This Red Lentils Soup with Butternut Squash is a delicious, creamy soup that is easy to cook and makes for a very satisfying meal!! Plus recipe is easily customizable:). Serve with bread or salad for a full meal or as a starter for a big dinner.
Mediterranean Red Lentil Soup
Red lentil soups are famous across the Mediterranean. Turkish version of red lentils soup is called Mercimek Çorbasi and it’s usually served as a starter or appetizer. The Greek version of the soup has oregano and rosemary as main herbs. Then there are different variations across the Mediterranean.
Butternut squash is not a typical ingredient in the traditional recipes, but I feel like it adds such a nice flavor and compliments the red lentils really well.
What’s common in all the ways Red Lentils soup is cooked across the Mediterranean: onions, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, lemon! Those are the basic ingredients!
And you might think this is weird if you are not familiar with Mediterranean cuisine, but most places serve a plate or small bowl of yogurt alongside the soup and other side dishes:). Honestly, yogurt is always part of the meal, that’s how I grew up.
Soaking the Lentils?
I personally soak the beans but not the lentils. I feel soaking makes a really big difference for beans. Feel free to soak the red lentils for few hours before cooking, but if you don’t have time for that it’s totally ok.
Definitely rinse and clean lentils from impurities (if any) before use though.
I love red lentils as they are perfect for soups, great consistency and taste plus they cook fast!!
Blending the Soup
You can choose to blend the soup once cooked with a standard blender or use an immersion blender. Both are great, just use what you have. If using a regular blender, wait for soup to cool down a little. Never blend food that was just boiling. Then blend in batches. While if using immersion blender, you can just blend carefully in the pot where you are cooking the soup.
The results will be creamy, amazing soup both times:).
Tips & Notes
This soup is very easy to make and customizable. It’s gluten free and fits Mediterranean Diet. Here are some tips and substitutions:
- While this soup doesn’t have meat/poultry, I make it with chicken broth. My preference is homemade chicken broth, I always keep few containers in the fridge.
- If you would like to make the soup vegan, replace chicken broth with vegetable broth.
- I use half a teaspoon of crushed red pepper, it’s enough of a kick for the soup without making it too spicy. If you don’t like the heat at all, replace the crushed red pepper with paprika.
- If you don’t have butternut squash, add more carrots as well as some celery. Also, butternut squash can be replaced with potatoes.
- I use about 1 quart of chicken broth and 1 cup of water with these ingredients, for thinner soup add more liquid. Anytime you add more liquid, check for taste and adjust salt/pepper as needed.
- If storing leftovers in the refrigerator, soup will get even thicker. So when warming it up, add some water and stir frequently.
Red Lentils Soup with Butternut Squash
- Blender or Immersion Blender
- 12 oz red lentils (340 grams)
- 1.5 cups cubed butternut squash (about 307 grams)
- 2 tbsps olive oil (add more for garnish in each plate) extra virgin
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 carrot
- 1 tsp cumin
- 0.5 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 0.5 tsp black pepper
- 4 cups chicken broth alternative vegetable broth
- 1-2 cups water
- 1 tbsps tomato paste
- 1 lemon, divided in half
- Prep: chop the onion, mince the garlic, clean lentils from impurities and rinse, peel and chop the carrot. Squeeze half lemon and slice the other half.
- Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Once translucent, add carrot and continue sauteing. Then add cubed butternut squash and stir often so onion doesn't stick.
- Add tomato paste, lentils and chicken broth. Add 1 cup of water at this point. Mix everything well, let cook in medium heat.
- Once the soup boils, start adding cumin, crushed red pepper, salt & pepper. Also, add the juice of half lemon. Stir occasionally. Let cook for 30 minutes.
- If you have an immersion blender use it directly on the pot. Otherwise, use a regular blender. For regular blender, blend in batches and wait for soup to cool down a bit (don't blend boiling liquids). Follow instructions for specific blender you own.
- Pour blended soup from blender to pot, low heat. Check for salt, pepper and consistency of soup. Add more water if you would like to have a thinner soup. Bring it to boil then turn heat off.
- Serve warm, garnish with fresh parsley, olive oil and lemon slices!! I love olive oil and lemon juice as garnishes, they really elevate the flavor of this soup.
- Nutrition information is estimated.
- This soup is 4 servings when served as a full meal, but when served as a starter I get about 6 portions.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please save the below image to your boards in Pinterest. Let me know if you have any questions in comments or feel free to tag me in social media with your pictures of this soup. I want to see how you garnish it:). I am pretty sure some of you do a much better job at garnishing that I do!!
More Soup Recipes
If you like soups, you have found the right blog:). See below some of my soup recipes!!!
- Orzo Soup With Turkey And Spinach (Mediterranean)
- Peanut Soup (Latin American)
- Yellow Split Peas Soup with Spinach (Mediterranean)
- Chicken, Lemon Rice Soup (Mediterranean)