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:

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


  • 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


  • In a bowl combine lentils and 3 cups hot water. Let soak at least 20 minutes.
  • Heat a large saucepan over medium. Add onion, garlic, and ¼ cup water. Cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.
  • 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.
  • Stir in spinach and lemon zest. Cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until spinach wilts slightly. Serve immediately.

Comments (38)

(5 from 13 votes)

Recipe Rating

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I made this twice! I love a good lentil soup and this will be my got-to from now on. I subbed diced potatoes for the butternut squash (white or purple, they were both YUM) and halved the amount of spinach. I also increased the lentils by just a 1/4 cup lentils because I like a thicker soup. I served with a chili oil and DANG, I can't get enough!


Tasted great. Didn’t have the herbs listed so added dried mixed herbs and fresh rosemary.


Easy to make and the results were really good. Great flavours. Tasted just as good the next day . Will be making again.


Can I use Swiss Chard instead of spinach?

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Liz. Yes, Swiss chard would be a good substitution. If using the stalks as well, cut them finely and allow a few more minutes for them to cook. Let us know how it goes!

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Liz, Swiss chard would be a good subsitution. If using the stalks as well, we recommend that you allow for a few more minutes for them to cook.


This is such a great soup! The lemon zest was perfect in this. This is a recipe that I will use over and over again!


This soup is so delicious! My picky 13 year old who initially refused to eat ended up eating 2 bowls! I didn’t have oregano but added a bay leaf. When i make this again, I’ll add more broth. I like soupy soup and this was pretty thick.




Excellent 5/5. Love the heartiness and freshness of this stew. The lemon was a great touch. Keeper!


Lentils only need to boil for 15-20 minutes to get tender, so I have no clue what the author's intention is to soak them 20 minutes and boil them for 40. Skip the soaking, bring the broth to a boil, and add the lentils with the squash, tomato, etc. and then continue with the rest of the recipe. This makes the recipe much more convenient and less time-consuming. Hope this helps.


For some people soaking the lentils makes them easier to digest.


This soup is so delicious! My husband and I both loved it. I made it exactly as the recipe said except I added more than 2 cups of chopped butternut squash and I put in more than 6 cups of baby spinach at the end. A simple recipe with such delicious, nourishing results. Thank you to the author!


Easy to make and very tasty. The lemon adds a pleasant flavor. I used sweet potatoes instead of squash since that is what I had handy.


Delicious and hearty. I used sweet potatoes instead of squash and I roasted all the vegetables before adding to the soup. The lemon zest and juice is a great flavour.

Michelle Dean

I made this soup today and it was delicious and I followed the recipe exactly. My husband loved it as well and he supposedly doesn’t like lentils. Thank you for the delicious recipe!😊


Took time..soo what !!! I roasted my veggies and added bay leaf and scallions yum !!

Liora Lurie

I am diabetic and need the nutritional information -carbs, protein. Please include in your recipes!

June siegel

Iwas really disappointed with this recipe. It had a weird flavor and took a long time to make.

Dianne Kendall

As I was adding in ingredients, noticed store pre chopped squash was bad, so got creative and added chopped potatoes and carrots instead and added chopped parsley instead of spinach. Turned out completely different soup but still good flavor. Just have to be willing to go with the flow sometimes

Suzy Fletcher

Totally agree with comment on too little time allowed in prep notes. I am experienced cook and chopper and it almost always takes longer than the recipes indicate. Very annoying, but now I know better!


No need to whine, just use frozen squash as that seems to be peoples’ Achilles heel. Sometimes I use the peeling of a squash as a meditation rite. Slow down everyone, if you allow yourself, the meal will take care of itself.


Could delicata squash be subbed for the butternut squash? I have so much of it.


Your soups have it all. I have all the magazines but live when you post them. Whatever time it takes is truly a spiritual experience for me knowing I'm worth this wonderful healthful creation.


Would like to see the nutritional values per serving since I am new to the vegan diet and want to make sure I am getting enough protein as well as other nutrients.


Delicious soup. My husband even loved it. I used roasted and then frozen butternut squash and canned fire roasted chopped tomatoes since I had those on hand.

Patty Jackson

Best flavor of any soup and I used Kale instead of spinach


Trying to add and says recipe cn not be found.

Anna Jennings

Absolutely delicious! The lemon rind and juice really liven up this soup.


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.

Maggie Smith

If you look at the items with a symbol beside them, they indicate “pre-prep items”. I left you do those ingredients on the weekend before your plan starts, it prepares quickly during the week as your chopping and peeling was done prior to actually making any meals for the week. Grocery list is awesome as well.


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. Kieliszewski

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 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.


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.

Chalon Murray

I roast a butternut squash each week so I had it in the fridge. It’s easy to peel and chop after roasting. Cooking this recipe now and can’t wait to taste it! Love the good reviews here!


I use frozen spinach and frozen butternut squash. It’s a time saver. Too, use a can of diced tomato or even a small can of tomato paste.


Butternut squash can be bought peeled and cubed in store produce area. Also frozen is available in some stores. Good to have on hand.


beans and Soups

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

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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