Butternut Squash Lentil Soup with Kale

This hearty butternut squash lentil soup is a comforting and nutrient dense superfood soup, featuring lentils, kale, and leeks.

Butternut squash lentil soup

Ready for the coziest, most comforting superfood soup? This butternut squash lentil soup tastes like a bowl of sunshine. It’s chock full of beautiful, colorful healthy ingredients, and it tastes surprisingly more delicious than you’d imagine from the humble ingredients. Using leeks brings a complexity to the body of the soup. The only part about this superfood soup that requires some time is chopping the vegetables. You can use that to practice your knife skills — and we’ve listed some time savers below! Keep reading for the butternut squash lentil soup recipe.

Related:15 Best Lentil Recipes

Butternut squash lentil soup

How to make butternut squash lentil soup

This butternut squash lentil soup is filled with nutrient-rich foods like lentils, butternut squash, leeks, and chard. It’s also very, very tasty — it got rave reviews from friends and family alike. In fact, it just might rival our current favorite, Italian White Bean Soup. The only time consuming part of this soup recipe is the chopping. It requires quite a bit of vegetable chopping: garlic, carrot, leek, butternut squash, and kale. As a time saver, you could chop all the veggies in advance and refrigerate until making the soup: this could make it a 30 minute meal. Another option is to use frozen cubed butternut squash, which can shave off quite a bit of time.

Butternut squash lentil soup | Superfood soup

How to cut butternut squash

The hardest part of making this butternut squash lentil soup is cutting the butternut squash! How to cut butternut squash? Here’s what Alex and I do: First, slice off top of the squash, then the entire straight neck of the squash. Peel it and peel the round base. Cut the base in half and remove the seeds from each half with a spoon. Slice the neck into strips and then cubes. Then do the same with the rounded bottom part of the squash: slice it into strips and then cubes. Once you know how to cut butternut squash, it’s a breeze to this easy butternut squash lentil soup recipe! See the video below to watch us in action.

Video: How to cut butternut squash

Butternut squash lentil soup | Dutch oven

How to cut leeks

Except…for how to cut leeks! Cutting leeks can also be a source of confusion. Here’s how we cut leeks: first, we chop off the dark green stems of the leeks and the bottom root, then slice them in half length-wise. Then we place each leek half cut-side down on the cutting board and chop it into thin slices, resulting in half-moon shapes. Here’s the important part: rinse the sliced leeks thoroughly in a colander to remove any dirt. Because leeks are roots, there’s typically a lot of dirt in the bulb portion! See the video below to watch us in action.

Video: How to cut leeks

Butternut squash lentil soup

Looking for more butternut squash recipes? 

Butternut squash recipes are in the air! Outside of this butternut squash lentil soup recipe, here are a few of our favorite butternut squash recipes:

Butternut squash lentil soup

This recipe is…

This butternut squash lentil soup recipe is vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, and gluten-free.

Butternut squash lentil soup

Related: Try using our Homemade Vegetable Broth for this recipe!

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Butternut squash lentil soup

Butternut Squash Lentil Soup


1 Star (4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This hearty butternut squash lentil soup is a comforting and nutrient dense superfood soup, featuring lentils, kale, and leeks.


Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 large leeks or 1 large yellow onion (or a combination; 1 leek and 1 yellow onion works well)
  • 1 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 cups diced; use frozen diced as a time saver)
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale or Swiss chard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (we used 6 cups broth and 2 water)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown or green lentils
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mince the garlic. Peel and chop the carrots into half moons.
  2. Chop the leeks (watch the video!): chop off the dark green stems and the bottom roots, then slice each in half length-wise. Place each leek half cut-side down on the cutting board, then chop it into thin half-moons. Rinse thoroughly in a colander to remove any dirt.
  3. Chop the butternut squash (watch the video!): Slice off the neck of the squash and peel it with a vegetable peeler. Peel the base. Slice the base in half and scoop out the seeds. Slice the neck into thin rectangles, then into long slices. Turn the slices the other way and dice. Cut the base into thin slices and then dice into small squares. 
  4. Wash and chop the kale (watch the video!). You can also wait to do this step while the soup simmers in Step 6.
  5. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil; add the leeks or onions and sauté until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add carrots and garlic and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until softened.
  6. Add the squash, vegetable broth, lentils, thyme, oregano, and kosher salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the lentils and butternut squash are soft (taste test a few). In the last few minutes, add the chopped chard and simmer until tender. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. If desired, stir in the lemon juice. 

Keywords: butternut squash lentil soup

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog 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 recipe 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.

26 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    November 26, 2012 at 5:12 am

    This soup sound wonderfully hearty and full of flavour.

  • Reply
    erin
    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
      Sonja
      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
    Jess
    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
      Alex
      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
      Sonja
      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
      Sonja
      November 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm

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

  • Reply
    Patricia
    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
      Alex
      December 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Nice! It never hurts to have more soup :)

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    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
      Alex
      December 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    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
      Sonja
      December 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm

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

  • Reply
    Ana
    March 9, 2013 at 3:11 pm

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

    • Reply
      Sonja
      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
      Sonja
      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
      Sonja
      August 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm

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

  • Reply
    Katrina
    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
      Sonja
      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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