Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale

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Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale is comforting and nutrient-dense, thanks to the butternut squash, lentils, kale, and leeks.

Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale
Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale

This vegetarian butternut squash lentil soup is like a bowl of comfort – the perfect way to warm up on a cold night. This colorful soup, made with healthy ingredients, tastes delicious. The cooked leeks give complexity to the body of the soup. For even more lentil soup recipes, try my Lebanese Lentil Soup, Red Lentil Soup with Spinach, and Instant Pot Chicken and Lentil Soup.

Butternut Lentil Soup

This soup is also dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan. It’s all made in one pot and freezes great. Leftovers are perfect for lunch.

Do lentils need to be soaked?

No, lentils do not need to be soaked like beans do, which saves a lot of time.

Are you supposed to peel butternut squash before cooking?

Yes, it’s best to peel butternut squash before cooking since the skin can be very tough. If you’re short on time, buy your butternut squash peeled and pre-cut from the supermarket.

How to Freeze Lentil Soup:

This butternut squash, kale, and lentil soup is great for meal prep. It freezes wonderfully, so you can save it for dinner on a night when you don’t have time to cook. Freeze the soup in glass food containers or in zip-locked bags laid flat in your freezer for up to three months.

Thaw the soup overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave or on the stove. If you forget to thaw the night before, you can microwave the frozen soup in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each interval.

Lentil Soup Variations:

  • Sub sweet potato for the butternut squash if you prefer.
  • Feel free to use curly kale if you can’t find Lacinato kale, also known as Tuscan kale. You can also switch the kale for another leafy green like spinach or Swiss chard.

Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale with a spoonLentil Soup with Butternut and Kale

More Lentil Recipes You’ll Love:

Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale
Print WW Personal Points
4.93 from 39 votes
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Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale

122 Cals 4 Protein 25 Carbs 1.5 Fats
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Yield: 6 servings
COURSE: Dinner, Lunch
CUISINE: American
Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale is comforting and nutrient-dense, thanks to the butternut squash, lentils, kale, and leeks.


  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 pound peeled and diced butternut, 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 ounces green lentils, (1/3 cup)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 3 cups packed chopped lacinato kale, stems removed


  • Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • When hot, add oil, then add onion, carrots, leeks and celery, reduce heat and cook about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook 2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the broth, bay leaf and lentils and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until halfway cooked, 20 minutes.
  • Add the butternut and cook until tender, about 15 minutes more. Discard the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add the kale and cook 7 minutes longer until the kale is tender.


To Freeze: Let the soup cool then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Keep frozen for up to 3 months.
To reheat, transfer to the refrigerator the night before then reheat on the stove or microwave.


Serving: 11/3 cups, Calories: 122kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 1.5g, Saturated Fat: 0.5g, Sodium: 309.5mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 8g
Keywords: lentil soup, lentil soup with butternut, vegan lentil soup, vegetarian lentil soup


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  1. This soup was healthy and delicious. My “meat & potatoes” husband loved it, too! A good way to encourage him eat some veggies.

  2. Delicious and healthy. Perfect for cold weather. I didn’t have any leeks on hand and the recipe turned out well regardless. I served the soup with bread.

  3. The soup surely was healthy and tasty but a bit bland. It wasn’t one of our favorites of all the wonderful recipes Gina provides.

  4. I made this and it’s so good.
    However, I made the following additions: doubled the lentils to 2/3 cup, added 1 tsp of garam masala, a tsp of cumin and a half tsp of turmeric. I also used my instant pot and set it for 12 minutes. I added the kale after the 12 minutes, and just stirred it in.
    So good!!!

  5. This was perfect for our first snow of the season! I don’t usually cook with lentils and leeks, so I was curious about the taste. It was delicious! I cooled it and portioned it out for my lunches this week. 

  6. My store has no leeks. What item and amount is a good substitute?

  7. I food-saved this so I could have a nice hot lunch and not a sandwich. Fantastic! Ingredients held up to freezing and microwaving.

  8. This has been the only recipe I didn’t care for….tasted pretty plain. Probably just my own tastes didn’t agree, tasted a bit like dirt. Recipe came together just fine.

  9. I very rarely leave reviews, but this soup was really delicious and deserves accolades! Made exactly as directed with the exception of adding 2 more cups of vegetable broth and adding more kale because I loved it so much (neither addition was necessary – I just wanted more of this delicious soup)

  10. I wanted a healthy, clean soup with lots of flavor and this one did it for me! It’s so yummy! I decided to make it without the lentil. Would recommend and make it again!

  11. I was worried that the kale would make this soup bitter, but I was wrong! This soup was delicious! I read the many additions people added to season the soup to their taste. I decided to try 1/2 tsp coriander and some black pepper. That’s all it needed. This is a keeper!

  12. My wife and I are big fans of Gina’s recipes. Couple of modifications: one tablespoon garam masala, one tablespoon tumeric, and one teaspoon of cumin seeds. The spices can only be added while sauteing the onions and leeks in oil, and it’s important not to let it stick. Keep extra oil on hand to add if needed. We are an Indian family, and this kind of spice mixture is called tadka. In the end, once the whole thing is cooked, we added one and a half tablespoons of worcestershire sauce as well The recipe does not include any spices, so these were crucial changes for us.

  13. Would red kale work for this soup

  14. Yummy! Such a healthy and satisfying soup.

  15. It was a cold snowy day & I wanted to make a nice pot of soup – this recipe was perfect! I had all the ingredients and it came together quickly. I prepared as instructed, but let the onions just start to get golden & some of the juices from the saute were starting to color the bottom of the pan. Added the tomato & stirred it to deglaze the bottom of the pan. It was absolutely delicious. When I reheated the leftovers I added a dash of Garam Masala and that was a nice too. Thanks so much – we will be having this often.

    • Thanks for the idea of using Garam Masala!  My husband loved the recipe as written but I wanted a bit more spice so I took your advice and added some Garam Masala to my own bowl.  It was delicious that way.

  16. looks delicious. But just give me the reasons for cooking different varieties of red, green or brown lentils.

  17. This was very tasty! I used cooking spinach instead of kale because that’s what I had. I didn’t add any salt. Thanks, Gina!

  18. The WW calculator says this is 4 green points.

  19. Mercy sakes alive! I made this recently, and it was ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!! I used Chicken Broth instead of vegetable becasue i like the flavor and I am not vegan, but i’m sure its just as good with Vegetable. Absolutely outstanding!! and I added ZERO additional salt.

  20. Simple and hearty! Loved it. My 18-month-old loved it too!

  21. I so loved this!!!!! But, I think I portioned out my containers wrong. How much rice and how much chicken mixture?

  22. Even my picky eater likes this soup. So healthy and delicious.

  23. Not sure if it was because I didn’t have celery but, I found this to be slightly on the bland side. I took out some of the squash and pan sautéd it with a tiny bit of EVOO and 2 minced garlic cloves. Once browned, I added back to the soup and brought the pot back to a low boil. Seems to have fixed the flavor for me. I also added 1/2 of a lemon and some cilantro when serving. Overall super great/healthy recipe as per usual Gina!

  24. Ok this was way better than I expected. Very flavorful and filling. I added about 2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast. Otherwise followed the recipe to the T. I loved it! Thanks for another delicious and healthy recipe!

  25. Could I cook this in a slow cooker?

  26. Great soup! My husband said we should make this again because he liked it so much! I had trouble keeping him from exceeding the serving size.

  27. This soup is absolutely delicious. It is easy to make and so tasty! I followed recipe exactly, just used curly kale instead because I like it better. Perfection!

  28. So yummy! Made for lunches for the week. 
    Will be making again and freezing some for when baby is born and no time to cook! 

  29. We loved this soup! Even my 18 month old daughter really liked it. Will definitely make it again 🙂

  30. This was delicious! I added some cayenne pepper to give it a little punch. Definitely will make again!

  31. This sounds so delicious and filling! I have everything needed to make except for the leeks. Is there something that would be a good substitute? 

  32. I can’t tell you how much I love this recipe! It even impressed my anti-vegetarian boyfriend asked for seconds. 

  33. can canned lentils be used and how does that change the cooking time?

  34. I made this last night and it was delicious! I used spinach instead of kale, as I had some in the fridge already. My whole family enjoyed it and I’ll definitely make it again. Filling and yummy!

  35. Can I use frozen butternut squash? 

  36. Really excited to make this based on all the reviews. We were unable to find green lentils at our store, just regular brown lentils. Is that ok? 

  37. This was delicious! I cooked in the pressure cooker for 20 mins and did natural release. As soon as we finished eating I sent the recipe to several friends. 

  38. Loved having leftovers for a delicious lunch to pack for school! Thanks! 

  39. I made this today, and I used 2 32oz veg stock, the whole small 6oz Can of tomato paste. I think it was amazing before adding salt and pepper so I only added a little. I am trying the weight loss plan and every recipe has been so much better than eating out. Thank you so much 😊 I’ll update as I go with weight loss progress 😘 

  40. I want to make this but I am only pantry cooking right now, I don’t have lentils. I have split peas and yellow split peas. Is there something else I can put in there? I have everything else. 

    • I think the yellow ones will work. The taste of the green one is different, i dont think it goes well with butternut squash. There are so many recipes for the green split peas.

  41. This is delicious. Couldn’t believe the flavor. There’s hardly any seasonings in it. Wow We will definitely be making this again. very satifisying.

  42. Wow!  What a delicious recipe.  I did add a diced parsnip as they give a hint of sweetness to any dish.  I also used my immersion blender to blend the soup, but left it still chunky.  I would highly recommend this recipe, it is really delicious.  Thank you.

  43. awesome recipe. Such a flavorful broth from the aromatics and the tomato paste. I made a couple of modifications: I threw in about 1/2 tsp of curry powder near the end of sautéing the vegetables, and then I doubled the lentils (I love lentils and they’re SO nutritious, and they give this soup a lot of substance). I poached two chicken breasts (about 1.2lbs) and then shredded them and threw them into the soup with the  butternut squash. The end result is a nutritional powerhouse of soup. My serving size was more like 1.75 cups, but it was a HEFTY serving. Thanks for a great recipe!!!

  44. This soup is so good! I used my instant pot, and I doubled the lentils. I set the instant pot for 10 minutes high pressure, then instant release, added the butternut squash for 8 more minutes. Released the pressure and stirred in the spinach (did not have kale). It is delicious and a beautiful color, Oh, and I squeezed a small lemon’s worth of juice into the finished soup. Yum!

    • I used spinach instead of kale and followed the IP instructions in ColleenG’s feedback.
      Since I had some leftover rotisserie chicken breast, threw that in at the end. The soup turned out wonderfully and is now in my regular rotation. Thank you!

    • thank you for posting the instant pot version!

    • I followed this recipe very closely, but did add two teaspoons of cumin, one of curry powder, 1/2 teaspoons of thyme and 4 teaspoons garlic when sautéing in the tomato paste. Since I saw the minced ginger in the fridge and the cinnamon in the spice cupboard, I decided to have a little fun and threw in a teaspoon of each as well. I used spinach and added the salt at the end with a tablespoon of lemon juice. YUM! It was going to be for lunch…but it ended up being for breakfast 😁

  45. Could I use frozen butternut squash chunks? I think I could!!!

  46. I made this as directed except had to use 4 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups chicken broth because I didn’t have enough vegetable on hand. I added the bay leaves on
    step 4. The soup was very good and flavorful, and I appreciate the low calories for something to eat in the evening. 

  47. I feel like I’m going crazy, but I don’t see where it says to add the bay leaf, just when to discard it. And then it says “leaves”, so I’m not sure if it should be just one? I just put it in when I added the squash. Hope that’s right!

  48. Should the lentils be washed before cooking 🧑‍🍳…?

  49. This was easy and delicious. I didn’t end up with enough broth though, so I added a few more cups of stock.

  50. This soup was outstanding!  I doubled the recipe and added both chicken and vegetable stock.  I froze a lot of the soup and will definitely make it again!

  51. Thanks, Gina, for another great recipe. Even in South Florida, it’s soup season! Great flavor and nice to have a non-pureed squash soup. I used chicken stock.

  52. Made this last night for meatless Monday! Great flavors and easy to follow recipe! Thanks Gina!

  53. Hi Gina,
    My wife and I enjoy your recipes and have purchased several of your books.
    My question regarding this recipe is can this be made in our Instant Pot?

  54. The amount of lentils needs to be increased- I noticed that Gina’s other lentil soup recipes contain either 1 cup of lentils ( for a 4-serving recipe) to 2 cups lentils ( for 8-serving recipes). This recipe says it serves 6, so that would mean approx 1.5 cups of lentils or 12 ounces lentils.

  55. Hi Gina, 
    What type of lentils do you use in this recipe? Looking forward to making this!

  56. Looks delicious. Just curious what kind of lentils. Some lentils turn to mush and other maintain their shape. What kind are we looking for here? Thanks!

  57. Is 2 ounces of lentils correct?

  58. I made this soup last week. Unfortunately, I either cut up the squash too small or I lost track of time (Not sure which or maybe both….I’ll blame it on having a new puppy). In any case, because I lost the texture of the squash, I decided to use the immersion blender to make it creamy. Needless to say it was STILL DELICIOUS!!!

    so five stars for the recipe and 1 star for my ability to follow it! 🙂

  59. Hi there! Love your recipes! Is there an instant pot version of this? Thank you in advance!

  60. Just a heads up, the recipe states to use only two ounces of lentils. This seems like its possibly incorrect. Looks yummy though!

  61. This looks amazing! It’s cold here in Ohio this week, something just got bumped off my menu and this took its place! Can’t wait to enjoy later in the week and will let you know what we thought! Thank you for hitting my soup love button!