This delicious, creamy, vegan Thai butternut squash soup topped with scallions and roasted squash seeds doesn't even require peeled squash!
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It only rains in Seattle twice a year - once from October to March, and once from March to June. And when it rains in Seattle, it's always time for butternut squash soup. And this roasted, Thai curried butternut squash soup is one of my favorite combinations!
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- Creamy, vegan and gluten-free - the recipe, as written, is deliciously creamy and still vegan thanks to the use of coconut milk
- Ultra convenient and limited hands-on cook time - I love soup, but I hate the work. This recipes uses whole-roasted squash, so there's no need to peel (and let's be honest, that's the worst part of squash season). And there's little hands-on cook time.
- Instructions with or without a blender: You don't necessarily need a blender to make this soup (it'll be chunkier version but just as delicious!)
- Prevents waste - if you are an aspirational zero waste warrior like I am, you'll be delighted that we even use the squash seeds in this recipe
📋 Ingredients & notes
This recipe uses a super simple set of ingredients - butternut squash, olive oil, garlic and ginger, red curry paste, vegetable broth and coconut milk for the soup. You can add a wide variety of things as garnish - I typically use squash seeds, scallions, and basil but you can also add toasted peanuts, or a drizzle of hot sauce (and any fresh herbs of choice)
- How do you know when butternut squash is ripe? I use a few 'rules of thumb' when I pick butternut squash. I look for squash that feels heavier than expected, and looks clean on the outside (i.e. without frostbite or bruises). Avoid any squash that has green spots on the outside, and look for an even color across the rind.
- Do you need to peel the butternut squash for this recipe? I use roasted butternut squash as the base - so not only is the squash caramelized, you also don't need to peel it. Easy peasy!
- Can you eat squash seeds? Yes, and not just because this butternut squash soup is on a zero waste journey. Squash seeds are delicious and ultra nutritious. Clean the excess flesh, add some olive oil and salt to roast in the oven until it pops.
♨️ Make butternut squash soup from scratch
Prep the butternut squash for roasting
Make sure to preheat the oven to 400F while you're doing all of this. Thankfully, we don't have to peel or slice the squash. So, put a damp towel underneath the squash to hold it in place and slice off stem end, cut vertically down in half.
Scoop out the seeds and place them in a bowl. Do this until the flesh is clean. Line up a sheet pan with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Drizzle the fleshy side with olive oil, salt and pepper and place flesh side down on baking sheet.
Roast the butternut squash to cook and caramelize the pulp
Roast the butternut squash for about 30 - 40 minutes until squash is cooked. The cook time on squash will depend on how big it is - my squash was roughly the size of my palm, so it took 35 minutes to caramelize. Check after 35 minutes, and roast in 3-5 minute increments afterwards to make sure it's tender.
And hey, if you're in a hurry, slice the tops off, and make several slits on the rind, and pop the squash in the microwave on high for 10 - 12 minutes.
Then, remove the squash and set it aside to cool down (roughly 5 minutes). Be careful while you handle the squash, it will be quite hot.
Optional: If using squash seeds, roast the seeds while the squash cools down
Turn down the oven to 350. Remove excess pulp from the seeds and add the them to the pan with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Toast for roughly 20 minutes (you'll know when it's done when you hear it pop). Turn off the oven and wait two minutes to take it out - set aside as garnish (zero waste!)
Prepare the soup and add flavors
Hey, I hear you. "What can I add to bland butternut squash soup? How can I spruce up butternut squash?" - I get these questions all the time. We'll take care of that here.
While the squash is cooling, heat vegetable oil in a pan on medium flame. Add minced garlic and ginger, and cook until it's fragrant. Then add butternut squash along with Thai red curry paste, coconut milk, vegetable broth, salt and pepper. Let it come to a boil.
Blend the soup to make it smoother or use a masher for a more "chunky" soup
The great thing about roasting or steaming squash first is that the pulp becomes quite tender. So, if you don't have a blender, don't despair. Just use a wooden spatula or a masher and mash the soup to the best extent possible. You'll end up with a chunkier version, but it's still super delicious.
If you have a blender or an immersion blender, use that to puree the soup. If you're using a blender, wait until the soup is cool enough (typically around 5 minutes). Only fill the blender halfway full, open the steam vent, hold a towel over it to absorb the steam, and puree it. Once pureed, pour it back into the pot, heat it up, before serving.
Garnish and serve a hearty bowl of delicious, roasted butternut squash soup
I tend to use the squash seeds as garnish on my soup - but make sure you garnish right before you eat. Otherwise, it can get very chaff-like. Other garnishes include any fresh herbs, a dash of full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream as well as scallions for a crunch.
👩🏽🍳 FAQs and Tips
I typically add roasted squash seeds, scallions and basil to my soup to bring out the fresh, herby flavors and finish with a squeeze of lime. Other alternatives you can consider include chives, toasted peanuts, or a dollop of vegan sour cream also works!
Since this is a curried butternut squash soup, I try to pair it with winter vegetable salads. For instance, this roasted Brussels Sprouts salad with a vegan Caesar dressing or my favorite kale salad, inspired by a former favorite restaurant in Seattle.
Yes, you can. I think the oven or microwave typically works quite well, but if you want to use your Instant Pot - pour 1 cup of water, place a trivet inside the Instant Pot. Remove stems, and quarter your butternut squash, and remove the seeds before placing them on the trivets. Lock the lid, seat the venting knob, and cook on high pressure for about 8 to 10 minutes. Quick release the steam and you're good to go.
If you enjoyed this curried butternut squash soup recipe, don't forget to check out some of my other Fall favorite recipes as well:
Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 butternut squash, medium sized (around 3 lbs)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste, adjust to taste - I use Thai Kitchen brand which is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan!
- 1 can coconut milk , 14.5 oz, you can use light or regular versions
- ¼ cup vegetable broth, you can substitute with water in a pinch
- 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon basil or fresh herbs, chopped
- 5 scallions, chopped (for the crunch!)
- 1 teaspoon lime juice, drizzle on top for acid
- 1 teaspoon coconut milk or cream, drizzle on top for creaminess
Roast the butternut squash
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Put a damp towel underneath the butternut squash to hold it in place and slice off the stem end. Now, cut down vertically in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds until the flesh is clean (but don't discard them!)
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Drizzle olive oil on the fleshy side of the butternut squash - then add salt and pepper evenly to the surface. Place the flesh side down on the sheet pan and roast for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool down (roughly 5 minutes) - handle carefully, it'll be super hotNote: Cook time for squash will vary mainly based on the size. You want the flesh to be tender when you're done. Roast a few extra minutes if it's not soft and tender.
- This is an optional step, but makes for a great garnish. Clean excess pulp from the squash seeds. Turn down the oven to 350 - add them to the baking sheet with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Toast for roughly 20 minutes (you'll know when it's done when you hear it pop). Turn off the oven and wait two minutes to take it out - set aside as garnish (zero waste!)
Prepare the Soup
- While the squash cools, heat vegetable oil in a Dutch Oven or pot that is large enough to hold the squash on medium flame. Add minced garlic and ginger paste and cook until it's fragrant (roughly 30 seconds).
- If you are using a blender: Scoop out the flesh of the squash into this pot, along with coconut milk, red curry paste, broth, salt, and pepper. Bring this to a boil. Let it cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a blender, filling no more than half the blender. Remove the steam vent for the blender, cover with a towel and hold it in place as you blend. Depending on the size of your blender, you might need to do this in batches. Alternative: Once the flesh of the squash is cooled down, you can add it straight to the blender, along with the coconut milk, red curry paste and broth. First blend it, then transfer to a pot and bring to a boil to finish the soup. If using an immersion blender: once the soup is boiling, turn off the stove and puree it in the Dutch Oven itself. If you don't have a blender: Once the squash has cooled down, add it to a Dutch oven, along with red curry paste, broth, salt and pepper. Bring this to a boil. Then, use the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to mash the squash into the soup. This will be a chunkier soup, but still just as delicious!
- Garnish with the toasted squash seeds, a squeeze of lime and some basil or coconut cream (optional) to serve. You can also use toasted peanuts, chives, and vegan sour cream.
- If the skin of the butternut squash browns during roasting, that's totally fine - if anything, it adds more flavor - so don't shy away from it. Likewise, squash seeds are delicious and yet thrown away often - try it out and let me know how it goes!
- Red curry paste might sometimes contain shrimp, so please make sure to check that the brand you buy is vegan!
- Coconut cream tends to leave the soup too much like a puree - so I prefer to use coconut milk. Light coconut milk also is also slightly healthier
- If you're using a regular blender, it is absolutely vital to do two things - first, you need to cool the soup so it's not boiling (about 5 to 7 minutes does the trick) and then you need to make sure you don't fill it more than halfway through. This is because hot liquids are thinner than colder liquids, so they might vortex higher as your blender spins. This is what leads to blender explosions with half the soup on your ceiling. So, make sure to open the steam vent at the very least (or the full blender lid) and use a towel and your hand to hold the blender (this way even if there's steam, the towel will absorb it).
Note: This post was originally published on January 26, 2020. It was updated and republished on 20 September, 2020 with additional information and tips.