predictably, i am in love with this red lentil pumpkin soup (yes, there’s ginger). let’s break it down, shall we?
to get the easy one out of the way, there’s pumpkin, which hardly needs any explanation about its deliciousness (and ease, since we’re opening a can, not firing up our chainsaw, our oven, and our patience).
there are red lentils, which provide protein and fiber and cook in 10 minutes (swoon!). they also help rescue us from the land of thin, brothy soup, which i am realizing i don’t really like, as i test a bunch of other recipes for thin, brothy soup. (anyone who thinks dinner in the tasty seasons house must be delicious every night is hilarious.)
and as i already mentioned, there’s ginger. and cumin. are you in?
since we’re blending this soup, i thought i would take a moment to weigh in on the age-old question of immersion blender vs. high-speed blender. my goal is not to convince you that one is better than the other – in fact, i like the soup both ways – so much as to elucidate what i think the differences and considerations are.
immersion blender on the left, vitamix on the right
for no particular reason, we’ll start with the immersion blender. this is the one that i have so while i think that many of my comments apply to immersion blenders in general, my specific experience is with this one. generally, i’m very happy with him for blending large pots of hot soup. that said, i have yet to ever blend soup without at least a little bit splattering on the stove/wall/whatever is nearby (and yes, i keep the blade submerged in the soup). and the soup never gets to be silky smooth; it’s always a little bit grainy. that said, the immersion blender does blend hot soup quite serviceably and that’s pretty much the only thing i use him for.
i used the whisk attachment once to try to whip just a little bit of cream and that was a splattery mess (even using their tall container that comes with it) so i’ve never gone back to him for that. and i’ve never even tried the chopper gadget because i just can’t come up with a use case that he would handle better than my favorite knife or my legit food processor.
so, to summarize (/add new points at the last minute): he’s convenient for blending hot soup without transferring it out of the pot and back again, though some droplets will transfer to surrounding surfaces. and he’s not too expensive, especially compared to a high-speed blender.
immersion blender on the left, vitamix on the right
ok, high speed blender’s turn. just over a year ago, i finally bought a refurbished vitamix with a bunch of gift cards and instantly fell totally in love, though not necessarily related to using it for soup.
i make a pretty gnarly green smoothie for breakfast every day (raw kale, flax seeds, walnuts, etc.) and with the vitamix, it’s actually smooth. with the blender that the vitamix replaced, this green concoction was… not smooth. same goes from blending cashews into all sorts of vegan sauce-y delights (such as the creamy garlic sauce on the broccoli white pizza). and judging by the 2” thick recipe book that came with the vitamix, the machine can do a whole bunch of things that i haven’t even tried yet.
but let’s focus on soup, which i have tried. i’m not going to sugar coat it: the transfer struggle is real, friends. hot soup will end up dripping on the counter/stove. and if you have a large quantity of soup that doesn’t fit in the blender all at once, all of a sudden we have double the number of dirty pots to wash as we have a before pot and an after pot. so, there’s that.
but the soup itself? so. smooth. like the smoothest pudding you’ve ever had, except hot and without leaving that weird coating on your tongue (ok, maybe this wasn’t such a good comparison…). it’s really smooth. let’s just leave it at that.
the soup can also end up tasting a little bit spicier, since all the littlest bits are being chopped up and releasing their flavors (kind of like how adding minced garlic to something has a much more pronounced effect than adding a whole (intact) garlic clove would). the soup can also end up thicker. i could make up some scientific-sounding reason, but instead let’s just go with, trust me, i tried it once.
and finally, obviously, this machine is not cheap. even the refurbished ones are a few hundred dollars. for me, he has been totally worth it because i use him at least once a day and he produces noticeably better smoothies, to say nothing of all of the other things that i use him for. but i wouldn’t buy him just to make silky smooth soups.
so as i said upfront, i’m not trying to convince you of one over the other. you could even skip blending this soup all together and serve it more like a daal if you wanted to. but i hope that if you *do* want to blend this red lentil pumpkin soup and you had been wondering about an immersion blender vs. a high-speed blender, that this comparison gives you a bit more information to mull over. and no matter what, you can’t go wrong when you choose red lentils + pumpkin + ginger.
blended soups previously
(i’ll note which machine i used in case you want to scrutinize the close-up photos)
carrot ginger soup (vitamix)
spicy black bean soup (immersion blender) *one of my all-time favorite soups*
creamy roasted mushroom soup (vitamix, with action shots!)
chick pea, tomato, and pasta soup (immersion blender, with pasta and more chick peas added after blending) *one of my all-time favorite soups*
easy asparagus soup (vitamix)
fresh pea soup (immersion blender)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 large cloves of garlic, diced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
- 3 ½ cups (28 fl. oz. / 828 ml) low sodium vegetable or chicken broth, divided
- 1 cup (200 g. / 7 oz.) dried red lentils
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz. / 237 ml) water
- ¾ cup (202 g. / 7 1/8 oz.) canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 ½ tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
- juice of half a lemon
- ¼ cup unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (no stems)
- heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. once hot, add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. add the garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, for 1 minute, until the garlic is softened and fragrant. add the cumin, chili powder, and chipotle powder and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- add 3 cups (24 fl. oz. / 710 ml) of the broth and the lentils. stir and turn the heat up to high to bring to a boil. once boiling, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
- blend the soup using your blender of choice. (if you use a regular blender that doesn’t have a steam vent in the lid, remove the center piece of the lid, secure the rest of the lid on the blender jar, and place a kitchen towel over the center opening to prevent splatters while allowing steam to escape.) transfer soup back to pot, if necessary.
- add the remaining ½ cup (4 fl. oz. / 118 ml) of broth, the water, and the pumpkin to the soup. stir and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the soup is heated through. remove from heat and stir in the ginger and lemon juice. ladle into bowls and top with pepitas and cilantro. serve immediately. leftovers keep well and heat up like a dream. i haven’t tried freezing any leftovers yet (because i ate them all) but i imagine it would work well.
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