Subtly Spiced Squash Soup

Those who’ve perused through the recipes in this blog are aware that I’m generally very heavy-handed with the garlic.  It’s yet another ingredient that the 42-day fall rejuvenation has required my toning down on.  That’s good news for those that aren’t so much into garlic – and this soup, while subtle in flavor, is nonetheless a warming and wonderful way to take advantage of the abundance of squash which characterizes this time of year.  Not into squash?  Check out the variations after the main recipe!

Yield: 4-6 large servings

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive or sunflower oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed (or curry powder for a different but equally pleasant soup)
  • 4 cups thinly sliced leek (1 large)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced, 1/4 cup or less
  • 6 cups peeled and chopped butternut, butterkin, red kuri or kabocha squash (something dark orange and sweet)
  • 4 cups water or unsalted vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or less, to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
  • toasted pumpkin seeds to serve (optional)

What you do:

  1. Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat.  When hot, add the oil.  Add the fennel seed and ground coriander and stir and fry 3-4 minutes or until the fennel seeds are browned and the spices smell roasted and fragant.
  2. Add the sliced leek and diced onion and stir and fry another 3-4 minutes, until they just begin to soften.  There may be a few darker bits if the stirring is lazy (like in my kitchen…), that’s okay.
  3. Add the squash, water, salt, to the pot and mix well.  Grind as much pepper as desired and mix again.  Bring the whole thing to a boil, cover and turn the heat to medium low.  Simmer (or low boil, this soup isn’t very fussy) for 20-30 minutes, until the squash and alliums are very soft.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in the fresh coriander if using, and then use an immersion blender to purée the soup.  Taste and adjust the spicing as desired.
  5. Serve, garnished with a tablespoon of roasted pumpkin seeds per serving if desired.


  • Omit the squash, replacing it instead with 4 cups of cauliflower chopped into small florets and 2 cups peeled and diced sweet potato or yam;
  • Omit the squash, replacing it instead with 4 cups of carrots chopped into large chunks and 2 cups of peeled and diced celeriac;
  • If you have an InstantPot, feel free to run the soup cycle for 7 minutes when you get to step 3 of the recipe.

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