Curried Butternut and Red Lentil Soup

by jenna on December 9, 2010

Yesterday, it looked like this outside:

It was pretty unfortunate because, last week I strained my shoulder at yoga and am pretty much out of commission in the chaturunga department for the next few days. So instead, I was going to walk around the lake for my daily dose of exercise.

But then I saw the sky…

and pulled on my sweatpants…

and made some soup instead.

And I have to say, the whole process felt much better than exercise. Especially the part when the soup was done and I could sit curled up in my sweatpants on the couch with my feet propped up, eating spoonful after spoonful of hot, gloriously spicy soup.

This soup is thick and rich, and just what the doctor ordered on cold rainy days. I mean how could you go wrong with butternut squash and lentils? I felt so healthy for a moment.

But then I came to my senses and swiped my finger through a flourless chocolate cake.

Instead of roasting the squash like I usually do for soup, I pretty much just threw everything I had in a large pot, simmered it for awhile and then pureed it all together.

The flavor combination was just fabulous! Lots of fresh ginger, garlic and spicy curry powder…just the way I like it.

It was also ready in less than half an hour, which is perfect because when I’m hungry I’m hungry.

Curried Butternut and Red Lentil Soup

serves 4

1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs), peeled and cubed

1 cup red lentils

1 quart chicken or vegetable stock

1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes

1 T fresh ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp salt

1 T extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

cilantro to garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the onion and saute for about five minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic and continue to cook for three more minutes, stirring often. Add the squash.

Add the can of diced tomatoes, red lentils, chicken stock, salt, cayenne and curry powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for twenty minutes, until lentil and squash are tender and cooked through.

Carefully transfer hot soup to a blender and process until smooth. Season with more salt if needed. Top bowls with fresh chopped cilantro right before serving.

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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin December 9, 2010 at 7:29 am

Ohh I love the idea of lentils in butternut squash soup to give it more staying power. This sounds perfect for a cold and rainy day!


Heather (Heather's Dish) December 9, 2010 at 7:32 am

this screams both health and comfort…sign me up! i know what i’m making after our day of skiing on saturday!


jessica @ how sweet December 9, 2010 at 7:36 am

Sometimes baking and cooking IS my exercise. Its fabulous.


Krystina (Basil & Wine) December 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Me too!


Stacy @ Every Little Thing December 9, 2010 at 7:47 am

Perfect for the kind of weather you had!


Estela @ Weekly Bite December 9, 2010 at 7:49 am

This is my favorite soup you’ve ever posted! I’ve never had it before, or heard of it, but I just decided I’m making it for dinner 🙂


jenna December 9, 2010 at 7:50 am

I totally made it up on the fly yesterday at 11 am…I’m so glad it worked so well because I was starving!


grocery goddess jen December 9, 2010 at 7:49 am

Oh Jenna, this soup looks amazing! I hope your weather is better today!


Danielle December 9, 2010 at 7:51 am

Dinner is served! And when I say dinner, I should specify that I mean dinner for the next 2 weeks or so. Rainy day soup should last 🙂 hope you’re staying dry and warm!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 9, 2010 at 7:51 am

Yummmm! This sounds delicious. I’ve been in soup-overdrive lately and it’s amazing how good it makes you feel, isn’t it? My most recent was a roasted red pepper and tomato, but i feel the need for some more lentils in my life! 🙂


Camille December 9, 2010 at 7:52 am

Ahh, there is nothing better than soup on a rainy day 🙂


Alina @ Duty Free Foodie December 9, 2010 at 8:00 am

I loooove the hot stuff. Spicy soup is so comforting!


Kelly December 9, 2010 at 8:15 am

Is there a way to sub out the curry powder? We are not curry fans, but I love the idea of the soup…any other recommendations?


jenna December 9, 2010 at 8:38 am

you could


jenna December 9, 2010 at 8:39 am

you could use cumin or coriander.


jenna December 9, 2010 at 11:35 am

Jenna (the other Jenna!) had a great suggestion with the coriander. Or, you could just totally leave it out all together and just season with sea salt and pepper.


Natalia - a side of simple December 9, 2010 at 8:23 am

Sometimes walking to and from a pot of luscious hot soup is the only exercise you need. And then there are those even better times when you can get someone to serve you so you don’t even have to move 😉


Emily December 9, 2010 at 8:30 am

Hi Jenna!
I am a long time reader, but never comment! I have a baking question, you may be able to help me with. Every year around the holidays I bake cookies and mail them off to my college girlfriends. This year I want to do something different and thought of concocting holiday whoopie pies. Do you think whoopie pies would be ok to mail if tightly sealed. I am being told no b/c of the filling….thoughts?



jenna December 9, 2010 at 11:34 am

Hmm whoopie pies would NOT be my first choice. They’re best the day they’re baked and tend to get soft and “gummy” on the bottoms after a day or so. Plus, they’re messy! I would go a more traditional route with sugar cookies..or, if you really want to a sandwich style cookie, try linzer cookies! They’re so pretty when filled with raspberry jam or nutella 🙂


Alicia December 9, 2010 at 8:33 am

This looks great. I’ve been looking for a way to use up my bottle of curry!

Thanks for the recipe.


Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman December 9, 2010 at 8:34 am

This looks great. I’m always apprehensive about making involved soups, but an hour? I can spare that.


MelanieF December 9, 2010 at 8:34 am

Wow! That looks so great!


Erin (Travel Eat Repeat) December 9, 2010 at 8:40 am

Curried butternut squash soup is one of my favorite kinds but you’ve totally upped the protein here. Making this tomorrow night for sure!


Laura December 9, 2010 at 8:45 am

What is the difference in red lentils versus brown or green? It is texture, taste, both?


jenna December 9, 2010 at 11:33 am

red lentils are much softer..they don’t keep their shape when cooked as green or black lentils will. The taste is kinda sorta similar, but the texture is completely different.


kate December 9, 2010 at 8:51 am

Soup is so satifying. I need to use more lentils!


Courtney December 9, 2010 at 9:01 am

This looks delcious!! Dont get me wrong – I love seeing your baking creations (Ive made several btw – all fabulous), but I love love love when you post meal recipes! I’m trying this one for sure!


Dance, Love, Dine December 9, 2010 at 9:03 am

I love lentil soup!! I agree is perfect for the cold/rainy weather. I like the spicy twist on yours –sounds tasty.


Clare @ Fitting It All In December 9, 2010 at 9:17 am

I was looking for a thick soup to make tonight! Two questions
1- do i NEED to blend it?
2- how do you think throwing in some Kale would taste?


jenna December 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

You don’t need to blend it! Absolutely not. And kale is always a welcome addition 🙂


Clare @ Fitting It All In December 9, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Thanks for the reply – on the menu for tonight!


Shells December 9, 2010 at 9:24 am

Yet another ELR recipe I can’t wait to try!!!

I absolutely loved the chocolate-chocolate muffins from your culinary school days, and am excited to try the mini flourless chocolate cakes as well.

ALSO, I made your vegetarian yellow curry (I added chicken), and it got glowing reviews from the friends I shared it with!


Lauren at KeepItSweet December 9, 2010 at 9:40 am

what a delicious sounding soup! love the combo of squash and lentils


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 9, 2010 at 9:41 am

I love easy soups – that’s totally my strategy to throw everything in a pot and hope for the best!


megan @ whatmegansmaking December 9, 2010 at 10:11 am

I would love to try this! It sounds awesome. I’m a big fan of curry in soup these days.


Christine (The Raw Project) December 9, 2010 at 10:56 am

This soups looks wonderful, I’m a fan of curry and lentils and must try this. Thanks!


Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 9, 2010 at 11:02 am

The soup looks delish!!! Anything w/ butternut is definitely good, hearty, and satisfying!

I have been a yoga teacher for 10+ years. I am so sorry to hear about your shoulder. If you have any questions or need any tips/advice for things that may be helpful and expedite the healing process, just LMK!

So sorry you’ve been outta yoga commission!


jenna December 9, 2010 at 11:31 am

thanks! It honestly was the oddest thing! I don’t know what happened and I feel totally fine, but can’t go down in a low push-up. I’m thinking I just overworked it and need to take a few days off…who knew yoga was such an extreme sport!


Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

Sounds like you’re right…you overworked it. You could have overstretched the muscle, sort of a strain/sprain, and the shoulder is so complex. And chaturunga is complex, too, b/c part of the strength of the pose comes from engaging the core, as well as triceps, and even extending thru the legs/hams/quads/heels. But you’re smart to take a few days off until you feel back to your old self!

Extreme sport…oh yeah! You’d be surprised how many people injure themselves (badly)!

Take care 🙂


Lauren December 9, 2010 at 11:03 am

This looks delicious!! My boyfriend would adore this soup because he loves lentils.


Moni'sMeals December 9, 2010 at 11:24 am

Yum! Works for me.



Nicole December 9, 2010 at 11:43 am

I’ll have to try this out. I made an Ina Garten Butternut squash soup a few weeks ago that was delicious! Now I’m curious to see if it’s even better with lentils.


Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] December 9, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Yet another recipe I must try ! Looks delicious 😉


Debbie B. December 9, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I love the nights I skip working out and cook in sweatpants :). It can be so refreshing and even better for me than a workout! The soup looks really good and easy to make … I bookmarked this one!


Lacey @ Lake Life December 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I’m adding this to my to-do list, spicy soup is the best!


Denise December 9, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Does the squash go in with the lentils or with the onion? Sounds really yummy and I want to make this weekend,


Dee December 9, 2010 at 7:09 pm

This looks absolutely amazing!


Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble December 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Oh that soup looks fabulous for a cold rainy day! Yum!!!


Akanshka December 10, 2010 at 6:53 am

Just made it this morning, will have it for lunch, hopefully my son will like it too. I just tasted some and it was amazing. Thanks for a great recipe, Jenna!


Ffion December 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I’v been adding pearl barley to all of my soups recently to give it extra staying power (plus its yummy!), but I’m thinking its time to move on and start experimenting with lentils! Thank you for the inspiration!


Amanda December 15, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Finally made this last night. Like, WHOA, delicious. Stoked to have it again tonight. Especially with rainy, gloomy skies. And cheese bread on the side. You rock. That is all.


jenna December 15, 2010 at 3:37 pm

so glad!


Harmony December 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I. LOVE. THIS. SOUP. I ate the whole batch by myself over the course of 5 days because no one else in my house likes lentils. It’s really filling and I found that a dollop of sour cream made it extra-yummy. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!


Kim January 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Thank you so much for reposting a link to this today. It was *exactly* what I needed! I just got lower braces on my teeth and the upper ones tightened today AND I’m in the detox portion of a whole foods transition plan. Let me tell you, not being able to chew and not having as many food options is a pain! This was perfect in every way! Food rules- check! Nothing to chew- check! 🙂

Thanks again!


jenna January 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm

awww I want to make you some soup! Feel better!


Marian January 20, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Made this tonight for dinner, added more spices…..DELICIOUS!!! and nutritious! Another amazing recipe from your site….you’ve got the magic touch Jenna!


jenna January 20, 2011 at 7:15 pm

glad you liked it!


chrissy January 21, 2011 at 10:03 am

this looks delicious!! i cannot wait to try it!


Erin February 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I decided to make this while my husband and “the guys” watched the SuperBowl at my house… let me just say that my time was WAY better spent than theirs was 🙂 This soup is HEAVENLY! I also did the calorie/fiber math (I’m 20 lbs overweight these days- oy!) and is so nutritious to boot!!! Thank you for yet another stellar recipe 🙂


Amber March 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I made this last weekend and have been having it for lunches all week and it is amazing! It might be my new favorite soup!


Emilia June 30, 2011 at 10:40 am

I made this last night and I’m inhaling it as we speak for my lunch! Soo good and so healthy! Thanks so much, Jenna! 🙂


Treasure Mama October 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Love it – just made up a big batch for the family. Thanks Jenna


Amy October 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm

This soup makes me happy! It was hands down the best soup I have ever had. It was so thick I may make it for Thanksgiving as a side dish. My husband loves spicy food so we tripled the cayenne. YUM!


Tania November 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Hey Jenna,

What kind of curry powder do you use?


jenna November 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I just use a McCormick brand curry powder from the grocery store–nothing fancy!


Jamie (Thrifty Veggie Mama) November 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Congrats on your Food Buzz award! I just found your blog through their list of winners and am loving your recipes. This soup looks great! I am definitely going to put it on the menu soon.


Michelle Reynolds September 21, 2012 at 7:47 am

So far I’m loving the recipes from your blog! I made this a couple nights ago – I was craving curried butternut squash and this fit the bill. After pureeing I added a can of coconut milk which just sent it over the top. Thanks for the recipe!!


Judith November 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm

this is even better if you stir in some plain yoghurt before serving (I used probiotic). To put it over the top, toss on a few home-made garlic croutons –


Alexis @ Hummusapien October 20, 2013 at 9:10 am

I just made this and I cannot get over how ridiculously creamy and delish it is! It’s so sweet from the butternut squash and I swear you’d think there was some heavy cream in there. I love the heat from the cayenne, too! Great recipe!


megan October 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm

So freaking good. We had celery and carrots on hand and threw those in there as well.. This soup is awesome day 1 and even better day 2 and 3. I’m making another batch this week and freezing portions so I can eat this whenever the craving strikes.


vicki December 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I’ve made this twice and it’s superb. Love using red lentils to this to make it thick and satisfying.


Susan October 4, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Cold rainy day in the Northeast, perfect day for this soup. I’ve made it many times. Very delicious.


India November 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm

I just made this and yum! I took the time to roast the squash. Because of that, it was sweet & delicious. I wish I wouldn’t have put in just a dash of cayenne pepper. Just made mine too spicy and overpowering. Love the idea! Thank you, Jenna.


lily November 12, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Made this today. So good!! Thank you


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