacon is browned. To the bacon, add the carrots, celery and onion. Saute, stirring, until vegetables soften, about ten minutes. Add the thyme leaves and cumin and cook an additional minute.
- Add the lentils, water, salt, squash cubes, pumpkin and drained beans to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Turn down to low to simmer and cover with the lid. Simmer for 15- 20 minutes or until the lentils and squash are cooked through.