This vegan coconut curry winter squash soup is richly flavored with alliums, ginger, and Thai chilies, along with Thai curry paste, fresh herbs, and toasted winter squash seeds. It’s simple too – it cooks up in one pot and comes together in about 30 minutes!
Most of my favorite cold weather soups (like this garlic soup) start with roasted vegetables. I like the way roasting develops flavor and crisp, caramelized edges. But in this coconut curry winter squash soup, the cubed winter squash cooks by simmering in a flavorful mix of broth, alliums, chilies, and spices. This makes for a brighter, richer flavor, silkier texture, and one-pot ease.
My coconut curry winter squash soup is something of a weeknight coup, since it comes together in time for a Tuesday (or whichever) night dinner. There’s some prep work – the winter squash needs to be seeded and peeled, along with the usual chopping and mincing of the other ingredients.
Know Your Winter Squash
I tested this coconut curry soup with butternut and orange kabocha squash, and both were delicious. In my most recent newsletter, I discussed winter squash in depth – if you’re interested, you can read the newsletter here. I’m pretty selective when it comes to winter squash. Storage squash often have a mealy texture that I’m not a fan of in certain preparations. But there are also lots of hidden gems that few venture to cook with. For instance, Fairy Tale pumpkins have a deep orange interior and flavorful flesh.
Maybe you’d like to sign up for the newsletter? I send it out weekly (in theory, at least) and focus on seasonal ingredient and timely recipes.
Finally, a note on winter squash seeds. Even though I love pumpkin seeds and will literally eat them until my jaw hurts, I never thought to try the seeds of winter squash seeds. I finally did, and the thing is: they are even better than pumpkin seeds! They’re tender and not quite as woody, and toast up beautifully. Now you know.
This vegan coconut curry winter squash soup is richly flavored with alliums, ginger, and Thai chilies, along with Thai curry paste, fresh herbs, and toasted winter squash seeds. It's simple too – it cooks up in one pot and comes together in about 30 minutes!
I found a single Thai Bird's Eye chili lent some heat while still being mild enough that my youngest daughter would eat it. If you like things spicy or are feeding adventurous folks, go with 2 chilies. As always, use gloves when working with spicy chiles.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, or a neutral vegetable oil
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2- inch section of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 - 2 Thai Birds Eye chilies or chilies of choice, seeded and minced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and minced
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 medium winter squash (such as butternut or kabocha) peeled, seeded (reserve seeds), and cut into a 3/4-inch cube (about 6 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk, divided (reserve 1/2 cup for serving)
- 1/4 cup minced cilantro
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- 4 green onions, minced
- Reserved coconut milk for drizzling
- Reserved winter squash seeds, toasted
- Oil for toasting seeds
- Pinch sea salt
- Thinly sliced chilies, for garnish
- 2 limes, sliced into wedges
Set a 4-quart Dutch oven or other sturdy soup pot oven medium heat. Add the oil, and then the shallots, ginger, chilies, and sea salt. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Fold in garlic and cook 1 minutes more. Stir in red curry paste, winter squash, and sea salt; cook 3 minutes or until ingredients to start to sizzle. Stir in a cup of broth, scrape up any brown bits, and then add remaining broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer. Cook until squash are tender, about 20 minutes.
With an immersion blender or countertop blender, blend soup until completely smooth. Turn heat to low – just enough to keep soup warm – and stir in all but 1/2 cup coconut milk. Taste and add sea salt as needed.
Meanwhile, rinse and pat reserved winter squash seeds dry. Set a small skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of oil and sauté seeds, stirring often, just until they start to pop. Toss with sea salt and set aside to cool.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls, drizzle with reserved coconut milk, and garnish with cilantro, basil, green onions, toasted squash seeds, and sliced chilies. Finish with a squeeze of lime.