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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

4.93 from 41 votes
Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale is comforting and nutrient-dense, thanks to the butternut squash, lentils, kale, and leeks.
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 1 hr 5 mins
Yield: 6 servings
Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups


  • 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.

Last Step:

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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: 1 1/3 cups, Calories: 122 kcal, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Protein: 4 g, Fat: 1.5 g, Saturated Fat: 0.5 g, Sodium: 309.5 mg, Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 8 g



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84 comments on “Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale”

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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? 

  4. 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. 

  5. 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 😘 

  6. Avatar photo
    Davina Gorsh

    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. 

    1. Avatar photo
      MEriem HMaidouch

      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.

  7. Avatar photo
    Melissa Kitchen

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!!!

  10. 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!

    1. 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!

    2. 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 😁

    1. I am also wondering about frozen butternut squash?? I have a bad in my freezer…perhaps thaw it first?

  11. Avatar photo
    Denise Jones

    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. 

  12. Avatar photo
    Josh Steinhart

    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!

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. Avatar photo
    Jacqueline Schrader

    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! 🙂

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

    1. It’s loaded with veggies, not like my other lentil soups that are loaded with lentils. Of course, you can add more if you wish.

  21. Avatar photo
    Martha Headington

    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!