This creamy pumpkin lentil soup is a full meal by the addition of red lentils. The soup is smooth and satisfyingly rich with flavours of ginger and a hint of chili that make it both heartwarming and refreshing!
Pumpkin soup is a classic light meal for autumn in many countries across the northern hemisphere. But rather than just blended vegetables, this soup is also filling!
Garlic, ginger and chili warm the heart and boost your body’s immune system. And the red lentils are a great match to pumpkin or squash in colour.
The red lentil is our favourite among legumes! One of Paul’s most favourite meals is the Red Lentil Dal of Love, of which we also have a one pot version with potatoes and spinach. You can even use split red lentils to make some amazing Red Lentil Flatbreads, gluten free ‘by accident’.
In this recipe, the lentils give the blended soup a full body in both flavour and texture. They are also rich in protein, which makes this soup a perfect light but nutritiously complete meal.
This pumpkin lentil soup recipe is so tasty and nurturing, yet so simple to make, too. This makes it a great recipe that we will have over and over again this autumn and winter.
We’ve put our own, flavoursome twist on this recipe that makes it stand out among the crowd. Here’s all you need for this pumpkin lentil soup.
Pumpkin - we like ones with deep-orange flesh, but any culinary pumpkin will work. We’ve also used squash with great success. Although your choice of what to use as the bulk in this recipe defines the overall flavour, you can’t really go wrong here. So use and try whatever is local, seasonal, or available to you!
Red Lentils - Add rich taste and texture as well as protein. Their unique flavour blends perfectly with that of the pumpkin.
Garlic, ginger and chili flakes - For great flavour and warmth.
Coconut oil - To fry the above in, and unleash their full aroma!
Coconut milk - For a nice creamy soup. We like organic coconut milk, and buy it in bulk for better value.
Soy sauce - With its extra umami flavour boost, it’s a great alternative to salt.
Turmeric - Did you know it’s good for the immune system, just like its cousin, ginger?
If you’re missing any of these, don’t worry - see below in the post for variations and substitutions!
Step by step
You can find exact amounts and cooking times in the recipe card below, but here’s a visual guide for the process. See how simple it is?
Step 1 - Fry the garlic, ginger and chili flakes in coconut oil for 1 minute, to release their aroma.
Step 2 - Add in all other ingredients - turmeric, cubed pumpkin, water, red lentils, coconut milk and soy sauce.
Step 3 - Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 - 20 minutes, until the lentils and pumpkin are fully done.
Step 4 - Use a stick blender to puree the soup until fine and smooth. Ready to serve!
Coconut oil can be replaced with flavoursome olive oil, or simply some sunflower or canola oil.
To use garlic powder and ginger powder instead of fresh garlic and ginger, reduce the heat to low-medium in step 1 to just infuse the spices rather than fry them.
Or, skip the first step and coconut oil altogether and start out by boiling up all the ingredients in a saucepan. Use 1 teaspoon powder for 3 cloves of garlic, and 1 tablespoon of ginger powder for 1 tablespoon grated or chopped ginger.
In place of chili flakes, you can use chili powder or cayenne pepper. Mild or medium chili powders might work as 1:1 replacement. With cayenne or hot chili powder, you want to reduce the amount to about a quarter, or the soup might turn out too hot to handle! Also, add the powder to the oil only just before adding the liquids so they don’t burn.
You could also use fresh chili, but be warned! The size and heat level of fresh chilis are more unpredictable than with dried chili flakes. Use ¼ to ½ teaspoon chopped fresh chili per teaspoon of chili flakes as a starting point. However, if you often use fresh chili, you probably like it hot and have some idea about how much to use to suit your taste!
Turmeric is nice but not essential to this recipe. You can just skip it or replace it with twice the amount of curry powder, of which it is a key component.
For red lentils there isn’t really a good substitute. Your best bet is yellow moong lentils, not to be confused with yellow split peas! Brown or green lentils are very different in flavour and need to be cooked differently.
You can easily make this into a squash soup, by simply replacing the pumpkin. We often have butternut squash delivered by our organic veg box, but a hokkaido (red kuri) squash also works amazingly well! Other vegetables like sweet potato or carrots are also worth a try!
Make this soup gluten-free by using tamari in place of soy sauce. To go soy-free, use liquid coconut aminos instead.
Want to give the soup a different flavour note? Add extra spices such as curry powder or garam masala on top of the turmeric, between 1 and 2 teaspoons on 4 servings. Great for when you make this soup regularly and want to mix things up a bit.
Garam masala spice blend always goes great with pumpkin, lentils and ginger. And the curry powder we already mentioned transforms this recipe into a curried soup.
The pumpkin lentil soup can be served as a starter, but also makes a perfect full meal thanks to the protein from the lentils.
Put salt and pepper mills on the table so eaters can season their bowl of soup to their taste.
Garnish the soup with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Austrian gourmets like Paul swear on a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil. This dark green, cold pressed oil specialty is a bit expensive, but oh so worth it. The flavour is unique, and a little goes a long way.
Serve the pumpkin lentil soup with a slice of bread. Sourdough and rye breads like this Super Seedy Wholemeal Sourdough Bread are a great match!
Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments, or share it with your friends and family! You might also be interested in our other Vegan Soup Recipes!
Also, check out some other Autumnal Vegan Recipes with pumpkin or squash:
Pumpkin Lentil Soup
- In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil on medium-high heat.
- Add in the chopped garlic, grated ginger and chili flakes, stir them through and let them fry for a minute.
- Add the turmeric, pumpkin cubes, water, red lentils, coconut milk and soy sauce. For a spicy twist, add the optional garam masala or curry powder.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer on low-medium heat until the lentils are cooked soft and the pumpkin is done and tender, 10 - 20 minutes (depending on type and cube size of the pumpkin).
- Remove from heat and puree with the stick blender until very smooth and fine. Watch out for splashes of hot soup!
- Serve with salt and pepper grinder for seasoning in the bowl, and a slice of bread.