This Thai-spiced butternut squash soup is one of my go-to dishes during the winter and fall months. It is very easy to make and doesn’t use a lot of ingredients. I’ll make a batch of this and have it for lunch and dinner for the next few days.
What makes this butternut squash soup different from others is that the soup uses a lot of Asian herbs and spices for flavoring. I use a lot of garlic, ginger, lemongrass, Thai chili, and coconut milk. The natural sweetness of the butternut squash complements these herbs and spices very well.
To make the soup into a fuller meal, add chickpeas or pan-fried tofu for protein. If you are not vegan, add some shredded chicken or shrimp. Often times, I even add a small handful of cooked rice to the soup.
COOKING NOTES FOR THAI-SPICED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
CUTTING BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Hacking into a butternut squash can be tricky, especially if you are trying to seesaw your way through the squash with a dull knife. Using a good sharp knife makes a huge difference. First, slice off a bit of the top and bottom. If the squash is short, stand the squash upright, and slice the squash down the middle.
If you are working with a butternut squash that has a long (possibly crooked) neck, I recommend laying the butternut squash on its side and cutting off the neck so that the squash is easier to chop.
WATCH HOW TO CUT BUTTERNUT SQUASH
USING LEFTOVER ROASTED SQUASH
If you happen to have a lot of roasted butternut squash leftover from meal prep, use it for this soup! You’ll need about 3 cups of roasted squash for the recipe. Leave the cooking time the same so that the lemongrass can release more flavor.
LOOKING FOR MORE BUTTERNUT SQUASH RECIPES?
- Vegan Butternut Squash Curry
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Butternut Squash Mashed Potatoes
- Vegan Farro Risotto with Walnut Cream and Roasted Butternut Squash (from Naturally Ella)
Thai-Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 to 3 stalks lemongrass, see note 1
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, see note 2
- 1 small onion (about 130g), diced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1- inch piece of ginger, sliced
- 2 Thai chilis, sliced (see note 3)
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 5 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), see note 4
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, optional
- 1/2 cup coconut milk, see note 5
- lime juice
- chopped scallions
- toasted coconut
- toasted pumpkin seeds
- Prepare the lemongrass stalks by peeling off 1 or 2 layers of the dry outer leaves. Discard the very thin, dry parts of the stalk that look like twigs. Slice the lemongrass stalks into 4-inch sections. Take a kitchen mallet and bash the bottom sections of the lemongrass to release more flavor. Set the lemongrass aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the Thai chili and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook for another minute.
- Add the cubed butternut squash, vegetable broth, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and coriander, if using. Lay the pieces of lemongrass over the butternut squash, but make sure they are submerged under the broth. Placing the lemongrass here will make them easier to remove when the soup is done cooking.
- Cover the pot and bring the broth to boil. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 10 to 13 minutes, covered. The soup is ready when the squash is fork tender.
- Uncover the pot and let the contents cool for 10 minutes.
- Use tongs to remove the lemongrass and discard. Add the coconut milk.
- Scoop the contents into a high-speed blender and blend in smaller batches until smooth. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender and blend the soup directly inside the pot.
- Serve the soup in bowls. Garnish with lime juice, chopped scallions, toasted coconut, and toasted pumpkin seeds, if you like.
- Use 2 stalks of lemongrass if they are nice and thick (the bottom of the stalk is about 3/4 to 1 inch wide); use 3 stalks if they are thinner.
- Olive oil, canola, or safflower oil works for this too.
- The soup won’t be too spicy when you add the two Thai chilis. Rather, you’ll feel a tiny bit of heat in the back of your throat as you eat the soup. Feel free to leave it out completely or add a few more to suit your taste.
- At the supermarket, pick a squash that is somewhere between 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds.
- My original recipe used 1 cup of soy milk instead of coconut milk. If you don’t like the flavor of coconut milk, add the soy milk instead. The soup will be slightly more runny but not by much.
Note: This post was originally published in October 2015. I simplified the recipe slightly and added more photos.