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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Yes, please keep the lentil soups coming! I have a question about the squash which is scooped out of the skin. Do you then chop it up before adding to the soup or are you adding spoonfuls and does it cook down into a puree??


I've never seen the term "coins of ginger". Can I assume that means slices, perhaps through the middle of the root?


In my opinion, there is just no such thing as too much lentil soup. Of course, my fily doesn't always agree with me. I can't wait to try this one, and have some squash ready to go!


Funny, as much as I do NOT like black licorice, I am a sucker for fennel anything. And with the addition of ginger and squash?! this sounds wonderful.

DC Sarah

Ah, the sounds of a store called "The Curiousity Shoppe." What's not to love about that?! Squash and lentils is a gorgeous, delicious, healthy combo. Looks so tasty. Keep the lentils coming, they're nutrient-dense and economical. Why stop?

Anna @ unsweetenedcocoa

Wow, the spices in this sound really amazing. I can't wait to try this out!


I love trying new lentil recipes; this looks fantastic, Heidi...perfect for a chilly February day like today...I'm sure this will warm me right up..looks quite tasty and hearty. Have a great day!

The Healthy Apple

Never apologize for lentil soup recipes, and never ever stop posting them! I love your innovative takes on the delicious but oft-overlooked little pulse.


This soup sounds amazing! I have a butternut squash on my counter and now know exactly what I'll be doing with it. I'm very interested to see how the anise and ginger flavors will combine. Thanks for the great recipe!


Is there anything better than the lentil? I could eat them every day of the week. The soup looks amazing. Can't wait to try it. Thanks for the introduction to the cookbook. And thank you for your blog in general. I really appreciate it. I finally bought your cookbook the other day and I'm really enjoying that as well.


Yum... anise, fennel, and ginger make everything wonderful.


Any fresh new squash recipes and I am in! It is always in February when I start getting the "not another squash for dinner" feeling. Can never get enough new ones this time of year.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen

The combination of anise and ginger sounds fantastic! What a great take on lentil soup.

Cookin' Canuck

Lent is beginning and lentils in every shape and combination are eaten in abundance at our house for the next 6 weeks so please keep sending lentil recipes! This one looks wonderful!


Don't mind the lentils at all! Especially if they keep coming with roasted winter squash -- delicious!


A simple but amazing recipe, I like the anise-ginger touch.


I don't mind the excess of lentil soup either, nice to have them all lined up before Spring arrives (which this year seems to be taking forever.....) I dislike lentil soups thickened with flour (unfortunately, my husband's family default recipe, which he loves... :-)


Oh I would use lentils as often as you like - I love seeing these recipes!

Simply Life

I have been wanting to make a lentil soup for a couple of weeks now and have been looking for a great, not your standard lentil soup recipe and this one looks perfect. I even have all of the ingredients on hand!

christie @ honoring health

I have no problem with lentils soups! Please please keep them coming! This one sound delish.


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