This butternut squash and lentil soup is comforting, filling and delicious. The addition of red lentils adds a lovely creamy texture, whilst allowing the sweet and nutty flavour of the squash to be the star of the show. Lentils also add a healthy dose of protein and extra fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Butternut squash and lentils are both great for your health.
Like most other members of the pumpkin family butternut squash is a great source of beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. It is also rich in vitamins C, E and a number of B vitamins. Butternut squash also contains a number of important minerals, and both soluble and insoluble fibre. (You can read more about the health benefits of butternut squash here.)
The addition of red lentils to this soup further increases the fibre and b vitamins. They also add minerals such as iron, potassium and zinc. Importantly, lentils are also an excellent source of low fat plant protein. This means that this butternut squash and lentil soup will keep you fuller for longer.
- Butternut squash
One of the things I love about butternut squash is that is is easier to prepare than a round pumpkin. The top of the squash doesn't contain seeds, which also means that there is less wastage. You will need to peel the squash for this recipe, but it's a relatively quick and easy job. I find the easiest way is to trim the skin off the flesh with a sharp knife. You could also use a heavy duty vegetable peeler, if you have one. I used a medium sized squash which weighed about 900 grams for this quantity of soup. However, it won't matter if your squash is a bit larger or smaller. Don't forget to keep the seeds, as they make tasty oven roast pumpkin seeds.
- Onion and garlic
These both help to enhance the flavour of this soup. You can use either white or red onion.
For this butternut squash soup recipe, you'll need red lentils as they cook down easily, making them perfect for soup. Green or brown lentils would keep their texture too much, and you wouldn't end up with a smooth and creamy soup.
Use vegetable stock if you want a vegan butternut squash soup, otherwise chicken stock will also add a good flavour. Fresh stock is always great in soup, but you'll get a perfectly good result with a stock cube if that is what you have available. I used one stock cube to make 700ml of stock for this recipe. Make sure you taste the soup before you add any further salt, as you'll probably find it is already well seasoned.
- Olive oil, or you could use coconut oil or butter if you prefer.
- Mild curry powder. 1 teaspoon of mild curry powder will just add depth of flavour to this soup, but it won't taste at all hot or spicy. If you do want a spicy butternut squash and lentil soup, then use a stronger chilli powder, or some fresh chilli. In which case, you might also like to replace some of the stock with coconut milk to complement the spicy flavour.
How to make lentil and butternut squash soup
The method for this soup is very simple. It's made on the stovetop, without the need to roast the squash. Fry the onions and spices first to add an extra layer of flavour. Then just add all the other ingredients together and simmer for 20 minutes.
I find it easiest to blitz my soup with an immersion blender. That way I can blend it in the saucepan, without the need to further washing up.
Serving and storage suggestions
You can store your butternut squash soup in the fridge for a few days, and reheat it as needed on the hob. This soup also freezes perfectly.
This recipe is ideal for a filling, healthy lunch. Whilst the soup is simmering, you could whip up a batch of these quick flatbreads which you can also cook on the hob. The recipe quantity makes four generous servings, if you're having the soup as a starter, then you may get six servings.
Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup
- 1 butternut squash, approx 900g
- 1 large onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
- 2 cloves garlic
- 700 ml stock chicken or vegetable
- 100 g red lentils
- Peel and chop the onion, and peel and very finely chop or grate the garlic. Heat a large pan over a medium heat, and fry the onion in the olive oil for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the curry powder and garlic and fry for a couple more minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel and chop the butternut squash into 2 cm cubes. Add the squash, lentils and stock to the onion mixture, bring to the boil, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure that the lentils don't stick to the pan. The squash should be tender to the point of a knife.
- Blitz the soup with a hand blender until smooth. Or if you prefer, use a food processor to blend your soup until smooth. Serve hot.