Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup

Gluten-FreePaleoWinter Squash

Roasted kabocha squash soup, thick and creamy, with ginger, cumin, and coriander. Perfect for fall!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Have you come across “Kabocha” squash in the market? It’s a Japanese variety of winter squash, one that is heavy and thick-fleshed, similar in that way to butternut squash, with a deep, rich flavor.

Typically the outer skin is forest green, though some varieties are sunset orange and red as well.

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Kabocha Squash

My friend Kori gave me a kabocha squash this week, a big beautiful red one she grew in her garden. I had seen several peeking under the mess of sprawling vines and squash leaves when I visited her a while back.

They were already red, but not quite ready to pick. Apparently you have to wait for the vine to almost completely die back before picking the squash.

Kabocha Squash

The thing about kabocha is that there is no better squash with which to make soup. Unlike many other varieties of winter squash such as pumpkins, kabocha squashes are almost all flesh.

The seeds can be scraped out and roasted like any pumpkin seed. But mostly what you get with a kabocha is thick, solid winter squash, which cooks up into the most flavorful soup.

I wanted to make sure we did well by this squash, and I think indeed we have!

This soup is thick and creamy without any cream, none is necessary to achieve the texture.

It’s flavored with fresh ginger root, ground cumin, and coriander. A splash of lime juice when ready to serve helps balance the natural sweetness of the squash. We’ve garnished with fresh cilantro, but if cilantro isn’t your thing you could easily skip it.

Craving more squash soup recipes?

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Kabocha squash are hard! Take care when cutting and use a heavy knife. I find it helps to put the whole squash in the microwave first for a minute before cutting. That softens the outer skin just enough to make it easier for the knife to penetrate.

Ingredients

  • A half a large kabocha squash, seeded (about 3 to 4 pounds for the half)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped or sliced onions
  • 2 ribs of celery, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Garnish with lime juice and chopped fresh cilantro

Method

1 Roast the squash: Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a heavy chef's knife or cleaver (it helps if you have a rubber mallet as well) to cut the kabocha squash half into a few large pieces. (Kabocha squash is thick and meaty and can be a challenge to cut. So take care! Make sure the squash is stable on your cutting board before you start to cut it.)

Scoop out the seeds (you can toast them like pumpkin seeds!) and stringy insides. Place the squash pieces on a foil or silpat lined roasting pan. Rub olive oil over all sides, and sprinkle with salt.

Put the squash pieces skin side up on the pan. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until completely cooked through, soft, and caramelized at the edges. Remove from oven and let sit.

2 Sauté onions, celery, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander: Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a large (4 to 6 quart) thick-bottomed pan. Add the onions and celery. Lower the heat to medium and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, and coriander and cook 2 minutes more.

3 Add squash, stock, salt, pepper, then simmer: Once squash is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Place the roasted kabocha squash flesh into the pot with the onions and celery mixture. Add the stock, salt and pepper. Increase heat to high to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to low, partially cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes.

4 Purée the soup: Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender (or work in batches with a standing blender, only filling the blender bowl 1/3 of the way each time) to purée the soup.

Add more salt to taste. Sprinkle with lime juice and chopped cilantro to serve.

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Links:

Kabocha Soup from Just One Cookbook

Kabocha Squash Soup with Fennel and Ginger from Dolly and Oatmeal

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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92 Comments / Reviews

No ImageRoasted Kabocha Squash Soup

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Robin

    Can I make this soup ahead and freeze it?

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Monika

    Love the soup added a few red pepper flakes and a splash of cream at the end
    Yummy

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. * Name

    i brought this for tgiving. made it and tasted it and the ginger and pepper weren’t as bold as i’d like so I grated some more ginger and added just the liquid (actually a lot of it) and more pepper. the soup was terrific!

    your recipe has the advantages of not having sweetener like apples nor dairy nor extra rich coconut milk or oil – and so simple. it seems a trick to making a squash ginger soup is that squash since and ginger are delicious a recipe should simply bring out, not add much, and not interfere. and your recipe is perfect, the flavors come through without props.

    thanks.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Abbie

    I really enjoyed this! I made for my toddler to try too so I didn’t roast with any salt or add any additional salt. The salt would have just come from the low salt stock cube

    Lovely flavour but I do love cumin. I’m from the uk so don’t really work in cups or pounds. I chopped 2 medium onions. Got to step 3. I then tried weighing my already roasted chunks. Which only came to just over 200g or something. I had roasted another pumpkin/squash alongside the Kabocha so I used that (not sure on variety but it had a high water content), still only coming up to like 450g-500g in total for both . I imagine you were meant to weigh the Kabocha raw with seeds in etc so my methods of weighing might not have worked but 1lb is 450g. So I decided to then take away half my onion spice garlic mix and carried on with the recipe. I did 400ml stock due to having a high water content with the other squash. I just halved the rest of the recipe

    Didn’t try with the coriander (cilantro) or lime garnish so I will have to make this again to try but it was really lovely still! I do wonder what it would be like with the full amount of Kabocha and I don’t even know what I subbed it with which is a shame! My pumpkin picking patch didn’t give me the name of it. I will defiantly have to try again though. Thanks for the lovely recipe

    I have left this here in case it helps anyone else with easy tweaks

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Carrie

    If you are not a fan of cumin, I would either use half the amount or none at all. As measured it is a little over powering when combined with the coriander. But forme it’s good as is, maybe to make it a little hardier ad a few chopped potatoes .

    xxxxxyyyyy

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