Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

By • October 2, 2013 • 37 Comments



Author Notes: A savory, spicy butternut squash soup you don't expect, but one you'll want to eat all season long. Kenzi Wilbur

Serves 6 to 8

  • Olive oil
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon white shiro miso
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or slightly more to taste
  • One 3-pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  1. First, make your miso stock. Put 4 cups of water into a saucepan and heat to a simmer. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of water together with the miso, and pour that into the saucepan. Bring to a simmer, but don't let it boil.
  2. Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of a large, heavy pot. When it's hot, add the onion and sweat it until it's translucent. Stir in the ginger, cumin, and cayenne, and toast spices for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Deglaze with a ladle-full of your miso stock.
  3. Add the cubed butternut squash and the salt, mixing everything to combine, and then pour in the rest of the miso stock. Simmer until the squash is completely tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat, and purée the soup in a food processor or with a hand blender, being careful of the hot liquid. At this point you can strain for a super-smooth soup, or you can leave it how it is -- up to you!
  5. Return the puréed soup back to the pot, and stir in the coconut milk. Taste, adjust for seasoning and spice.
  6. Serve warm, with bread on the side.
Jump to Comments (37)

Comments (37) Questions (3)

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6 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I made this last week, curious to compare it to Deborah Madison's quite similar soup. We found this much improved with a touch of lime juice added just before serving. It needs the acid to brighten it, given the sweetness of the squash and coconut milk. (I also did not add all of the coconut milk called for. I strongly recommend that the instructions be revised to suggest that coconut milk be added gradually, to taste.) ;o) P.S. I don't usually add miso until the very end, so as to maximize its nutritional benefits. I wanted to give the recipe a fair shot, so I followed the instructions as given. Next time, I'll make the soup with a stronger miso solution added while blending.

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6 months ago Windischgirl

Unfortunately, we found this soup disappointing--not a lot of flavor as it was. Now, I did use the flesh of a sugar pumpkin that I baked in the oven; don't know if a squash would have had a stronger taste. I added lime juice, basil, fish sauce, and sriracha to liven it up, and even then, no one really cared for it. :-(

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6 months ago jcrowley

If you don't want to peel the squash, you can cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast it in a medium to hot oven (I usually do 400 degrees, but 350 or 425 would work) until soft. Start the squash, have a drink, then start the rest of the soup. When the squash is soft, scoop out the flesh and stir it into the soup. Easy, and roasting actually brings out the sweetness.

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6 months ago maggie

like languagegirl (below), I found the coconut totally overpowering. I was very excited by the recipe, and right up until adding the coconut milk it smelt and tasted fantastic. the coconut addition was a disaster - made the soup heavy, cloying and, to my palette, inedible. after contemplating what I could do to rescue it for some time I decided not to waste any more ingredients and tipped the whole lot on the compost heap. my first major food failure in years!

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7 months ago mpalmer

This was delicious--capital D delicious. I used light coconut milk and it still turned out perfectly.

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7 months ago diver114

This was delicious!!! Added lump crab meat. Yum.

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8 months ago languagegirl

I thought the coconut flavor was a little overpowering. I tried it before adding the coconut milk and it was delicious. I did only make it with half a large squash so maybe that was the problem. However, husband approved wholeheartedly!

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8 months ago ashley's brain

Oh my. this was (is) fantastic! It's most definitely a recipe where the sum of the whole is greater than the parts. I used one small butternut squash and one acorn squash; it was great. (I suspect that it be great with a variety of different squashes or combinations.)
I obsessed a little about the chopping/dicing, but since you end up puree-ing it, the only issue is length of cooking time. (So chop big if you're patient, dice finely if you want things to go faster.)
Marvelous! and simple! = Winner!

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10 months ago Randi shaw

Do you think this soup will freeze well? I want to make it early and then serve it on thanksgiving

Me

10 months ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

I know it does! I actually just defrosted a batch of this the other day for lunch. :)

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10 months ago Randi shaw

did you add the coconut milk after you defrosted it?

Me

10 months ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

I've done both (added before and after), and both worked fine.

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9 months ago Randi shaw

This might be a silly question: sweetened or unsweetened coconut milk?

Me

9 months ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Unsweetened!

Stringio

10 months ago NatWhit

I was thinking about making this soup, when I saw that Trader Joe's was selling pre-made miso- ginger stock, and that completely sealed the deal. The soup was delightful, but if anyone else is lazy and thinking of using the TJ's stock, I recommend still adding the ginger in the recipe. I don't know how gingery the soup is as written, but subbing the TJ's broth for the water, miso, and ginger, didn't give it as strong a ginger flavor as I would have liked.

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10 months ago lpcooks

This was great, though much better the next day after the flavors had time to meld. I was too lazy to cube the butternut squash so I just cut it in half, roasted it for about an hour and then scooped out the flesh and proceeded with the rest of the recipe.

Stringio

10 months ago Johnpatrick Marr

Another vote for brilliant soup! The miso is a great vegetarian way to add savoriness to an otherwise sweet soup that I hadn't considered. Used 2t of Penzey's hot curry powder.

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10 months ago Michelle de Lima

This sounds great and I can't wait to make it. Regarding Raviel's comment, heating miso above 117 degrees F does kill the probiotics that make it so good for your gut, but doesn't affect the flavor. You could add it at the end but might sacrifice some depth of flavor.

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10 months ago Gina

Wow! This soup defies my dislike of squash, cumin and coconut milk. It was so tasty and was taunting me to eat more and more. Thank you for the brilliant, magic, tasty soup recipe!

Me

10 months ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Yay! Your comment makes me happy.

Stringio

10 months ago Mark Morrell

Is the yellow onion chopped, diced or minced?

Me

10 months ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Thanks for noticing that! I diced mine, but chopping would work as well -- and I've updated the recipe.

Imgp0485

11 months ago abunnybabe

I made this last night, it was friggin' fantastic! I had a giant squash. I did add more miso and more liquid(I used stock)and whole can of coconut milk. I always increase my soup recipes so we have leftovers for lunches and another dinner. Made homemade naan too. Great dinner! PS: I added a tbsp of coriander and a tbsp of cinnamon to the spices and upped the cayenne. I'm going to get a bowlful now.

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11 months ago insecureepicure

I made this soup last night. I think it needs more miso and water at the beginning; it was too thick. Other than that, it was delicious.

Me

11 months ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Thanks for the comments! Was your squash exceptionally large? I've made this a lot now and it's always a great consistency. But like most puréed soups, it takes well to thinning it however you like: with more coconut milk, water, or regular milk, too.

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11 months ago OurSeason

Just made this - my first squash soup of the season. It was so delicious and unexpected - thank you!

Me

11 months ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

So happy to hear this!

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11 months ago Raviel

doesn't heating the miso kill whatever it is that makes miso good?

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11 months ago PaulaE

No, I've used miso in cooked dishes often. Delicious.

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10 months ago Zma

Heating miso is okay but you shouldn't boil it. It destroys the healthful qualities of miso but I think the flavor will stick around regardless.

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11 months ago PaulaE

I have no butternut squash at the moment, but I do have 2 fat acorn squash. Peeling it would be nuts, so I think I'll roast it and scoop out the flesh, then add it to the miso broth. I will report back on how it turned out. This combination of flavors is just weird enough to be intriguing.

Me

11 months ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Please do! My suspicion is that it will be delicious.