Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup is all I'm thinking about this autumn. It’s easy to make and full of flavour from the roasted butternut squash, peppers and spices. This soup is ideal for cooler days and perfect to make ahead in advance.
This butternut squash and red pepper soup has been brought back to life from the archives for you to enjoy again. The post has had a refresh of photography, details in the recipe and now includes step-by-step process photos. It was originally posted on Eat Love Eat on 14th November 2019. I’ve left one of the old photos at the bottom of the post to show the difference.
I’m absolutely loving fall recipes right now. Especially soup! I don’t think there’s anything much better than sitting down and enjoying a steaming warm bowl of soup on a chilly day. I’m also totally crushing on meal prep. I mean, as the days get shorter and shorter, I just want something to warm up with after a long shoot day. This is so easy to whip together and for making larger batches that last all week.
There are so many different variations of soup with butternut squash, but I really do think it is perfectly matched with red peppers. Just the colour and depth of flavour that you get from this combination of veggies roasted together is lovely. I’ve always been one for a slightly thicker soup when it's blended smooth, it just makes me feel more full and warm, but this recipe is easy to adjust for the consistency you prefer.
So let’s get to it! I know you’ll love this butternut squash soup recipe, so leave a comment and a rating below as I love hearing from you.
What ingredients do I need?
For this butternut squash soup you don’t need many ingredients to make a beautiful warming lunch or supper. Here’s what you’ll need:
Butternut squash - you can also use your favourite seasonal squash. Red kuri, acorn and kabocha squash or a standard cooking pumpkin all work really well. You can even use sweet potato instead.
Pointed red peppers - also known as romano peppers, these are sweet and flavoursome. They have a deeper red colour and flavour than bell peppers, but bell peppers work well if you can't find the pointed ones.
Soup base - the essentials of brown onion and garlic form the base of this soup and the flavour building starts with these at the centre. See tips below for making the best soup.
Spices - you’ll be using a little ground smoked paprika for smokiness, plus ground cumin, onion powder and dried thyme for extra warmth and depth. You’ll also be using chilli flakes, often called red pepper flakes in the States. I used aleppo chilli flakes (also sometimes known as pul biber).
Red lentils - these little lentils cook quickly without needing to soak them beforehand. They help to thicken the soup, whilst also adding some protein and making it more filling.
Stock - you can use chicken or vegetable depending on your preferences. Use a vegan vegetable stock to make this soup vegan.
Olive oil - you’ll need a little oil to get the roasted veggies, sautéed onions and garlic going, we want caramelisation as that equals flavour.
Garnish (optional) - you can use greek yoghurt or cream and some fresh thyme to garnish this butternut squash soup with. Other options include serving with cheesy croutons and pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and freshly ground black pepper.
What tips and tricks makes this the best soup?
Roasted butternut squash and peppers - I find roasting brings out the flavour so much more than just boiling some veggies. It’s all down to the maillard reaction which is where caramelisation happens and when caramelisation happens - you get FLAVOUR! I love it, it’s just so predictable and reliable. Want better soup? Roast the veggies!
Caramelised base - earlier in the post I mentioned the importance of onions and garlic in the base of the soup. These get some lovely caramelisation in the preparation of this soup, you won’t regret it. It makes all the difference!
No need to peel red peppers - You don’t need to faff around peeling the red peppers, who has time for that? If you have a powerful enough stick or jug blender, just whizz them up and you’ll have a deeper colour and flavour from them.
Meal prep - soup is one of those amazingly versatile recipes that store well and even get better in flavour the next day. Check out the options below for meal prep.
Healthy - This soup is naturally healthy and is low in fat and high in fibre. It also comes with a nice level of protein thanks to the addition of red lentils.
Natural creaminess - I find that butternut squash has a natural creaminess when cooked and puréed, but combined with red lentils, it makes this extra creamy and smooth without any needing to add any cream!
Blending - often it’s suggested that soup be blended with a stick blender for ease but I don’t recommend it. As convenient as it is, it just does NOT deliver on the smooth creamy texture that you can get from a jug blender; it often leaves a gritty, not fully smooth consistency. For those who love soup, it's definitely worth getting a jug blender.
Customisations and substitutions
Sensitive to onions? - Some people are sensitive to onions and if that’s you, you can try using shallots or leeks as they are sweeter, or even use celery. The soup will have a different flavour from this substitution though.
Want more protein? This soup already has about 20% of your protein for the day, but you can also add in chickpeas for more protein, you’ll just need to add more liquid to get the right consistency.
Make it vegan - This soup is easily made vegan with a vegan vegetable stock. The only changes would be to the garnishes - just use dairy-free alternatives to yoghurt or cream.
Make ahead tips
There are a couple of options for making this butternut squash and red pepper soup ahead of time:
- Roast your veggies ahead of time and let cool. Place them in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge and grab them when you are ready to put the rest of the soup together.
- Make the whole soup start to finish and let it cool completely. Store in airtight containers and eat throughout the week.
Either way, check out the storage tips in the FAQ’s below.
How do I make it?
This soup is so easy to put together but make sure you follow these step by step processes to ensure you get the most flavour out of your time in the kitchen!
Flavour building steps:
- Add your peeled and diced butternut squash and chopped red peppers to a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with chilli flakes, salt and pepper and olive oil and toss together with your hands until evenly coated in oil and spices.
- Roast the vegetables in a preheated oven at 180C/350F for 25-30 minutes until tender and charred/caramelised at the edges.
- Heat a dutch oven or large pan over a medium high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the diced onion. Sauté for 5 minutes until softened and golden at the edges.
- Add the minced garlic and spices and stir over a medium heat for another minute until fragrant. Tip #1 Don’t burn the garlic, as it will turn bitter.
- Add the red lentils and stir into the onion and spice mix. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Tip #2 Good quality stock = good quality soup.
- Reduce the heat, add the roasted vegetables and stir into the soup mix.
- Simmer for 15 minutes uncovered until the red lentils are soft and cooked through.
- Blend the soup in a jug blender or with a stick blender. Just be careful not to overload the jug as you don’t want to burn yourself.
Yes, absolutely! This butternut squash and red pepper soup makes about 1 litre of soup; about 3 portions or 4 small bowls. Feel free to double or even triple the recipe to create enough for your needs. I like freezing this soup for a later date, too.
Yes! This soup freezes well. Just blend the soup and let it cool completely then freeze in portion sizes in individual airtight containers or ziploc bags. It will last well for up to 3 months in the freezer at -18C.
I recommend storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezing the soup if you would like to keep it longer than this.
If frozen, I recommend defrosting in the fridge overnight until completely frost free. To reheat in the microwave, place in a microwave safe container and heat for 1-2 minutes on high, stirring occasionally. Or reheat over a medium heat in a saucepan on the stove until piping hot.
Want more warming soups and stews?
I hope you love this roasted butternut squash and red pepper soup! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment, rate the recipe and tag #eatloveeats on Instagram! I love to see your creations!
Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup
Roasted butternut squash and red pepper
For the soup
To garnish the soup
- Greek yoghurt
- pumpkin seeds
- fresh thyme leaves
- cheesy toasts, see recipe notes
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the diced butternut squash and the chopped red peppers to the baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until everything is tender and a little charred at the edges.2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash, 3 pointed red peppers, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Whilst the vegetables are roasting, place a large saucepan over medium high heat. Once hot, add in the olive oil and onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until softened and golden at the edges.1 yellow onion, 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add the garlic and spices and continue to cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- Add the red lentils to the pot and give them a good stir to coat in the onions and spices. Next, pour in the stock and salt and bring to the boil.½ cup red lentils, 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the roasted vegetables. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils are soft.
- Carefully transfer everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Take care to cover the top of the blender with a tea towel to avoid any splashes and start blending slowly, gradually increasing the speed until smooth. This is the place to add more stock if you want a thinner soup.
- Taste and adding more salt or pepper if desired. Serve topped with a little yoghurt and pumpkin seeds, if liked. See notes section below for suggested instructions on how to make some tasty little cheesy toasts for dipping.Greek yoghurt, pumpkin seeds, fresh thyme leaves, cheesy toasts
- Use your favourite variety of squash - red kuri, acorn and kabocha all work well. Some varieties of squash cook a little quicker, so start checking at 20 minutes.
- If you can't get hold of red pointed peppers, use red bell peppers instead.
- If you don't have an upright blender, you can use a hand-held stick blender.
- This recipe makes about 1.2 litres or 5 cups of soup, which equates to about 3 full servings or 4 smaller ones.
- Delicious served with some smoky cheesy toasts - lightly toast some slices of baguette and top with grated cheddar cheese, a sprinkle of smoked paprika and a few thyme leaves. Place under the grill/broiler for a minute or two until melted and golden.
- To make vegan, use vegetable stock and coconut milk for garnish.
- Depending on the salt levels in your chosen stock, taste and adjust salt levels in the soup accordingly.