Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup Recipe

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

Last week my dear friend Florence tweeted a link to Nadya Andreeva’s ayurvedic blog Spinach and Yoga*, and her recipe for yellow lentil and squash soup caught my eye straight away.

I love a good soup of lentils, but I don’t think I’d ever thought to pair their meaty earthiness with the sweet, soft flesh of winter squash. This version was especially appealing for its use of fresh ginger and spices — cumin, coriander, turmeric — and I had just about everything I needed to make it.

I thought I’d be clever and use lentils of three different colors; in the end they all turned the same shade of brown.

What little I know about ayurvedic cuisine is that it’s strictly vegetarian, but I took the liberty of using the super fragrant fish stock I’d made the day before, using the bones and head of a roasted sea bream purchased at Terroirs d’Avenir’s sustainably-sourced fish stall on the increasingly foodie-friendly rue du Nil.

Another change I made to the original recipe was in fact inspired by the stock photo that illustrated it: the tell-tale milky sheen indicated the use of coconut milk, which the recipe itself didn’t include, yet I knew it would make the soup even tastier.

I also thought I’d be clever and use lentils of three different colors, green, pink, and yellow. In the end they all turned the same shade of green-brown, but I’m certain the variety of textures had a hand in making this the most wowing soup I’ve made in a while.

Join the conversation!

Have you ever dabbled at ayurvedic cooking? And what’s been your winner soup recipe this winter?

* Coincidentally, I see that Nadya Andreeva is just releasing a book this week, called Happy Belly.

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Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours, 40 minutes

Serves 6.

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • a 3-cm (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 900 grams (2 pounds) butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and diced into 1,5-cm (1/2") pieces (you can substitute another type of winter squash, such as red kuri, acorn, or delicata)
  • 320 grams (1 1/2 cups) lentils (any color you like or have on hand), soaked 8 hours or overnight, drained, and rinsed
  • 500 ml (2 cups) stock, preferably homemade (vegetable, chicken, or fish stock will all work)
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) coconut milk
  • fresh mint, finely minced, or fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, for serving
  • chili sauce, for serving (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, and salt, and cook over medium heat until softened, stirring regularly.
  2. Stir in the ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and fennel seeds, and cook for a minute, until fragrant.
  3. Add in the butternut squash and lentils, pour in the stock, and add in enough water to cover.
  4. Cover, bring to a simmer, and skim the froth that appears at the surface. Cook for 30 minutes, until the squash and lentils are cooked through.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
  6. Ladle into bowls, top with fresh herbs, and serve with chili sauce.


Adapted from a recipe by Nadya Andreeva.


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