Kabocha French Lentil Soup Recipe

An anise and ginger-spiked French lentil soup, from a charming little cookbook I stumbled on titled SoupLove. The broth is thickened by lots of roasted winter squash, and it's great with lots of garlicky croutons.

Kabocha French Lentil Soup

Last weekend Heather (my sis) and I waited for a break in the rain, loaded little Jack into the stroller, and headed toward the Mission district. We made lots of stops along the way - coffee, lunch, and The Curiosity Shoppe included.

The Curiosity Shoppe always has all sorts of neat things in stock. This time I came across a really sweet, unassuming cookbook titled SoupLove. It's by chef Rebecca Stevens, just 30 pages in length, single color, and features twelve simple, seasonal soup recipes including this Kabocha French Lentil Soup. The illustrations by Nabil Samadani send the charm factor to a ten.

French Lentil Soup Recipe

The soup? It is anise and ginger-spiked, with a broth thickened by lots of roasted winter squash. And for those of you keeping track, I promise, this is the last lentil soup for a while ;) I made a double batch, and we ate generous bowls for dinner topped with lots of extra-garlicky croutons. Then I put enough for one more meal in the refrigerator, and froze three freezer bags worth of leftovers.

For those of you who are interested in tracking down a copy of SoupLove, Nabil has posted a list of stores that are (or will be) stocking it. Or you can order it through Etsy for $8 - there you can see the cover, and a couple of the illustrations.

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Kabocha French Lentil Soup

Rebecca calls for kabocha squash or other dark orange winter squash. I've been buying rugosa squash here in SF at Bi-Rite, it's an heirloom butternut squash - deep orange, creamy - it was really nice in this soup. I doubled this recipe. But still used just 1/2 cup water when roasting the squash.

1 kabocha or other dark orange winter squash, 1 1/2 lb. / 24 ounces / 680 g

1/2 cup / 120 ml water
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt
1 cup / 7 oz / 200 g green lentils, rinsed
5 coins ginger, 1/8-inch thick
1 whole star anise
6 cups / 1.5 liters water
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup / 60 ml olive oil
1 yellow onion, medium dice
1 leek, sliced into 1/4 moons
1 fennel bulb, medium dice

red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425F/ 220C with a rack in the top third of the oven. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Oil and salt the squash and roast cut side down (in a rimmed baking pan) with the 1/2 cup / 120 ml of water poured into the pan. Roast until tender, about 35 to 45 minutes. When cool enough, scoop out cooked squash and set aside.

In the meantime, in a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, ginger, star anise and water. Simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt.

In a large stockpot combine the olive oil, onion, leeks, fennel and additional salt. Cook covered over low heat until vegetables soften, about 7 - 10 minutes.

Remove the star anise and ginger coins from the lentil sauce pan, then add the lentils, lentil broth and squash to the vegetables in the stock pot. Stir well and cook for another 15 minutes or so, allowing the flavors to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning here with more salt if needed, and in my case I used a few generous pinches of red pepper flakes as well.

Serve as is, or topped with lots of garlicky homemade croutons.*

Serves 4 - 6.

*For the croutons I simply ripped up the remainder of a day-old loaf of Outerlands bread into tiny shreds, doused it in olive oil, garlic, and a bit of salt, and toasted it in the oven until golden and crunchy - I think the oven was set to 375 at the time.

Prep time: 20 minutes - Cook time: 60 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Heidi, please don't stop the lentils coming! I love lentils (have 4 kinds in my pantry right now) and I've recently discovered that I love fennel as well. Looking at this makes me think how wonderful a bowl of lentil soup might be for supper tonight : )

denise @ quickies on the dinner table

I've made lentil soup a lot of ways, but this sounds really unique. Love the addition of fennel and leek. Just made split pea soup with leeks and they made it extra flavorful.

Lentil Breakdown

My boyfriend is sick; and this looks absolutely perfect for him. ... Too bad he prefers Chicken Noodle Soup from a can. Men. What can you do?

Satpreet Kahlon

No, please don't stop with the lentil dishes! They're so good, I can't get enough of them this time of year! This version sounds delish! And I love the Curiosity Shoppe. Never been to the physical store, but I love clicking over to their website now and again.


i like absolutely everything about this recipe. the spices sound amazing, as does the fact that kabocha squash is involved. that is one squash i haven't really dealt with all that much, so i will definitely have to try this recipe out!


This soup is great! I made it tonight, but I used split peas instead of lentils (same cooking time) and anise seed instead of star anise - my grocery store didn't have stars. Delicious and super filling.


If I'm keeping track of your lentil soup recipes, I assure you I am only doing so happily, maybe even greedily. I love lentil soup! I think lentil soup is the BEST winter food, hands down. I'm actually making a pot right now! This one looks especially fabulous (squash is my second favorite food to eat when its cold out) and I can't wait to try it. P.S. I've never commented before, but I have been LOVING your blog for quite a while. Thanks so much for all you do here!

Katie @ peace of cake

This looks amazing. I'll add it to the long list of Heidi recipes to try. I love your cooking notes -- they let us into your creative flair and I always learn so much. If I could be any blogger in the whole wide world, I would want to be you.


This soup looks wonderful. Something I must try very soon!


oh the book looks absolutely adorable!! as for the soup, as much as it looks delicious, i don't care for star anise and fennel (the latter of which also happens to be hard to find and expensive over here)... so i might just have to skip it or maybe throw in something else instead. chopped celery maybe? mmm i'm getting hungry now (lunchtime here!) :) HS: Chika, I suspect you could do any number of variations. I'll also mention that I kept thinking of five-spice while making this. Maybe using it along with some creme friache as a swirl or something.


This soup looks amazing. I admit to some slowness because I stared at the following sentence for quite some time: "Oil and salt the squash and roast cut side down (in a rimmed baking pan) with the 1/2 cup / 120 ml of water..." and I wasn't sure if I poured the water into the baking pan or if I put the cup on a rack below the baking pan to steam up the oven. HS: Heh. Ok, I reworded it a bit. You should pour the water into the pan. Well, that's what I did, and it worked well :)


yes - please don't stop with the lentil/bean soup recipes!! i just made a big pot of the ribollita soup tonight to eat tomorrow and through the week, and we had your brown rice red lentil soup, made earlier in the day, for dinner! cant wait to add the kabocha lentil soup recipe to my repetoire!


I adore squash and lentils/beans together in warm winter salads, but it never occured to me to combine them in soup (doh!). This sounds so fine, for right now.


warm thanks to you for another great soup recipe. just wanted to note that the last sentence in paragraph two needs to start "these" and not "this." i hope that you'll be able to track down a copy of the rosendal garden cafe's cookbook from stockholm sometime and do a few healthier takes of their food. they are a botanical garden and city paradise cum bakery/cafe in stockholm with organic food, etc.... HS: Thanks for the suggestion Anna, I'll try to track down a copy of that book. A visit to the actual cafe might be better though ;)


No need to stop with the lentil soups! They're always tasty and generally easy. This one is a very unexpected combination of flavors.


Yeah more lentils! Growing up, my mom made a lot of lentils during Lent. Thanks for sharing this find. What an interesting combination.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

Yum! Looks and sounds amazing. Am definitely cooking this.


Amazing soup. I love the blend.

Dave -nibbleanibble

This looks like quite a hearty soup! I love the sweetness, nuttiness and thickness that kabocha adds, and I'm just imagining the wonderful spicy flair spike by star anise and ginger. Fantastic!

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

I love the combo both anise and ginger! The flavors together must be amazing!

Estela @ Weekly Bite

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