Sunday, March 11, 2012

Not Butternut Squash Soup and Broccoli Sprout Salad

Today was a day of improvising. I started out in the sewing room. I am still working on that dang roman shade. I was all set to make a big dent in the project until I realized the fabric glue required a drying time of 24 hours. OK. So I glued on the trim, set it all to the side, and I made two pillows for a friend.

My plan was to make Red Lentil and Curry Butternut Squash Stew. That was my husband’s request and what he thought he was going to get when he got home! But alas, we were out of squash! So time to improvise, again! He loves quinoa and beans, so based on that, the following soup happened!

Although he says he likes the Red Lentil and Curry Butternut Squash soup better, he had no problems having a second good size helping of this soup! I liked it too, and it was a pretty fast throw together soup! Very thick and hearty.

This is how I made Not Butternut Squash Soup:


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced 
  • 3 small zucchini, chopped 
  • 1 ½ boxes vegetable broth (6 cups) 
  • ½ cup quinoa, uncooked 
  • ½ lentils, uncooked 
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • ½ - ¾ tsp curry powder 
  • ¼ - ½ tsp cinnamon 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Sprinkle of ground nutmeg 
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves (or kale would be good too!) 
Directions: Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the chopped onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Stir often. Add the chopped carrots, chopped zucchini, and minced garlic, and continue to sauté, covered, stirring often for about 10-15 minutes. Enough so the vegetables are almost, but not quite done.

Add vegetable broth, quinoa, lentils, tomatoes, black beans, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the spinach and cover. Simmer on low for about 15-30 minutes. Makes about 10 cups.

A day just isn't complete without a salad. I wanted to use my sprouts and my broccoli. I couldn't find any recipes for that combination, so time to improvise again, and Broccoli Sprout Salad was born.

Broccoli Sprout Salad

The ingredients are rough because I did not measure! Exactness is definitely not crucial with this salad.

Chop and add to a large bowl:

½ red pepper
2-3 green onions
1 carrot
½ cucumber
1 c broccoli florets (little pieces)
1 tomato
2-3 c sprouts (mine were a combination of mung beans and lentils)
¼ c sliced almonds

Stir it all together


1 avocado diced
1 lemon
Sweetener (optional: agave or honey)
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Cayenne Pepper

Dice the avocado and place in a medium bowl. Add the juice of a lemon. Add some olive oil – maybe a tablespoon or so – and the rest of the seasonings.

Stir it all up and add it to the veggies.

That’s it!

My lemon was rather big and the lemon juice was quite overpowering so I added some agave to take a bit of the tartness away – and not enough because my husband still thought it was too tart! I thought it was just right, so I ate his!

It is a wonderfully crunchy salad with lots of flavor. I love sprouts and this was a perfect way to use them. If you have never sprouted mung beans or lentils before, it is really easy to do. They are a powerhouse of nutrition, and way better than any you can buy. Watch this great little video on YouTube that shows how to make a sprouting jar, and also how to sprout. The same procedure shown on the video for the alfalfa sprouts would apply to mung beans and lentils. I use the plastic netting from the bags of limes or lemons for the screen. You could always improvise with anything that would work!!

So after some minor improvising, everything turned out OK.  Like the saying goes, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade." 

I could also say, "when you are out of butternut squash, make not butternut squash soup" or "when your sprouts and broccoli want to get together, make broccoli sprout salad."

(Does that even make sense? I can tell I lost that hour of sleep with the time change! Yikes!)

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