Curried Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup
Red lentils add a hearty dose of protein and minerals to this much-loved seasonal soup, yet no one would ever know they’re there. For those who enjoy a little extra sweetness in their butternut squash soup, try swapping a cup or so of the chicken stock with apple cider–or add a peeled and seeded sweet apple or pear along with the squash. For extra creaminess, coconut milk or cream make fine additions. Finally, for a fun garnish or a tasty snack, toss the squash seeds with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, and then toast or bake until crisp.

Yields approximately 6 servings.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 (2-1/2 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (see notes*)
  • 1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth (substitute vegetable stock for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup red lentils (pinkish/orange color, sometimes labeled as “split” lentils)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste**)
  • 2 tablespoons honey***
  • Optional garnish: cilantro and/or toasted and lightly salted squash seeds


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and cook for another minute, or until fragrant but not burning, stirring constantly.
  2. Immediately add the squash, broth, tomatoes in juice, lentils, salt and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, plus or minus 5 minutes, or until the squash is very tender.
  3. Puree with an immersion blender, or carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and blend, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Stir in the honey, and top with the optional garnishes. Leftovers become even more flavorful as the flavors meld (making this a perfect make-ahead meal) and freeze well.


  • *If you prefer to use precut butternut squash, use 2 pounds of peeled pieces.
  • **If uncertain about the level of spiciness, start with 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. This will provide a hint of flavor without burning one’s tongue. Alternatively, red pepper flakes may be used; 1/4 teaspoon is a good starting point when using red pepper flakes. Sriracha sauce or harissa would also be delicious options to add flavor and spiciness.
  • ***I have ever so slightly adapted the original recipe, which did not contain honey. This small amount does not add significant sweetness but does round out the flavors nicely.

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