butternut squash and red lentil soup

Winter cooking to me means creamy, earthy squash and cozy, warm soup. This soup combines squash and red lentils to create a well-spiced, filling concoction with a smooth but substantial texture. It’s like butternut squash soup meets dal. Enjoy!

Adapted from NYT Cooking


  • IMG_78232 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and diced (about 5 cups diced squash)
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons butter or ghee
  • Plain yogurt, for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat oil over medium heat in large, heavy soup pot. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute.
  2. IMG_7827Stir in turmeric, squash, red lentils and 2 quarts water. Turn up heat, add salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, skim off foam, cover and simmer 35 to 45 minutes, until squash and lentils are tender. Taste and adjust salt.
  3. Purée soup using an immersion blender or, working in batches, in a blender (pull a towel down over the top of blender to avoid hot splashes). Return to pot if using blender. Add black pepper, taste and adjust salt, and heat through.
  4. Just before serving, heat butter over medium heat in a small skillet or saucepan and add remaining 2 teaspoons mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds. Cook, stirring, until seeds are lightly colored and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir into soup.
  5. Serve with a generous dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of cilantro if desired.IMG_7832

If you’re like me, you’ll have a ton left over and you won’t be able to eat squash soup every day for weeks. It’s perfect for freezing to enjoy on a later date.


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