Given the polar vortex that's kept this winter viciously cold, a bowl of hot soup is the perfect remedy to keep you comfortable and sane. I had a version of this particular recipe on such a day at Juice Press; I wanted something light and vegetarian, but not less warming. After this soup revived me from the arctic air, it hit me that this would be a great quick dish to whip up at home or save for cold days.
A hearty and filling vegetable soup, it's packed with rich curry flavors; an earthy, nutty crunch from pepitas; and a touch of brightness from cilantro. Quinoa adds both substance and protein, and a variety of vegetables are there for layered flavor, sweetness, and general goodness. I'm a big fan of chunky rustic soups, since you can skip puréeing and wind up with a dish that has some bite to it.
You might look at the recipe and wonder why the squash is browned first and then added back in. There are two reasons: getting some color on the squash adds more flavor, and if we left it in the pot during the entire cooking process, it would end up mushy. In this approach, it instead develops a softness with a gentle give, just beyond al dente. Since you'll probably have some kale left over, one of my favorite combinations—and a great pairing for this dish—is to massage the raw kale with avocado, season it with cumin, dress the salad with fresh lemon juice, and garnish it with toasted pepitas.
For a filling, warming, and delicious dinner that comes together in less than 30 minutes and also makes for great leftovers, this recipe has become my new go-to winter soup.