I thought long and hard about Susan's Vegetable Love contest. I usually think of springy, fresh vegetables as being romantic, but I can't imagine eating anything but steamy hot soup in this cold February weather. So I decided to feature roasted vegetables in my favorite dal soup recipe.
Squash and Beet Dal
1 cup squash, cut into large chunks
1/2 cup beets, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp whole coriander, crushed
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. brown/black mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup small red lentils
1/2 tsp. asafoetida (if you can't find it, it's okay)
5-6 cups water
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (I just threw in leftover salsa I made last night)
2 tsp. salt
crushed red pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F. If you want heart shaped beats, use a metal cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes. Then toss onions, squash, and beets in 1Tbsp. of the olive oil and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place in a glass baking dish and roast for about 30 minutes, until both are tender and starting to brown. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium saucepan. Add coriander, cumin, fennel, and mustard seeds and stir cook until the begin to pop. Quickly cover with a lid. When popping begins to subside, add garlic and red lentils. Stir to coat lentils with spices and oil. When everything smells really awesome, add the water, tomatoes, salt, and asafoetida. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are falling apart and the broth has thickened up a bit. Add in the roasted beets, squash, and onion, reserving a couple of heart shaped beets for garnish. Remove from heat and puree if you want a creamy soup or leave as is. Top with beet hearts and crushed red peppers to taste.
Too bad my sweetie hates beets and won't be sharing this romantic meal with me!