For the Soup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups diced yellow onion (about 1 medium onion)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 cups peeled and diced carrots
3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1 cup split red lentils
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon curry powder
2½ cups water or plain almond milk
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1½ - 2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
dash of cayenne pepper
For the Candied Walnut Croutons
½ cup raw walnut pieces
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
½ tablespoon melted coconut oil
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
To Make the Soup
Add the coconut oil to a large stock pan over medium heat. Add in the onion and cook for 6-8 minutes or until beginning to turn translucent.
Add in the vegetable broth, carrots, butternut squash, lentils, smoked paprika, cumin, and curry powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. About halfway through cooking, cover the soup.
Once the carrots and squash are tender, turn off the heat.
Add in the water or almond milk, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and cayenne pepper. Stir.
Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture into a smooth and creamy texture. Be patient with this step, as it takes about 5-8 minutes of blending to get it completely smooth.
To Make the Walnut Croutons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make the walnut croutons while your soup is simmering.
Add the walnut pieces, coconut sugar, coconut oil, cinnamon, and salt to a bowl. Toss to coat.
Spread the coated walnuts out over a small baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Pour a few ladles of soup into a bowl, drizzle with coconut milk (if desired), drop a small handful of walnut croutons in the center, and add in other garnishes if desired. Serve immediately.
Refrigerate leftover soup.