Pumpkin and lentils create a nutritious, low-fat and low-calorie soup, and provide a way to use up any extra pumpkin from the garden. Pumpkin contains high levels of beta-carotene, an important antioxidant, among other nutrients including vitamin A and potassium. Lentils contain about 18 grams of protein per cup and deliver less than 1 gram of fat. A single serving of pumpkin and lentil soup provides all of these nutrients and more, with only 233 calories and 6.2 grams of fat.
Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan and place over medium heat.
Add the onion and garlic to the oil and saute for five minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the ground cumin, turmeric, coriander and chili flakes, and stir constantly while cooking for another two minutes.
Add the chopped pumpkin, canned lentils and 4 cups boiling water to the onion and spice mixture. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low.
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender. Remove the pan from the heat and set the soup aside to cool for about five minutes.
Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender, and process for 20 to 30 seconds, or until evenly chopped. You want a chunky consistency, but don't completely puree the mixture.
Pour the soup back into the saucepan, season with ground black pepper to taste, and reheat over medium heat until warmed through.
Ladle the pumpkin and lentil soup into serving bowls, top with a spoonful of plain yogurt if desired, sprinkle with black pepper and serve immediately.