Butternut Squash Lentil Soup

This hearty butternut squash lentil soup comes together in about an hour and is perfect for serving on colder winter days.

butternut squash lentil soup with chard

We hope all of you who celebrated Thanksgiving this past week had a lovely holiday. We had a wonderful day with family and friends — and a restful Friday afterwards lazing around the house, which is something we don’t do terribly often.

Now that the holiday is over, we know many of you (ourselves included) are looking forward to some “detox” meals to cleanse from the heavy holiday food. This butternut squash lentil soup is perfect for that, filled with nutrient-rich foods like lentils, butternut squash, leeks, and chard. It’s also pretty tasty — it got rave reviews from our recipe tester, Katelyn. This soup just might rival our current favorite, Italian White Bean Soup.

And if you’re in Midwestern America (or perhaps other places in the country), it’s possible you can find most of the ingredients at your local market!  We picked these up at Indy Winter Farmer’s Market, where you’re likely to find us on Saturday mornings if you’re an Indy local.

Speaking of the market, it was so great to see all of you last week at our Green Mango Cafe cookbook signing!  It is so encouraging to meet people and have support for the book. It means so much to us. We’re also excited to announce that the Indy Winter Market is now our second retail location! You can pick up a copy of our cookbook at the front desk every Saturday from 9:00-12:00 from now until the market ends in April. (Our first retail location is The Village Experience in Broad Ripple—check out our Cookbook page for more details.)

We are so thankful for YOU, our readers!  It is such a joy to explore food together.

And a shoutout to our favorite fan of lentils. We think you’ll enjoy this new offering :)

Looking for more butternut squash recipes? 

Butternut squash recipes are in the air! Here are a few of our favorite roasted butternut squash recipes:

This recipe is…

Vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, and gluten-free.


Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup

1 Star (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 to 6
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


This hearty butternut squash lentil soup comes together in about an hour and is perfect for serving on colder winter days.


  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 large leeks
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 bunch rainbow Swiss chard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (we used 6 cups broth and 2 water)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white wine (optional)


  1. Mince 4 garlic cloves. Peel and chop 3 carrots into small pieces. Chop off the dark green stems of 3 leeks and the bottom root, then slice them in half length-wise. Place each leek half cut-side down on the cutting board, then chop it into thin slices (resulting in half-moon shapes). Rinse thoroughly in a colander to remove any dirt. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Peel the halves with a vegetable peeler, then chop them into small pieces. Wash the chard, remove the stems, and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil; add the leeks and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add carrots, garlic, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the squash, 8 cups vegetable broth, 1 1/2 cups lentils, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon oregano, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes until the lentils are soft. In the last 2 minutes, add the chopped chard and simmer until tender. Taste, then add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. If desired, add a tablespoon of white wine to finish.

Keywords: butternut squash lentil soup


About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    November 26, 2012 at 5:12 am

    This soup sound wonderfully hearty and full of flavour.

  • Reply
    November 26, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I’m currently loving all things butternut squash, so this sounds perfect for the chilly Minnesota week ahead!

    • Reply
      November 28, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Oh, fun to hear about another Minnesotan! I’m from there originally — though now I claim Indianapolis as my home :) Hope it hits the spot!

  • Reply
    November 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    This looks so delicious that I want to make it tonight. Only problem – I don’t have chard or leeks, but I do have spinach and onion. Do you think the recipe would still come out well with these substitutions?

    • Reply
      November 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      I think it should work fine — leeks have their own special deliciousness, but onions won’t be bad. And, the spinach will be a great substitute.

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    November 26, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Mmm this looks so warm and perfect for the first day of snow (here in Ottawa). Love it!

  • Reply
    Arthur in the Garden!
    November 27, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I will have to try this!

  • Reply
    Julie Funderburk
    November 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    As soon as I saw this I had to make it. I love everything in this soup. I should have taken your recommendation of doing 6 cups broth with 2 cups water. I just tasted it and its a wee bit salty for me. So I added a cup and a half of water and it balanced it out. This soup is for dinner tonight along with some crusty yummy bread! Thank you for sharing :)

    • Reply
      November 28, 2012 at 7:59 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it! Sorry about the salt content, but glad the water balanced it out :)

  • Reply
    Sarah Robinson
    November 28, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Yum! Sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    Jen Holman
    November 28, 2012 at 11:10 am

    This looks amazing and so hearty! I love how you two are always coming up with unique, innovative dishes. Keep up the good work — you’re making me look great in the kitchen :)

    • Reply
      November 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      Oh, thank you! Thank YOU for trying out some of our dishes!

  • Reply
    December 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Made this last night and it was delicious. We did decide that we didn’t need a partial bag of lentils laying around, so we used the whole bag, just adding water (about 4 cups, I think) to keep it from getting too thick. And we served it with a dollop of non-fat plain greek yogurt atop each bowlful. Yummie!

    • Reply
      December 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Nice! It never hurts to have more soup :)

  • Reply
    December 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Stumbled across this recipe last night while looking for something to do with the butternut squash that I had on hand. This is such a great change from all of the pureed butternut squash soups out there. My husband and I loved it! Thank You!

    • Reply
      December 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Lovely as usual. My two year old ate it up! Perfect for using up the CSA bag on a blustery evening! I used chicken broth with the same ratio as above and it was great.

    • Reply
      December 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Awesome! So glad your toddler loved it too! That’s always the ultimate test :)

  • Reply
    March 9, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! Even my five year old son loved it :-)

    • Reply
      March 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Oh, you are so welcome! That is so wonderful to hear, especially about your son too — thank you so much for letting us know!

  • Reply
    mehr Details
    July 24, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    My grandma prepared soup like this but she never gave me the recipe. Aw, great memories, thanks!!

    • Reply
      July 24, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      How fun — glad we could bring back good memories!

  • Reply
    Halley Immelt
    August 15, 2014 at 11:29 am

    When I went vegan, our family tradition was to start making a dish called “veggieducken,” which came from a recipe we found on NPR. It’s so good I could eat it any day, but that would spoil the tradition. Luckily, I found this soup recipe and it tastes just like veggieducken! Thank you so much for sharing this… it’s a new favorite.

    • Reply
      August 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      Oh wonderful! And I had never heard of veggieducken — thanks for the introduction!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Very excited to try this soup! Cooking it now actually! I have never cooked with leeks before. I bought the pre-cut two pack from trader joes and cut them according to the instructions. I only used two instead of three and it still comes out to about a cup and a half of diced leeks. That seems like a lot but maybe it’s just because I haven’t used them in any of my cooking before. Am I crazy or is this the right amount? Thanks!

    • Reply
      November 29, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      That amount of leeks should be great — they cook down a lot! Thanks for checking and hope you enjoy it!

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