This Vegan Butternut Squash Soup with Red Lentils is one of my favourite pantry & freezer recipe for using up what you have on hand in a pinch.
Greetings from quarantine! If you are stuck at home with limited access to the grocery store (like most of us), you’re probably leaning heavily on your pantry and freezer staples. I know I am. That’s why a lot of the recipes you’ll see on my blog right now are relying heavily on these workhorse ingredients.
Why This Recipe Works
This vegan lentil soup with sweet butternut squash and cauliflower is definitely one of my new go-to recipes because it’s hearty, satisfying and uses up a LOT of the bits of random ingredients I’ve got on hand.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to make and the ingredients are all pantry staples and are super budget friendly.
It’s also made in one pot and under 30 minutes making for a quick last minute dinner and easy clean up.
Even better, this vegan butternut squash soup is freezer friendly because it uses coconut milk instead of cream to thicken so you can always double up the recipe and freeze half for later.
Table of contents
Lentils – I like red lentils for their pretty colour and the fact that they cook down super smooth in soup. Make sure you rinse them well before adding them to the pot!
Cauliflower – This recipe is a great way to sneak in lots of extra veggies and no one will even taste the cauliflower.
Butternut squash – I hate hacking into a fresh squash, but when it’s frozen, it’s so easy because it’s already cooked.
Red curry paste – This adds undeniable flavour and a little kick. See my notes below if you’re worried about it being too spicy (because I do like it spicy).
Coconut milk- I tried this recipe with and without the coconut milk, so you can see my tips below if you don’t have it or want to keep this lower in fat.
How to Make This Recipe
Step 1: Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Step 2: Add the red curry paste and cook until it coats the onions.
Step 3: Add in the lentils, butternut squash, cauliflower.
Step 4: Add in the broth, cover and cook on medium low for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.
Step 5: Add the lemon juice and coconut milk and stir until combined.
Step 6/7: Transfer to a blender to puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste and garnish (if desired) with a swirl of coconut milk, crushed pistachios, parsley, and hemp hearts
There are a few important considerations when it comes to making this vegan butternut squash soup super creamy. One is that I like to use a super high power blender to puree everything together.
Two, I like to make sure my vegetables are VERY soft before I puree. Like they basically need to immediately fall apart when you poke them with a fork. This happens really quickly with frozen cauliflower and butternut squash (since it’s already cooked), but you can easily get there with fresh as well if that’s what you have.
Three, if you want vegan butternut squash soup to be even creamier, definitely add the coconut milk. It will balance out the heat and just add that luscious mouth feel. Coconut milk is also freezer friendly so it’s not an issue with adding it in before freezing.
If you add the two teaspoons of the curry paste, it has a nice solid kick that is balanced out well by the coconut milk. If you want to make it more mild, I would half it. Either way, if you’re sensitive to heat, definitely add the coconut milk to mellow everything out.
If your kids are sensitive to heat, again make sure you take the curry paste down or out. My son definitely would not be able to handle the 2 teaspoons, but maybe could do a 1/2 teaspoon of the curry paste.
Yes! You will need to cook the soup longer to get those vegetables nice and soft, but you can definitely use fresh. You can also use frozen cauliflower rice if that’s what you have.
Other lentils can be used but the cook time will have to be changed as whole lentils take longer to cook than split lentils.
I have tried making this with and without coconut milk as a lower fat option. It’s delicious both ways but I will say the curry paste is stronger without it, so if you’re unsure and want to omit the coconut milk, I suggest cutting the curry in half until you try it and then adjusting.
Yes, this is a naturally gluten free soup assuming you use a gluten free curry paste.
This vegan butternut squash soup is one of my all time favourite batch-prepped meals. I have two bags in the freezer I am so excited to enjoy later on. To freeze this soup, simply allow the soup to cool, then transfer to freezer bags and lay them flat in the freezer to firm up.
When ready to enjoy, you can let it thaw overnight in the fridge then transfer it to a bowl to reheat in the microwave or in a pot to reheat in the stove.
More Recipes that Uses Pantry or Freezer Staples
Looking for more pantry or freezer staple recipes? Check out these links for more recipe inspirations.
What are you making with your freezer and pantry staples? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!
Vegan Butternut Squash Soup with Lentils
- Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add the red curry paste and cook until it coats the onions.
- Add in the lentils, butternut squash, cauliflower and broth, cover and cook on medium low for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.
- Add the lemon juice and coconut milk and stir until combined.
- Transfer to a blender to puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste and garnish (if desired) with a swirl of coconut milk, crushed pistachios, parsley, and hemp hearts.
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.