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BUTTERNUT SQUASH + RED LENTIL SOUP

Butternut Squash + Red Lentil Soup is a healthy and delicious fall vegan soup made with whole food plant based ingredients! Gluten-free with oil-free option.

top down view of healthy vegan butternut squash and red lentil soup in a white bowl with items surrounding.

Thick and hearty, this butternut squash + red lentil soup is made with just 5 ingredients, plus oil, salt & pepper, and SO easy to make!

I thought this soup was going to be a completely ho-hum recipe, especially with such minimal ingredients, but I was pleasantly surprised because it was delicious!

I should have remembered butternut squash doesn’t need much from my last recipe, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. It’s been awhile since I’ve made butternut squash soup and unlike my last one, this one with lentils included makes it very filling on it’s own.

This truly is a simple recipe, from the ingredients to prepping and cooking. Peeling the squash is the hardest part, and really it’s not so bad. No need to roast your butternut squash either, simply make your soup in one big pot.

Planning on meal prepping? This butternut squash + red lentil soup can be made ahead of time and reheated when ready to serve! Keep it stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 2 months.

All together, the flavors are perfect for fall. This would be a colorful and delicious starter soup for the holiday table too!

top down view of ingredients used to make healthy butternut squash red lentil soup.

Ingredient Notes

Made with minimal ingredients including butternut squash, red lentils, sage, onion, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper, this quick and easy vegan soup is sure to become a fall favorite!

Here are a few good reasons to add this soup to your fall meal rotation:

Butternut Squash

Butternut squash with its sweet flavored, brightly colored flesh is a great source of omega 3s and beta-carotene. It’s also an excellent source of various vitamins like vitamin A, C & B-6 and trace elements such as manganese, copper, potassium, and folate. When available, enjoy the winter squash often. See all recipes on TSV using Butternut Squash!

Lentils

As a vegan,  I’m always doing my best to add in high protein plant-based sources when I can, the addition of lentils are perfect for that while adding extra thickness to the overall soup. Lentils of all colors should be a part of any heart-healthy diet. Here you can find all recipes on TSV using Lentils!

Sage

The addition of sage is perfect for the fall season and holds its own health benefits, like boosting brain function and working as an anti-inflammatory. Two great reasons to add this herb wherever you can! Find all recipes on TSV using Sage.

side by side photos showing the process of prepping and cutting butternut squash.

How To Cut Butternut Squash For Soup

Prepping butternut squash is super easy, but if you can find it pre-cut by all means use it for convenience and save yourself this step.

  • Cut off top and bottom. Start by slicing off the very top and bottom of the butternut squash.
  • Peel: Using a vegetable peeler, peel away the tough outer layer of skin.
  • Discard seeds: Slice the butternut squash in half. Using a spoon scoop out the seeds and discard.
  • Cut: Place the butternut squash cut sides down and slice into 3/4 inch slices.
  • Cube: Taking 3 slices at a time, placing them on their side, and cut in half lengthwise. Cut the halves into cubes, and repeat until butternut squash is completely cubed.
side by side photos showing the process of making vegan butternut squash red lentil soup in a white pot with items surrounding.

How To Make Butternut Squash + Red Lentil Soup

Here is a quick look at the steps and what you can expect your soup to look like during the cooking process. See below for the full printable recipe at the bottom of this post.

  • Saute: Saute the onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and squash and cook for a few minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  • Simmer: Add lentils, broth and salt & pepper, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, will be done when squash is fork tender and lentils are soft.
side by side photos showing the process of pureeing butternut squash red lentil soup.
  • Puree: Once soup has slightly cooled, puree using an immersion blender or food processor (the latter method may take two or three batches to complete). Add extra liquids as needed for desired thickness.

And that’s it, colorful, hearty and delicious butternut squash + lentil soup made easy and healthy!

Top Tips

  • Change up the herbs with spices. Instead of sage, try using 1 teaspoon each dried ginger, turmeric and coriander (a reader recommendation).
  • Add in chopped carrots, about 2 large, if you like.
  • Feel free to enjoy this soup without blending. Or use a potato masher instead of pureeing, this will add some creaminess while still leaving a little chunkiness.
  • Only use red lentils with this recipe. Using other lentils will turn the soup a muddy color, and other lentils take longer to cook. If you can’t find red lentils at your local grocery store, try ordering them online.
  • Thick or thin. This soup is meant to be thick but feel free to add a tad more water to thin it out if you like.
  • Leftovers taste even better!
top down view of white pot with freshly made healthy butternut squash red lentil soup.

How To Store + Reheat

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container.
  • Freezer: This butternut squash red lentil soup is freezer friendly and freezes well for up to 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let cool completely and store in freezer safe containers (affiliate link), leaving 1/2 inch head space for expansion. You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags (remove as much air as possible before zip locking). Let thaw before reheating. 
  • Reheat: Simply re-warm on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through. Alternatively, reheat in the microwave using 30 – 60 second intervals, stirring after each, until warm. It makes a great meal prep for the week with homemade Artisan Bread or Naan on the side for soaking up the juices.

Serving Suggestions

This soup is extremely hearty on its own, but it can be made into an even more well-rounded meal with any of these serving suggestions:

up close view of bowl with serving of healthy butternut squash red lentil soup.

More ways To Use Butternut Squash!

You can never have too many ways to use this flavorful squash. Give these butternut squash recipes a try, you just may find a new favorite for the meal rotation!

If you try this butternut squash + red lentil soup or have a question, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

BUTTERNUT SQUASH + RED LENTIL SOUP

Rich in protein and lightly flavored with sage, this one pot soup is so healthy, easy and simple! Can be made a day or two ahead and reheated as needed.

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 35 min
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 – 6 1x
  • Category: Entree, Soup
  • Method: simmer
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 1/4 cup water (for water saute)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 lb. butternut squash, cubed 3/4 inch (about 68 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage or 2 tablespoons fresh minced
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • mineral salt & white or fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Instructions

Cube Squash: Slice off the very top and bottom, discard. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the hard outer skin. Cut the butternut squash in half, remove seeds and cut squash into 1/2″ cubes (the smaller the cubes are the quicker they will cook).

Saute: In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil/water over medium high heat, add onions and saute for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add sage and squash and cook 3 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Simmer: Add lentils, broth and salt & pepper, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until squash is fork tender and lentils are soft.

Puree: Once ready and slightly cooled, puree soup using your preferred method. Use an immersion blender and puree soup right in the pot until desired consistency. Or you can puree in your blender or food processor, this method may take two or three batches to complete. Add extra liquids as needed for desired thickness.

Serve: Ladle into individual serving bowls and top with pine nuts and chopped sage if you like, fresh cracked pepper would also be great.

Serves 4 – 6

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days. To keep longer, store in the freezer for up to 2 – 3 months. Let thaw before reheating. Reheat on the stovetop over low until warmed through.

Notes

I used Better Than Bouillon paste, about 2 teaspoons with 7 cups of water. I find that’s plenty of flavor and my soup was great. If not using vegetable broth, I might suggest adding a 1 teaspoon or so each of garlic powder and onion powder, and maybe a smidge of coriander to bring some extra flavors to the soup.

Add in chopped carrots, about 2 large, if you like.

You may just as well enjoy this soup without blending. Or you may like to use a potato masher instead, this will add some creaminess while still leaving some chunkiness.

Only red lentils will work with this recipe. For one, the color would be altered making it look muddied. Secondly, other lentils take longer to cook. If you can’t find red lentils at your local grocery store, try ordering them online.

Try using this as a pasta sauce or serve with a serving of rice.

This can be made a day or two ahead and reheated when ready to serve.

Instead of sage, try using 1 teaspoon each dried ginger, turmeric and coriander (a reader recommendation).

Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

Updated: Butternut Squash + Red Lentil Soup was originally published in November 2014. It has been retested and updated with new photos and helpful tips in November 2020.

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38 Comments

  1. Lisa Golden says:

    So simple and really good. A friend brought this to a girls weekend and it was a huge hit. I was thrilled to see how easy the recipe was. Thanks for this recipe!

  2. Marcie Coomer says:

    I cook from scratch. A lot. I especially enjoy healthy recipes that people I’m feeding (particularly those who get irritated with my ‘health food’ soap box) don’t know that I’m stuffing GOOD STUFF down their throats. What I love is that even the pickiest of eaters really like this soup; I make it multiple times during the fall and winter seasons because it’s ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS…it tastes even better over the next couple of days. A dollop of sour cream, pine nuts, and a little sage sprinkled on the top makes it pretty and even more tasty. Let me emphasize…I NEVER throw away even a drop of this soup!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      So glad you enjoyed the soup! Thanks for sharing, Marcie!

  3. Love this soup!

  4. Lance Linkhart says:

    So what is the serving size??? it’s not on the nutritional facts list

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      I don’t typically add the exact serving size, just how many portions the recipe may serve. Judging by the ingredients, for a serving of 4 I’d say it’s about 2 to 2 1/2 cups per serving. Hope that helps!

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