This roasted kabocha squash soup combines the rich and earthy flavors of kabocha squash with the fresh, vibrant, and exotic taste of coconut milk, ginger, and lime.
This recipe is inspired by Southeast Asian flavors, and we think you’ll love it because it’s easy to make, healthy, creamy, and bursting with cozy, tangy, and warm flavors.
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Kabocha squash, pronounced Kab-BOH-Chah, sometimes called Japanese pumpkin, is a less-known variety of winter squash excellent for roasting and making soups.
Kabocha has a flavor that can be described as mildly sweet, nutty, earthy, and slightly savory.
It’s reminiscent of sweet potatoes and chestnuts. As it cooks, it develops a beautifully creamy texture and rich flavor, making it perfect for soups and creamy dishes like our kabocha squash pasta.
Plus, it’s rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, providing a wealth of health-boosting properties, from eye and skin to heart and cell health.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
Kabocha squash is sometimes called chestnut pumpkin or Japanese squash.
It has orange flesh and green skin. You can substitute other winter squashes such as pumpkin, butternut squash, delicata squash, and acorn squash.
You can also use sweet potatoes instead of kabocha.
Olive oil or extra virgin olive oil is used to roast the squash in the oven and to make the flavor base with onion, ginger, and garlic.
Substitute avocado oil for olive oil.
Garlic, Onion, and Ginger
Onion, ginger, and garlic are three essential ingredients we use for the flavor base of this kabocha squash soup. They add flavor, sweetness, freshness, and aroma.
We think this soup is excellent with a touch of ground cumin. It adds freshness and goes well with the squash, lime, ginger, and coconut milk.
We also add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a mild spiciness. Optionally, you can add half a teaspoon of turmeric.
The creaminess of the squash and coconut milk make this soup velvety smooth and irresistible.
Also, the mild coconut flavor is a perfect flavor match with the mild sweetness of the kabocha.
We blend the soup with the help of vegetable broth. Add more or less depending on how thick or thin you want your soup to be.
Stir in a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before serving the soup. It adds a beautiful touch of acidity that balances the warmth and sweetness of the soup.
Salt and pepper
Sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and freshly squeezed lime juice. Please don’t forget the lime juice; you’ll love it!
How to make kabocha squash soup
Roast the kabocha squash
Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C.
Cut the kabocha squash in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, then lay it flat on a cutting board with the cut side down.
With a sharp knife, cut the peel away, trying not to cut out too much of the flesh.
Chop the squash into large chunks of the same size, then add it to the baking sheet.
Toss with olive oil, salt, and black pepper, arrange on a single layer, and bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender.
Make the flavor base
While the kabocha roasts, make the flavor base.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add chopped onion and fry it gently for 5 minutes. Add grated ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and cumin and fry for 1 more minute.
Blend the soup
Add roasted kabocha squash, coconut milk, and vegetable broth to the same pot.
Blend with an immersion or standing blender until the soup is creamy. Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium-low heat for a few minutes.
Finally, taste and adjust for salt and pepper. When happy with flavor, texture, and consistency, turn the heat off and stir in the apple cider vinegar.
Serve with a squeeze of lime juice on top and, optionally, some fresh cilantro.
Appetizer or light main dish
Kabocha squash soup is an excellent guest-friendly, naturally vegan appetizer or light main dish.
Take your pick from these favorite toppings and sides and upgrade the soup to a restaurant-worthy meal:
- Homemade croutons: a fuss-free recipe ready in just 15 minutes
- Air fryer croutons: made with minimal effort in an air fryer
- Roasted chickpeas: a fun and crispy topping for soups and salads
- Air fryer chickpeas: the crispiest chickpeas you’ll ever have
- Crostini: a perfect side for soups to sop of leftovers
- Focaccia bread with rosemary: Our no-knead recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser
Pair it with pasta, a big salad, or your choice of protein:
Italian Kabocha Squash Soup
Like most pumpkin varieties, Kabocha squash is delicious with Italian herbs such as rosemary and sage.
And so, if you are not into coconut milk and ginger, try this variation packed with Italian flavors.
To make it, add the peeled and chopped kabocha to a baking tray with a sprig of rosemary (only the needles, not the wooden part), a few leaves of sage, two crushed garlic cloves, and onion chopped into four pieces.
Season with olive oil, salt, and black pepper, toss, arrange on a single layer, and bake in a preheated oven at 400°F or 200°C for 30 minutes.
Transfer veggies to a large pot, add 3 cups of vegetable broth, and blend until smooth.
Simmer for 5 minutes, taste and adjust for salt, and serve with homemade croutons, pistachios, or pumpkin seeds.
Roasted butternut squash soup
Couldn’t find kabocha at the supermarket? You can use butternut squash instead. Check out our roasted butternut squash recipe.
Sweet potato soup
Although technically not part of the squash and pumpkin family, sweet potatoes have a similar taste, texture, and consistency to kabocha squash.
Check out our roasted sweet potato soup recipe.
You can substitute kabocha squash for butternut squash to make soup, pasta sauces, and roasted recipes.
Kabocha squash skin is edible, and we love it, especially when the kabocha is roasted in the oven. The skin becomes tender and flavorful, and we recommend trying it roasted.
However, we recommend removing the skin if you want a creamy and velvety soup with a bright orange color.
Kabocha squash is similar to butternut squash but is less sweet; it has a creamier texture and a nuttier flavor, between chestnut and sweet potato.
We would describe its flavor among four dimensions: sweet, nutty, earthy, and slightly savory (umami). Its creamy texture makes it perfect for soup, sauces, and roasting.
Make ahead: This roasted kabocha squash soup is an excellent recipe to make ahead. You can roast the squash beforehand and store it in the fridge for several days. Or you can make the soup and keep it in the refrigerator or freeze it.
Refrigerator: Let the soup cool down at room temperature, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat your portion in the microwave or a saucepan with a dash of water.
Freezer: Let the soup cool down completely, then transfer it to a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 3 months. My tip is to freeze it in individual portion sizes.
Thaw: Defrost it in the microwave with the thawing function or the refrigerator over a few hours.
More soup recipes
Vegetable soups are an easy way to increase your veggie intake. Here are some of our favorite veggie-packed soups:
- Cauliflower soup with a cheesy flavor and irresistible texture.
- Eggplant soup takes only 30 minutes and is packed with eggplant and tomatoes.
- Butternut squash soup is an earthy, fulfilling, and nutritious dish for the whole family.
- Zucchini soup – a fresh green summer soup that pairs perfectly with croutons.
- Sweet potato soup with creamy, earthy, and sweet flavor notes.
- Broccoli soup – the perfect way to use broccoli leftovers.
- Lentil soup with lentils, kale, and authentic Italian flavor.
- Tuscan bean soup is packed with protein and fiber, a perfect bowl of comfort food.
More winter squash recipes
If you’re a fan of winter squash, take a peek at our healthy and easy plant-based favorites:
- Roasted kabocha squash – ready in 25 minutes and no peeling required.
- Butternut squash ravioli with homemade pasta dough and a velvety ricotta filling.
- Creamy butternut squash risotto – try this Italian recipe for a cheesy and creamy risotto.
- Pasta with kabocha squash with an indulgent and Sunday-dinner-friendly pasta sauce.
For many more dinner ideas, check out our mains category page.
Kabocha Squash Soup
- Immersion blender or standing blender
- 1 medium-sized kabocha squash about 3 pounds/1.4 kg with the skin, or 2 pounds/900 grams peeled and seeded
- 3 tablespoons olive oil half for roasting the squash and half for cooking the onion
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon cumin or more to taste
- 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 2 twists black pepper
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 squeezed lime and fresh cilantro (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C.Cut the kabocha squash in half, scoop out the seeds, then lay it flat on a cutting board with the cut side down.Remove the peel with a shark knife.
- Chop the squash into large chunks and add it to a baking sheet.Toss with 1½ tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 twists black pepper.Arrange it on a single layer, and bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pot. Add 1 medium onion (chopped) and fry it gently for 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves garlic (grated), 1 teaspoon ginger (grated), 1 pinch red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon cumin and fry for 1 more minute.
- Add roasted kabocha squash, 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk, and 2 cups vegetable broth to the same pot.Blend with an immersion or standing blender until creamy.Let it simmer for a few minutes; add 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, then taste and adjust for salt and black pepper.
- Serve with a squeeze of lime and optionally fresh cilantro.
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