janet @ the taste space

Kabocha Squash, Coconut & Lentil Soup

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on January 14, 2014 at 6:59 AM

Winter Squash, Coconut & Lentil Soup

I spoke too soon. It was cold but now it is warm.

Houston felt the “Polar Vortex“. The “Arctic Invasion” that froze Niagara Falls (!!) (on the American side) brought Houston to lows a bit below freezing. With the 90% humidity, -4ºC was quite chilly but nothing compared to what the rest of the country was feeling. But this weekend, the humidity and chills disappeared. It was a balmy 26ºC with (only!) 25% humidity and Rob and I celebrated by wearing shorts, visiting the beach and kayaking in the Galveston area bay. Yeah, it was summer once again.

Winter Squash, Coconut & Lentil Soup

People at work wonder why I am so happy, but even small victories like this make my heart sing. Every time I cycle to work, I am ecstatic. Instead of hurricanes, Houston was hit by a drought this year.  I have cycled to work every day, safe 3 days so far in the past 6 months. Snow, ice and rain will keep me off my bike, not cold weather alone.

Soups like this also make my tummy sing. It is filled with all great things: red lentils as a solid base, kabocha squash and coconut milk for a creamy backdrop, spiced with ginger and chile flakes, tempered by tamarind and lime juice with a lemongrass twist. The flavours meld perfectly and this is a soup that will definitely warm you up during a cold front.

Winter Squash, Coconut & Lentil Soup

Were you hit by the cold? I heard the vortex may return again. I am thinking warm thoughts for you.

If you like this soup, you may also enjoy these:

Butternut Squash and Coconut Indian Stew

Plantains and Cabbage with Split Peas

Thai Sweet Potato and Kabocha Squash Stew

Winter Squash, Coconut & Lentil Soup

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes.

Kabocha Squash, Coconut & Lentil Soup
Adapted from

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (~3 -4 tbsp)
1/2 tsp Aleppo chile flakes, or to taste
1-2 stalks of lemongrass, outer leaves removed and stem finely chopped (3 tbsp)
1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
1 lb chopped kabocha squash (3 cups) or winter squash of choice (if not kabocha, peel it first)
5 cups water or vegetable broth (I used water with 1 tsp nutritional yeast)
3/4 cup lite coconut milk
2 tbsp tamarind paste, or to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro, with some reserved for garnish
2 tbsp lime juice (from 1 lime), or to taste
1 tsp Bragg’s or soy sauce, or to taste

1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add oil. Once hot, add onion and saute until softened and browned. Add garlic, ginger, chile flakes and lemongrass and stir for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

2. Add the lentils, squash and cover with water/stock and simmer until the lentils and squash are soft and tender and the squash has collapsed, around 30-45 minutes.

3. Stir in the coconut milk, tamarind and the majority of the cilantro. Taste for seasoning, soy sauce, lime juice and tamarind. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve warm.

Serves 4.

  1. Perfect winter soup, Janet!

  2. Our cold is back too – and with it a foot of snow! I just keep reminding myself that I get to visit Phoenix next month… This soups looks so warming!

  3. We were hit by it. My tub even froze. Considering a move to Hawaii… ;)

    Love this soup idea. I made chili, but this needs to be next on my list. Kabocha and coconut milk are two of my favorites!

  4. Mmmmm! I love kabocha with coconut- we make that soup often; but I never thought of adding lentils- must try, thanks :)

  5. Oh man, if the vortex comes back again, I might cry. Really. Good thing I have this soup recipe now! And a kabocha sitting on my counter.

  6. I love this soup Janet! So many of my favourite things!

    That’s awesome you are able to bike so much! I have been keeping up with my walking everywhere over here despite the cold but it hasn’t been easy! Good thing I invested in very warm winter wear this year!

  7. The soup is filled with so many of my favorite flavors — kabocha, tamarind, aleppo pepper — sounds great! I hope you have lots more clear days for cycling.

  8. Janet, this soup looks and sounds soooo warm and delicious! I absolutely love lentils, so this is right up my alley. I’ve never had lemongrass or those chili flakes…but they sound incredible!

  9. Wow, that is a dramatic weather shift!! Luckily this soup is good enough to deserve consumption on warm days as well as cold :)

  10. Im absolutely loving soup right now as it is so cold here in the UK and this lentil soup looks so warming and delicious! Its on my recipe ‘to-do’ list – thank you!


  11. 26C? That sounds pretty crazy for January. It’s actually been relatively warm here too, though it won’t.stop.raining :(
    I would be very happy with a giant bowlful of this soup whatever the weather.

  12. […] Indian bean whiz should I meet one, I knew it was a winner before I even made it. Like my recent Kabocha Squash, Coconut & Lentil Soup, it includes all my favourite things: tamarind, cumin, Aleppo chili flakes, and a bit of coconut […]

  13. Winter squash, gotta love it!

  14. So excited—one of the Korean markets had kabocha squash for 50 cents a pound! It always seemed so incredibly pricey before (especially when it was a tremendous squash). This soup sounds wonderful—will see what other k squash recipes you have since I am already having a coconut milk and lentil stew on Saturday.

    Don’t know m/any people who can understand why I am so happy to have finally scored this squash and have it sitting proudly on my kitchen counter!

  15. please think cool thoughts for us – we are revelling in the cool change finally after horrid heat wave – and I really need weather when I can think about making your lovely soup – sounds delish

    • I was shocked when I saw you had temps over 40C.. I didn’t know you had summers that hot! I must admit that I don’t really like summers that warm at all but it all evens out when there are mild winters. :)

  16. Mmmm this sounds so good. I use butternut & spaghetti squash too much, I need to give a little more love to kabocha =)

  17. The weather here seems very confused – it keeps fluctuating between being freezing and then warming up a bit again. I can’t imagine living in 26 degree heat in January though! I love the sounds of this soup, especially the addition of lemongrass. Red lentils and squash go together so well too!

  18. Mung bean curry is my favorite, but unfortunately no one in my family likes it. I love the fact that you have used coconut oil. I want to try it with coconut oil.

  19. I love kabocha squash and the fabulous flavors in this soup. It looks perfectly nourishing and warming. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week. ;-)

  20. Made this soup tonight. First time I have ever used lemon grass. Love it!! I think I added a wee bit too much ginger, but the soup was still great! Already looking forward to making it again. I wasn’t able to find kobacha so I used butternut. I will have to hunt down kabocha squash, though, to see how the flavours differ.

    • Hi Connie, Yay! Hopefully the ginger mellows as leftovers. I am glad you like it nonetheless. Butternut squash is just as good as kabocha. Kabocha tends to be more starchy, like sweet potatoes, but either work great here. Thank you so much for coming back to let me know about your version. :)

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