Although I spend most of the winter missing summer vegetables, there is one winter squash that excites me every time I see it in the grocery store — the kabocha squash. This is perhaps the most underrated squash because it’s not in nearly as many recipes as butternut squash, yet it is so much better.
If you’ve never tried a kabocha squash before, its flavor is a somewhere between a sweet potato and a butternut squash, but its texture is velvety and creamy. And as an added bonus, you can eat the peel (if organic) because it’s very thin and softens when cooked.
There are many ways to cook a kabocha squash, but my favorite is roasting. Just cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and place the halves cut-side down in a baking dish containing half an inch of water. Roast the squash about 30 minutes at 425°F, or until you can puncture the flesh easily with a fork.
Next just pop off the stem, slice the squash, and eat it as is; cube it and add it to a stir-fry or stew; or puree it with coconut milk to make a rich, creamy soup. I love this squash so much, I have a history of pulling a wedge out of the fridge and eating it cold for breakfast!
It’s hard to beat a simple soup, especially on these chilly winter days. Kabocha squash is so good on its own that it doesn’t need much to turn it into a delicious soup — in this case, just onion, garlic, turmeric, vegetable broth, and coconut milk. I pureed the soup, reserving half of the squash for cubing and adding later with a handful of pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of turmeric.
After the squash is roasted (which can be done a day ahead if needed), this soup comes together rather quickly. I peeled the squash half that I pureed just so my soup would be pretty for the photos, but normally I don’t go to the trouble. Just know that if you puree the peel, your soup will have green flecks in it.
Kabocha Squash Soup
- 1 Kabocha squash, about 2 lbs
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 t. ground turmeric, plus more for garnish if desired
- 2 cups vegetable broth (2 cups water + 1 veg. bullion cube)
- 1 cup coconut milk (canned)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Pumpkin seeds for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash squash, cut it in half, remove seeds, and place it cut-sides down in a baking dish containing half an inch of water. Roast about 30 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork.
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the onion and a splash of water or broth and cook about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and turmeric and cook another two minutes. Now add the vegetable broth and coconut milk, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the squash.
- Peel (if you want the puree to be totally orange) and cube one half of the roasted squash. Add it to the soup pot, then puree the pot contents with an immersion blender (or carefully transfer to a standing blender). Taste for seasoning. Cube the other half of the squash and add it to the puree or wait until serving to add a few cubes to each soup bowl.
- When serving, sprinkle each bowl of soup with a few pumpkin seeds, cracked black pepper, and a sprinkle of turmeric, if desired.
This kabocha squash soup is a great anti-inflammatory soup because it contains turmeric, which is on Dr. Greger’s list of the top 4 anti-inflammatory spices. It also contains anti-cancer onions and garlic and is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, in addition to the long list of minerals in pumpkin seeds (phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, and iron).
In conclusion, you should make this soup ASAP.
At least try a kabocha squash — you’ll fall in love!