Dice onion and red bell pepper. Mince garlic and ginger. Peel butternut squash and cut into chunks.
In a medium soup pot, over medium-high heat, add oil. Add onion and red bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until starting to soften. Add minced garlic and ginger, spices, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes, until starting to stick slightly.
Add broth or water, chopped butternut squash, and red lentils. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine. Lower heat to a simmer, covered, and until squash and lentils are soft, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add chickpeas and tomato paste, if using. Cook for 15 minutes more. Serve immediately!