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Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger, Coconut Milk & Red-Lentils

Butternut Squash Soup with GingerThis delicious butternut squash soup recipe not only celebrates one of my favourite vegetables, but two of my other favourite ingredients: ginger and coconut milk. Together they form an irresistible bowl of creamy heaven. The addition of red-lentils adds a little plant-based protein which transforms this soup into a complete meal.

A few wise words from the memory of a great but arrogant French chef

Every time I make a pumpkin soup it takes me back in time to a past life when I was in chef’s school learning the arts of the culinary craft. One of our tutors was this rather obnoxious but very talented French chef, and although I can’t remember his name, there are two vivid memories that still stick out in my mind:

  1. His hatred towards any student chefs that didn’t seem fully committed to the very serious business of professional cooking…
  2. And, on a more useful note, his wise words that stated that a good basic vegetable soup (like this creamy butternut squash soup right here!) shouldn’t need stock. Providing that you’re careful to gently sauté your onions and garlic (and in this case ginger too) long enough so that they become rich, brown and translucent before adding your water, stock is completely unecessary. It is from this beautifully rich yet simple sauté that he said all the flavour comes from.

Coconut Pumpkin Soup with Ginger Ingredients

Sounds like good advice to me and it’s a tip I still follow to this day. And in terms of flavour, I think it beats those heavily processed little stock cubes that are filled with uncountable questionable ingredients.

Try it and see. You’ll thank me after!

Simple Pumpkin Soup recipe with Ginger & Red-Lentils

  Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger, Coconut Milk & Red-Lentils

Feeds 5-6


  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g red lentils
  • 1.5 ltr water
  • 1kg butternut squash pumpkin
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Coriander


Peel & roughly dice the onion, garlic and ginger. Toss into a large soup pot along with the olive oil, and place over a medium heat.

Sauté gently, with the lid on, stirring frequently to prevent from sticking, for around 10 minutes or until golden and transparent.

Meanwhile wash the lentils by tipping them into a sieve, and placing them under running water. Stir them around with your hand to wash off any dirt or grit.

Peel the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds and cut it into rough dice (see the video below).

When the onion mix is ready, pour in the water and bring to the boil. Add the lentils and the pumpkin and reduce the heat to a light boil.

Set your timer for 17 minutes.

When the timer rings, check your pumpkin & lentils, they should both be tender. If not, continue cooking a few minutes more. Take the pot off the heat and blend until smooth either with a stick blender, or in a standard upright blender.

Pour the coconut milk into the pot of blended soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with chopped coriander.

SHORTHAND RECIPE: Sauté 1 onion/1in ginger/3 garlic/1tsp EVOO 10m. +1.5lt H2O/150g red lentils/1kg butternut squash. Simmer 17m ~soft. Blend~smooth. +200ml coconut milk/s+p.

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  • Cassie

    I totally agree about not needing to add stock cubes. I prefer to know exactly what flavours I am adding.
    Keep the recipes coming! I intend to try them all.

    • Janet

      I just made this tonite, we are unable to eat onions so used zucchini. I have many many winter squash in garden and was just looking for something new. LOVED this recipe, and though I was dubious about not using stock, it clearly did not need it, thanks

  • Simone

    Beautiful photography! Will be making this on the weekend. Sounds delicious!

  • 1TahoeGal

    I have made all sorts of winter squash soups over the years, but had never thought of adding lentils. I am now making my second batch having devoured the last over a week! I live at altitude so I found I had to cook the lentils (or any other bean/legume) in the pressure cooker seperately to get them soft enough to blend without being grainy (I even used my Vitamix) I also roasted the squash in the oven. I added the bean cooking water while blending – I hate throwing it away-it has so much flavor! Thank you for opening me up to a more well rounded (nutritionally speaking) and delicious (tastebud speaking ;) way to make one of my favorite types of soups!!

    • Melanie Stephens

      My Pleasure! Cooking at altitude definitely has it’s few draw-backs, but a pressure cooker sounds like the perfect solution. You could try soaking them overnight in water to help speed things up a little too. Hope you enjoy!

  • Mari-Vicky

    just made this, without the lentils (had none at hand), and it was amazing!! thanks for sharing!

    • MelanieFYAM

      So glad you liked! It’s certainly one of those reliable recipes that never fails to satisfy. And you’re totally right- it still rocks, even without the lentils ;-)

  • Annamaria Dosseva

    The idea of adding red lentils was GREAT. I’d already had the rest started when I found this recipe, and I dashed downstairs to add in a half cup to the already-boiling water. Made it much more filling and substantial, as well as adding a nice earthy rich flavour. The coconut was also a brilliant bit of inspiration, contributing an amazing sweetness (I used almond/coconut milk).

    I didn’t have any cilantro on hand, but I used all of the pumpkin spices: ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I added a bit of cayenne, not enough to make it burning spicy, but enough to leave a nice warmth in your mouth after each spoonful (I also do this with hot chocolate). I also tried adding some turmeric, but it ended up overpowering the more subtle flavours, even though I added only a very little. Although it was overpowering, the flavour did still fit, and it was delicious. I wouldn’t add it in future, but it sparked the idea of making pumpkin curry!

    Lastly, I found that there was no need to peel the butternut squash, since the skin is so thin, and you’d lose so much of the squash from peeling. When I usually bake it in the oven, I just end up eating the skin anyways, and I figured that it would work here as well. It was better, in fact, because once blended you never noticed the waxy texture of the skin.

  • http://www.sblle.com/ Sibylle

    I literally just made this and decided to comment while the recipe was still open on my computer, because it is THAT delicious! I was a bit worried that I would find the coconut cream too strong, but it is just the perfect touch!

    This will certainly become a winter favourite – together with my much beloved carrot cream soup: http://sblle.com/blog/carrot-cream-soup/

    Thank you for this great recipe

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