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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 8 cups

Fresh herbs, zesty lemon, and spicy red pepper flakes deliver a trifecta of tastiness in this nourishing spinach soup. Nutrient-dense lentils add heft and lend their starchy texture as a thickening agent for the savory broth, ensuring each bite is rich and creamy. Cubes of butternut squash get melt-in-your-mouth tender while the wilted greens add vibrant pops of color. A little bit of chopped tomato adds a hint of acidity so each spoonful is packed full of complex flavor. Serve this wholesome soup alongside a slice of crusty whole wheat bread to soak up the excess broth or add in a cup of precooked whole grains for an additional dose of plant-based goodness.

For more hearty vegan soups and stews, check out these tasty ideas:


  • 1 cup dry brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 cups chopped peeled butternut squash
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomato
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups packed fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest


  1. In a bowl combine lentils and 3 cups hot water. Let soak at least 20 minutes.
  2. Heat a large saucepan over medium. Add onion, garlic, and ¼ cup water. Cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Drain lentils; add to saucepan along with vegetable broth, thyme, and oregano. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in squash, tomato, and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook 20 minutes more or until squash is tender. Stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper.
  4. Stir in spinach and lemon zest. Cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until spinach wilts slightly. Serve immediately.

Comments (6)

(5 from 4 votes)
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Anna Jennings2 weeks ago
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Absolutely delicious! The lemon rind and juice really liven up this soup.

Waneeta2 weeks ago
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For those who want to save time on this recipe, I use frozen butternut squash precut (I toss this in when the recipe says to, I also use a package of frozen spinach ( I throw it in the first twenty minutes of cooking). Makes things a little quicker. I really enjoy this recipe, have made it several times now, really picks me up. I drizzle a little extra olive oil in my bowl before serving, is wonderful.

Kate3 months ago
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This was a very easy recipe to make and my whole family loved it. I swapped potato for squash because that’s what I had on hand. Also, I added a bay leaf and a couple of carrots. So delish and lemony!

F. Kieliszewski6 months ago
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FOK recipes never take as little time as described. The assumption seems to be that you happened to have the ingredients already prepped in your refridgerator. I find this discouraging when counting on a “quick” recipe.

Peeling and chopping the squash would take me at least 20 minutes alone, then chopping onions, garlic, and tomatoes…not the 20 minutes they describe.

I’ll try this recipe, but will allow more than the time allowance they describe….as I do most FOK recipes.

I hope that FOK will adjust their time estimates to include the actual time required to prep all of the ingredients in their recipes to something more realistic.

Carol2 months ago
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So true. Plus, I scrub those veggies that are supposed to be…and peeling the butternut squash alone, then chopping it, would take me 30-45 minutes maybe. Sometimes I wish for simpler, easy, quick to make dishes too.

Sharon7 months ago
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about the author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.

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