Red Lentil Butternut Soup with Kale and Roasted Chickpeas
4.25 from 8 votes

This curried red lentil butternut soup with kale is so hearty and nourishing. It’s packed with nutrition and topped with my favorite crispy roasted chickpeas for added plant-protein!

A bowl of red lentil butternut soup has been topped with crispy roasted chickpeas.

I’m back! Thanks for bearing with my absence, folks. I needed some time to get over the flu and give myself a bit of TLC. As you might imagine, I’ve been doing only scant cooking in the last week or so, but as soon as the worst of it was over, I did set about making a couple of hearty, healing soups. This curried red lentil and butternut squash soup with kale and toasted chickpeas was probably my favorite of the bunch. It’s quintessential vegan comfort food: warming, gently spiced, full of nutrition, and easy to prepare.

A bowl of nourishing vegetables and broth is standing next to a plate of toasted chickpeas on a white surface.

The toasted chickpeas were a last minute addition to the recipe. I tend to go through phases with different toppings: homemade gomasio, avocado slices, nutritional yeast, toasted walnuts, whatever. Toasted chickpeas are my current favorite. They are so versatile, so crunchy, so rich in protein and essential minerals. I shared my standard recipe in this post, but you can and should feel free to adjust spices and seasonings to suit your fancy. Once those are prepared, you can turn your attention to the soup, which comes together in no time.

A zoomed in image of crispy chickpeas, which have been used to top a bowl of stewed vegetables and legumes.


A bowl of red lentil butternut soup has been topped with crispy roasted chickpeas.
4.25 from 8 votes

Red Lentil Butternut Soup

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup red lentils dry
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups kale, stemmed and chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 batch crispy roasted chickpeas


  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onion and sauté until it's soft and golden (5-8 minutes). Add the ginger, curry, and turmeric, and mix the spices in.
  • Add the lentils, butternut squash, and vegetable broth to the pot. Bring to a boil and turn the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the squash pieces are fork tender and the lentils are soft (20 minutes or so).
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the soup to a desired consistency (you can make it as textured or smooth as you like). If you don't have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup to a blender and then return it to the pot. Stir the kale into the warm soup and allow it to soften, about 10 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Transfer the soup to bowls and top each portion with toasted chickpeas. Serve.


So much texture going on here!

A white and brown ceramic bowl holds a portion of red lentil butternut soup. It rests on a white marble surface.

If you don’t have red lentils, brown or green may take a little longer to cook, but they’ll work well, too. And you can easily substitute collards or chard for the kale, if you prefer them.

I’ve got plenty of catching up to do since my little hiatus, so I’ll be busy responding to comments and emails in the coming days. I also owe you a weekend reading post, since I missed Sunday! I look forward to sharing that this weekend, along with more recipes. Hope you’re all well 🙂


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Categories: Recipes, Soups
Method: One Pot, Oven, Stovetop
Ingredients: Butternut Squash, Chickpeas, Kale, Lentils
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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Recipe Rating

  1. 4 stars
    This recipe was very delicious and filling! I have 2 teenagers and they both loved it. I will be making it again for sure!

  2. 5 stars
    This is going into rotation! SO good. I used curry bouillon as well as low sodium veggie bouillon which worked really well. I watch my sodium and this needed no additional salt! Made a batch today… had some for dinner, froze a jar and put an additional jar in the fridge for meals this week. As always, so filling and nutrient dense. The crunchy chickpeas (I airfried some with garlic and ginger powder) go great with the soup base which I pureed pretty well but it’s nice and thick. Thank you, Gena!

  3. Sorry did I miss something, I am wondering how this is raw if there is cooking involved???


  4. Making the soup this morning after a long week with a yucky cold. Searched online for a soup with healing nutrients and found your blog from Hayley Pomroy’s Pinterest pages. Looking forward to a yummy lunch, especially with those toasted chickpeas, a big face. Stay healthy and thank you.

    • Wanted to follow-up and say THANK YOU for the amazing soup. I’m making a second batch right now for tonight’s dinner. It’s so delicious, especially with the spinach wilted in (or kale) and a dollop of roasted chickpeas. I ate the last batch over a mix of brown rice/quinoa. Delish!

  5. I made this for the first time yesterday with fresh turmeric. My husband and I love the flavor, especially with the crunch of the roasted chickpeas. A new favorite!

  6. Mmmm this soup sounds so warm and delicious… very comforting.
    I love the idea of adding roasted chickpeas on top – what a fun & unique idea!

  7. Beautiful colors! I have achilles tendonitis, so I’m thinking the turmeric will really help it! (and gives me an excuse to cook this haha)

  8. Glad to hear you’re on the mend – this has been a tough winter with the back and forth temperature swings!

    Question about those red lentils – must they really be soaked? I make a similar soup recipe (red lentils, sweet potatoes, curry, spinach) and the lentils are mushy and delicious in only 30 minutes of cooking with no prior soaking.


    • I was wondering about the lentils too. I’ve never heard of soaking lentils at all, and especially not RED lentils! Is this just something you like to do Gena?

      • Lauren and Amy,

        No, they definitely don’t need to be soaked. I’ll modify the recipe to make clear that soaking is optional. Red lentils do cook quickly! I soak when I can to release anti-nutrients and make cooking that much faster. But in the case of lentils, I also don’t worry too much if I don’t have time to soak. (I always soak beans if cooking from scratch.)

        Hope this makes sense —


  9. My oh my that looks like something I would love to take out of the freezer and getting boiling up on the stove on a February night when I’m beat tired and starved!! I am the ultimate soup lover but I want the crunchies on top too…your toasted chickpeas sound like a great change from croutons or crackers 😉
    So glad you’re back in the kitchen!

  10. So glad you’re feeling better! Toasted chickpeas are great. I’ve never put them on soup before! You should try roasting edamame next time. (Maybe you already have.) I recently tried some store-bought roasted edamame (only ingredients are the soybeans themselves and sea salt) and I fell in love with them immediately!

  11. Glad your feeling better! I’m so lucky to have not been sick in I don’t know how long…somehow I manage to shake it while everyone else around me seems to get it. The only down side is I can never use the excuse of being sick…a headache maybe or tummy ache but that’s about it. 😉 But I’m not complaining! LOL

    This soup looks wonderful! I’ve been loving curries lately and will have to give this a try! A that goodness in one bowl is a wonderful thing. 🙂

  12. Glad you’re feeling better! We’ve managed to dodge the flu so far this year (knock on wood), but I know how yucky it is & how it throws everything off.

    Gena, I so love your recipes. I know I say that over & over, but really, you keep things real & basic, yet delicious. You also remind me of things I need to get back into, like toasting chickpeas & adding them to soup. What a brilliant idea.

    Hope you continue to feel better!


  13. Does this look tasty or what? I would try it right now, if I had the strenght to cook- I have been sick for the last four days with a huge fever (102.2F)! How did you get back on your feet? By eating your marvelous food? Or did you took any magical potion? 🙂
    Glad your feeling better!

  14. Glad to hear that you are on the mend! Don’t feel like you “owe” us anything or have to make up for your absence. Rest, recover, and take care of yourself. 🙂

  15. This looks beautiful! Soup is the perfect nourishment for combating a cold. I made beet borscht the other day, and it was so tasty that I ate it three days in a row! It had carrot, celery, potato, onion, beets (of course), beet greens, chickpeas, vegetable broth, dill, and lemon juice. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe!

  16. Love toasted chickpeas, but never thought to use them as a topping for soup. Thanks for the inspiration! This looks delicious.

  17. This looks like the ultimate healing soup- squash, lentils, greens and cozy spices. Yum!
    I love the idea of chickpea “croutons” too. I usually go for something creamy like avo/cashew cream on soup but a bit of crunch would be a nice change.

  18. I’m so glad you checked back in and are feeling better, so disregard my email asking if you are okay 😉 All I know is that next time I get sick–knock on wood–I want you to come and make this soup for me. Deal? Deal.