Spicy lentil and pumpkin soup

Nov 1, 2023

October can be cold and this soup is a good way to warm up and also to use up the pumpkin!
Serve it with chutney.

Seasonal Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten free, Dairy free, Egg free recipe

Serves: 4 ​ Preparation Time: 20 minutes ​  Cooking Time: 45-60 minutes ​  Author: Josine Atsma


1ltr water
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped in chunks
½ pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut
1 tomato
100g red lentils
1 tbsp Garam masala
Ground turmeric to taste
1 tsp sugar
Brown Rice to serve
Vegan yeast flakes (such as Engevita) to taste
For the Tarka:
1 tsp black mustard seeds
Vegetable oil
1 ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 onion, finely chopped


Put all the cut and chopped vegetables into boiling water and simmer uncovered for around 30 minutes. Stir-in the spices and sugar and simmer for a further 15 minutes (or until the lentils are soft).

To make the Tarka (not the otter!)

Heat the vegetable oil into a frying pan and fry the onion with the seeds until the onion has softened. Stir in with the vegetable/lentil dish.

You can add around 1tbsp of yeast flakes per portion to make it even more nutritious. Vegan yeast flakes are rich in B-vitamins.

Serve with brown rice or a tomato and ginger chutney will go particularly well with this dish.

Special Diets

When using the ingredients listed, this recipe is suitable for the following diets:

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free
  • Egg free

Please Note: May still contain traces of gluten, egg and dairy or other allergens. Before consumption always check the label of each individual product/ingredient for allergens.

Josine’s WWOOF host story

Josine and JP are hosts in Scotland sharing their home and garden with with 10 chickens, Harvey the rooster and two cats – “We are self-sufficient in most of our fruit and vegetables and eat weeds in the leaner months” – Josine is the owner of the vibrant and award winning Stirling Health Food Store where many more seasonal recipes like the one above can be found.

JP, who’s a freelance web developer, has built a website called ‘Circle of the Good Life’ where Josine writes a monthly blog about their life in Glendevon. Below is a summary of their WWOOF story including how this energetic and creative couple of ex-WWOOFers from the Netherlands came to be hosts themselves:

We moved to a cottage with a fairly large garden back in 2011 where we wanted to grow our own
fruit and vegetables and be self-sufficient for as much of the year as possible. It soon became clear
that we had bitten more off than we could chew and decided we needed help. Thankfully we,
ourselves, have been WWOOFers for 9 months in 2006 when we stayed with several different
WWOOF hosts, all located in Scotland. This was such a great experience and some hosts had such an
inspiring lifestyle that we took the plunge to move to Scotland and be self-sufficient. That’s how we
knew about WWOOF and how it can be a two-way exchange of knowledge.

Josine and JP’s garden

We have welcomed between 20 – 30 WWOOFers during our time as hosts and always had great fun
and, boy, what a difference an extra pair (or pairs) of hands make! With the help of WWOOFers we
built a greenhouse, a chicken coop, dug a massive pond, planted trees, grew lots of vegetables and
made jam, sauerkraut and wine. We have so many fond memories: playing board games with each
other, watching (horror) movies, listening to music and going for walks in the countryside. Of course,
sometimes you find there are not many common grounds between hosts and volunteer or that
language is a barrier, but you always find ways around it and that’s what’s so good about WWOOF;
you learn about other cultures and can have open discussions to learn even more about others.

Big thanks to Josine for permission to share this recipe and for writing her potted WWOOF story.

Photo credit: Josine Atsma

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