Thai Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Updated 20th Oct 2021
Light and creamy, vegan friendly butternut squash soup recipe. This simple butternut soup is seasoned with Thai red curry paste and swirled with coconut milk. Its just the right amount spice for a warming and flavour full twist on a classic butternut squash soup. I totally love sharing super simple recipes like this! This soup has a regular weekly feature in our home. I do many variations of it. If I can’t get my hands on butternut squash I sub in pumpkin or sweet potatoes or I will often do a combination of them.
Why you will love this creamy Thai butternut squash soup:
- Its got loads of FLAVOUR: It has a bright flavour, a wonderful sweetness from the squash and wonderful tones of warm spice from the curry paste. The coconut milk makes it wonderfully creamy and rich. The lime and cilantro brighten and heighten the flavours and the spiced nuts give it crunch and extra textures to this soup Totally balanced and totally delicious.
- Freezer friendly: great for making ahead and even making a double batch and freezing some for busy weeknights.
- Vegan and gluten-free: Easily adjustable to be suitable for all diets
- QUICK & EASY: so easy we always have a slot in the midweek that could fit this soup in.
Do I have to roast the squash for this Thai Curried Butternut squash soup?
I usually roast my veggies when I’m making a creamy soup like this. It does make a difference and elevates and intensifies the flavours of it. It adds a wonderful deeper sweetness to whatever you are roasting and also adds a nice nuttiness. If you don’t want to bother with the roasting that is ok too. You can cut up the butternut squash just the same and just add into the pot after sautéing the onions and allow the squash to simmer for 20-25 minutes along with the other ingredients in the broth until very soft and tender. You may need to add a little more broth because some will evaporate during the cooking/simmering process so just keep that in mind. You can adjust that as needed. The same goes if you are using frozen squash if you cant get your hands on fresh.
Thai Spiced Butternut Squash soup Ingredients:
Let’s talk ingredients. When I first made this recipe I was living in Trinidad and I often had to substitute for ingredients that were hard to find or not always available, so I completely understand the need for substitution options and there are a few in this recipe that I will outline below. A lot of the ingredients that are flavour boosters in this recipe are optional. They enhance the flavour of the soup but not essential in making a delicious Thai flavoured squash soup. Here is the list:
- Olive oil & Butter: I use olive oil to roast the squash and butter for the soup. You can do olive oil for both or coconut oil or even a vegan butter.
- Butternut Squash: Any variety works and you can even make this with pumpkin or with sweet potato too. If you are using frozen squash I would not recommend roasting it but just add it to the pot just as it is, frozen. Just be sure to simmer a few extra minutes.
- Onion & Garlic: Feel free to use any onion you like, yellow or red or even a couple of shallots will work too. You can roast the garlic with butternut squash for a nutty caramelized flavour or add it chopped in to the soup as written in recipe
- Ginger: Fresh always gives you the best flavour but ground ginger can work in a pinch too
- Red chili: this is for a tad extra heat and smokiness. It is optional and if you don’t have fresh then use red pepper flakes or chili flakes are a good swap.
- Thai Curry Paste: Start with 1 tbsp of red curry paste and add more as needed. Some brands of red curry paste can be spicier than others, so it’s safe to start with less and add more to your taste. Store bought works perfectly in this recipes but if you have a homemade Thai curry paste recipe up your sleeve then most definitely use that instead.
- Broth/Stock: I use either a veggie one or a chicken one. Either will work.
- Fish sauce, Tamari & Maple syrup: These are the flavour boosters I mentioned above. They are optional but add a nice flavour to the soup. The maple syrup is a nice way to sweeten it up - although this soup already has a natural sweetness, the syrup brings it our further. You can substitute with coconut sugar, brown sugar or honey too.
- Coconut Milk: Coconut milk is a key ingredient in many Thai dishes that adds richness and creamy texture to a soup. If you’re not a huge fan of coconut flavour, you don’t taste it much in this soup, but you can always leave it out if needed. I use a full fat one not a light one fore extra creaminess.
- Lime Leaves and Lemon grass: Fresh is always best but often times dried may be your only option and that is fine too. These are optional too but I absolutely think they make a difference when added. Lime zest and lemon zest are good if you don’t have the leaves and lemon grass.
The roasted spiced nuts are a great addition – they are the perfect accompaniment to Thai flavours. They are also completely optional to make and include. They can either be roasted as directed below or you can pan toast them on the stove top - whatever is easier for you. They add the perfect crunch with a subtle bit of heat and warm spice. And if you have any extra they are great to snack on! Plain roasted peanuts also work too and are a delicious way to garnish the soup.
If you like this recipe you will love these:
For the Soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (for roasting the squash - omit if not roasting)
- One medium sized butternut squash approx 2½ lbs, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes (about 4 cups). You can also use pumpkin or sweet potatoes too)
- 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil or coconut oil)
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped*
- 2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
- 1 small red chili, seeds removed, finely chopped (optional for extra heat)
- 2-3 tablespoons Thai curry paste red or yellow. (I used red in this one)
- 3-4 cups broth of choice (I use vegetable broth or chicken broth)*
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce or tamari (optional)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or sugar (optional)
- 1 cup coconut milk and a little extra to drizzle over top when serving
- 2 lime leaves or 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 large stalk of fresh lemongrass, smashed and sliced in half lengthwise, (dried lemongrass is a good option if fresh is not available)
- Salt and pepper to taste
For Serving (optional):
- Handful fresh mint or cilantro leaves, chopped
- Sliced limes
- Roasted chopped peanuts ( or spiced ones -recipe below)
- Scallions, chopped
- Chili flakes
* for a little extra spice you can add a pinch of ground coriander, curry powder, cumin and chili flakes as well
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Toss the squash in a large baking sheet with 2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Roast for approx 15-20 minutes or until tender and starting to get golden on the edges, tossing once half way through. Remove when done and set aside. (Check post above for making it the non-roasted version)
- In a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, heat butter or oil over medium heat and add the onions, ginger and sauté until soft and translucent 4-6 min
- Add the Thai curry paste and garlic and chili if using, and sauté for another minute and then add the roasted squash.
- Stir well to combine and then add the broth, lime leaves, fish sauce, maple syrup and lemongrass if using and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes for all the flavours to combine.
- Remove the pot from heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the lime leaves and lemon grass and discard them. Then blend or puree soup carefully in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender to blend it until smooth and creamy.
- Put the pot back on the burner and stir in the coconut milk and heat though. Thin the soup out by adding a little extra broth or water if needed. Season well with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve with a squeeze of lime and with some crunchy spiced peanuts and chopped cilantro or chadon beni
- Broth: 3-4 cups is usually what I use. 3 cups if you want a thick soup and 4 cups for a thinner soup. If you aren’t too sure start with 3 and you could always thin out the soup layer as needed.
- Garlic: you can also peel your garlic and leave it whole and roast along with the squash. Optional but adds more flavour to this soup.
- Make Ahead: This soup can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that the soup will thicken a little as it cools, so you’ll need to add a bit of water or broth to thin it back to the right consistency upon reheating.
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. (It may thicken up a bit while in the freezer; if so, just thin it out with a bit of water or broth while reheating.)
Spicy roasted peanuts
- 1 cup raw shelled peanuts (if you use dry roasted then reduce roasting time)
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 dry kefir lime leaf crumbled or ground (optional)
- 1 tsp of Chile powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp of chopped cilantro or chadon Beni
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Combine nuts, oil, ground kefir lime leaf, chili powder and salt in a large bowl and mix until well coated.
- Transfer to baking sheet and roast until the peanuts are golden brown and everything is fragrant, about 20 to 30 minutes. If using already roasted peanuts just roast for 7-10 minutes to get them nice and golden and crunchy.
- Remove from the oven and toss them with the lime and cilantro and set aside to cool and then serve.
Adapted from The Food Network