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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I MUST chime in with my ode to Heidi's lentil soup recipes! I love the simplicity of her red lentil soup dish(try it if you haven't!)....it has become a classic in my kitchen and even my salty Maine father who prefers cookies over much of anything healthy asked for a second helping. I have some french lentils in my cupboard just waiting for this soup!


Nice take on lentil soup! I can't say I'm quite sure what star anise is but I'm going to have to check it out. I'm on lentil kick myself :-)

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

No apologies on those lentil soup recipes. This sounds divine. I'd just about had my fill of winter squash, but this sounds AWESOME.


What is Star Anise & is it readily available at most grocery stores or is it a specialty item?


Oooohh! It looks so good, I'm so making this and I'm not gonna tell my friends about it until I perfect it!


Oooh, I love ginger, pumpkin and star anise!! Such a shame that it is summer here in Australia - not soup weather at all. Mustn't forget this recipe!!


While I feel sure "coins of ginger" means slices that resemble the shape of coins of money, it also implies don't chop, grind, etc., the ginger, so it's a useful term. However, ginger comes in SO many sizes where I shop (and for those of us trying the recipe for the first time), it might be helpful if we had an estimated width, or average diameter, like 1/2", or 1". Since these two exampled sizes provide more than double the difference in surface area, it would be useful to know.


Great timing as I have a few squash left in the cold pantry. If I may recommend a great squash to grow for soups, consider a Pacific NW favorite, sweet meat winter squash, and also red kuri squash. Both taste great and are relatively easy to grow. They are the best keepers, that is they store well in a cool room until spring without rotting.

tom | tall clover farm

OOOH - "moons", "coins", "bulbs".......it just makes it sound so much more fun!!! I can't wait to slice up some coins of ginger.


I avoided lentils because I thought my kids wouldn't like them. Super wrong mama me. Adding this to my hoard of lentil recipes. Merci!


it was perfect


Oh, I love lentil soup but never considered adding in winter squash to the mix. Brilliant! Looks like the cookbook has other good lentil soup recipes too!


all I had on hand was black lentils - and no leeks or fennel, alas - but extra onion, a good dose of red pepper flakes, and it was still delicious!




I cannot wait to try this, I've only recently discovered how wonderful lentil soups are!


That sounds really tasty. I adore a good soup; lately I've been coming across a few French lentil soup recipes in particular. I take that as a sign that it would be an excellent idea to make it!


Wow! What a fabulous recipe. We are big fans of your blog here at How2Heroes!


Yummmm...will try it soon. On another note, I made a quick quinoa salad with an asian flavor combination for lunch today. Although the recipe inspiration did not come directly from any of your recipes, the inspiration to create something really simple, yet flavorful with whatever ingredients I have on hand is totally from you. Thanks for teaching me a whole new way to look at cooking, and food. I owe you bigtime.


Mmm! I never get tired of lentil soup recipes.

The Rowdy Chowgirl

I like all your recipes and l also want cake recipes especially the one without rich ingredients l mean a simple recipe.

rajah olivia

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