Some people get excited about decorating for holidays. I, on the other hand, am more interested in the food that’s associated with the season. Halloween can be a tough one if you aren’t into sweets and candy — unless you’re a fan of black food, which I happen to be. I’d eat black lentils over candy corn any day of the year. It’s not just their color that seems so appropriate, the fact that they’re grown in Eastern Washington is appealing but mostly it’s the ease of preparation and above all, the taste makes them one of my favorite legumes.
A big pot of spicy lentil soup could be just the thing to warm you up on Halloween Eve. This dish is sufficiently dark and murky but surprisingly light and not too filling so you’ll have some room in case you end up with fewer trick-or-treaters than you planned for. The recipe is based on Melissa Clark’s Red Lentil Soup with Lemon. I’ve made it with red lentils too but in keeping with the Halloween theme, tried black lentils with equal success. It’s the lemon juice added at the end that brightens the flavor and has made this my go-to lentil soup recipe.
Lentil Soup with Lemon
1 cup black lentils (or any other color)
3 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T tomato paste
1 t cumin
1 t sweet Spanish paprika
1 qt. chicken or vegetable broth
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of one large lemon
Salt & pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream or yogurt, more paprika for garnishes
In a large soup pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Turn heat down to medium, add onions and garlic and saute until soft and golden.
Stir in tomato paste, cumin, paprika and saute for another couple of minutes.
Add broth, 2 cups of water, lentils and carrots. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 35 minutes.
Add salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro, sour cream or yogurt and sprinkle with paprika.
It seems like every year more varieties of pumpkins and winter squash become available at the farmers market and farm stands. If you want to go with a black and orange theme, here’s my recipe for Pumpkin, Black Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad.
While I’m busy thinking about black and orange foods, some of my neighbors have been hard at work putting up some seriously scary decorations in their yards. Here are a few of the best that I’ve seen this year.
Happy Halloween, everyone!!