This comforting Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup is mildly flavoured with Thai red curry paste, coconut milk, and lime. It's a quick and easy recipe that the whole family will enjoy!
Chilly days call for the comfort of a warm bowl of butternut squash soup. This version has the addition of red lentils which add protein and fiber making this soup not only delicious but also nutritious! With a hint of red curry and the creaminess of coconut milk you will be left fully satisfied.
Want more creamy vegetable soup recipes? Try my Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup recipe or this Creamy Broccoli Soup. Or for more ways to use red lentils check out these recipes for Curried Vegetable and Red Lentil Soup and Simple Lentil Carrot Soup.
🥘Ingredients and Substitutions
- White onion - any large onion can be used in this soup.
- Butternut squash - the sweetness and creamy texture of butternut squash is my favourite for making soups. However, any type of squash or even pumpkin would work perfectly.
- Thai red curry paste - if you can't find or don't like red curry paste you can substitute with any of the following: 1 tablespoon of Indian curry paste, 2 teaspoon of curry powder, 2 teaspoon chili powder, or 1 teaspoon ground cumin. The intensity of the curry flavour or seasonings is a personal preference so adjust as necessary.
- Red Lentils - red lentils break down and almost "melt" when cooked into soups. You can substitute with green or brown lentils but keep in mind the texture and colour will be different and they will take a bit longer to cook.
- Vegetable broth - I wanted to keep this plant-based but chicken broth also works well in this recipe. Here's my recipe for homemade Vegetable Broth.
- Coconut milk - both light and regular coconut milk work or you can substitute with half and half or heavy cream. You can also omit the milk altogether for this squash and lentil soup.
- Fresh lime juice - lime goes perfectly with Thai flavours and adds a hit of acidity to the soup. Substitute with lemon juice or omit the citrus altogether.
- Fresh cilantro - of course cilantro is the ultimate Thai herb but fresh basil, or 1 tbsp. dried basil would also be delicious.
For a complete list of ingredients see the recipe card below.
🔪How to Make Squash and Lentil Soup
Step 1 - Sautee the onions until they are just starting to brown. This brings out the sweetness. Add the garlic and curry paste and cook for another minute to release the fragrance.
Step 2 - Add garlic, curry paste, red lentils, butternut squash, and broth. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and let cook until the squash is soft.
Step 3 - Remove from heat and using a hand blender (or working in batches in a food processor or blender), puree soup to desired smoothness.
Step 4 - Stir in lime juice, coconut milk, and cilantro.
Pro Tips for Making This Soup
Properly Peel and Seed the Squash: To make peeling and seeding butternut squash easier, you can microwave it for a few minutes to soften the skin. Then, use a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the skin. Cut in half and remove the seeds.
Rinse the Lentils Thoroughly: Red lentils tend to be starchy, so it's important to rinse them well before using them. This will help reduce excess starch and prevent the soup from becoming too thick.
Adjust the Soup's Texture: The level of smoothness in the soup is a matter of personal taste. Use a hand blender or a food processor to puree the soup to your desired level of smoothness. If you want it super smooth, a traditional blender may provide the best results.
Red lentils are preferred for their quick cooking time and smooth texture. You can substitute with yellow lentils, but the soup's color and cooking time may vary. Green lentils are not recommended as they have a different texture and longer cooking time.
Yes frozen squash cubes can be a quick and easy alternative to whole squash. Cooking times may need to be adjusted to accommodate the frozen squash. Frozen squash can slightly water down the soup so adjust seasonings accordingly.
Yes there are different types of squash that will work with this recipe including acorn, kabocha, delicata, and pumpkin.
Yes, this soup freezes well. Store it in airtight containers for up to three months. Thaw and reheat on the stove, adding a bit of liquid if it thickens too much.
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Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large white onion, peeled and diced
- 1 butternut squash, (1300g/3 lb) peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (approx. 8 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste
- 1 ½ cups red lentils, rinsed well
- 6 cups vegetable stock, low or no-sodium
- 2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1 can light coconut milk (400 ml.)
- 1 lime, juiced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté onions, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown.
- Add garlic and curry paste and stir for one minute. Add red lentils, butternut squash, and broth. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 20-30 minutes or until the squash is soft.
- Remove from heat and using a hand blender (or working in batches in a food processor or blender), puree soup to desired smoothness. A traditional blender will produce the smoothest texture.
- Stir in coconut milk, cilantro, and fresh lime juice, and serve.