Indian-Spiced Golden Split Pea & Winter Squash Soup

This hearty soup features high-fiber split peas, vitamin-rich squash, and garam masala, a sweet, aromatic blend of spices with the warm exotic flavors essential to Indian cooking. Enjoy with a green salad or sautéed greens and a crusty hunk of fresh whole-grain bread for an easy weeknight dinner.

If you want to make the soup ahead and reheat it, undercook the squash slightly so it won't be overcooked when the soup is reheated.

Yields: Serves 6-8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (Indian spice blend)
  • 2 cups yellow split peas
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock (or 4 cups canned low-sodium broth mixed with 4 cups water)
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled orange-fleshed winter squash, such as butternut or kabocha, in 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, or more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh lemon
  • Plain yogurt (optional)


    1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over moderate heat
    2. Add the onion, garlic and chili and sauté until the onion is soft and beginning to color, about 10 minutes
    3. Add the garam masala and cook, stirring, for a minute or two to toast it, then add the split peas and the stock
    4. Bring to a simmer, cover partially and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer
    5. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the split peas are just tender, about 45 minutes
    6. Add the squash and the tomatoes with their juice
    7. Simmer gently, partly covered, until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes
    8. Season with salt and pepper
    9. Top each serving with cilantro and a dollop of yogurt, and serve with a lemon wedge

    Note: I prefer kabocha squash for its richer, sweeter flavor. I also like to mix a pinch or two of garam masala or ground cumin and coriander into the yogurt before serving.

    Adapted from the San Francisco Chronicle