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Spiced Butternut Squash Soup (Thai-Inspired)

Create this velvety, flavorful Thai-inspired spiced butternut squash soup with a kick of heat. Just 30 minutes with a few simple ingredients. 

I love to serve this vegetarian soup with Thai flavors as a starter or an appetizer served in espresso or mini cups.

spiced butternut squash soup with crouton and cilantro garnish in bowl.

My friend, Faygie Goodman, contributed this creamy soup to a potluck birthday lunch recently. We served it in mini cups and both the soup and the delivery method were a big hit.

The recipe called for Thai red curry paste but I used green curry paste instead as that’s what I had on hand. I also added a potato which acts to slightly thicken the soup and give it more body.

What you can expect

Try this delicious vegan, dairy-free Thai-style twist on butternut squash soup. With a wonderful creamy texture, a little bit of heat, and lots of flavor it’s delicious any time of year – an easy recipe that makes a lovely starter or appetizer served in mini cups or shot glasses.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

cubed butternut squash, onion, cilantro, coconut milk, curry paste, garlic, broth.
Ingredients: cubed butternut squash, onion, cilantro, coconut milk, curry paste, garlic, broth.

Butternut squash: When selecting a butternut squash, choose one that has a matte firm skin without any soft spots or blemishes. Or take the shortcut and buy it pre-peeled and cubed (I do).

Coconut milk: You can now buy coconut milk in almost any mainstream grocery store or in Asian markets. Just make sure you get coconut milk for cooking, not for desserts. There shouldn’t be any added sugar in it.

Curry paste: Use green or red curry paste. Red Thai curry paste is spicier and made from red chilies (and will give the soup a more vibrant orangey red color), while green curry paste is milder and made from green chilies.

Variations

Soup

  • Vary the spice level with the amount of curry paste or with added red chili flakes. You can also add a pinch of finely grated fresh ginger.
  • Omit the potato for a thinner soup.
  • Not a fan of butternut squash? Change up the flavors and make this soup with sweet potatoes instead. If it’s too thick, add a bit of broth or water.
  • If you’re feeling energetic or just want that extra authenticity, use our homemade 3 Minute Thai Green Curry Paste instead of a store-bought one.

Garnish

  • I love to use homemade multigrain croutons (I know, not exactly Thai-style… but very good!)
  • You can also try some fresh bean sprouts, green onions, chives, pea shoots, or toasted coconut flakes for some crunch.
  • Parsley, lime zest, or cilantro are good garnish too.

Step-by-step instructions

onion, squash and potato with curry paste in pot.
In a medium-to-large pot or Dutch oven, sauté onion for 3-4 minutes. Add squash, curry paste, salt and potato (if using). Sauté another few minutes.
broth added to veggies in pot.
Cover the vegetables with broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are soft.
spiced butternut squash soup with crouton and cilantro garnish in bowl.
Remove soup from heat and the coconut milk. Purée the squash mixture with an immersion blender, food processor or regular blender. Garnish with cilantro or fresh croutons.
a dozen espresso cups with spiced butternut squash soup on white tray carried by host.

Tip: How to cut butternut squash

Butternut squash is hard to cut. To make it easier, pierce it with a knife first before cutting, then microwave it for 4 minutes. This makes it much easier to peel and cut. Here’s a video on how to cut a squash by The Minimalist Baker.

Also see the shortcuts below (which I use a lot!)

What to serve with this Thai Butternut squash recipe

As a starter, it’s the perfect accompaniment to pad Thai, sweet chili Thai wings, grilled Vietnamese chicken and panko-crusted salmon.

You can also add shrimp, tofu or shredded chicken to the soup and serve it as a light main dish.

Recipe FAQs

What can I substitute for coconut milk?

While coconut milk is a key ingredient in this recipe, you can substitute it with half-and-half cream or almond milk if you’re not a fan. Keep in mind that the flavor and texture of the soup will be a little different.

Can I use light or low-fat coconut milk instead of regular?

The taste of light or low-fat coconut milk will be similar to regular coconut milk, but the soup will not be as creamy and rich tasting.

Can you eat butternut squash seeds?

Yes. Roasted butternut squash seeds make a nutritious snack. You wash, dry, season, and roast them the same way you roast pumpkin seeds.

Make ahead

Fridge: Leftover spicy Thai butternut squash soup can be stored in an airtight container for 4 days.

Freezing: Cream soups can separate or get grainy when frozen. Creamy coconut milk does a bit better but may need to be whisked vigorously or blended again. Make a double batch and freeze half for up to 2 months in a sealed container or Ziploc, once cooled, leaving an inch at the top for expansion.

Shortcuts

  • I often buy fresh butternut squash already peeled and cut up in a package. It’s a bit more expensive, but a real time-saver.
  • Another option is to buy frozen butternut squash cubes which will cook faster – no need to peel, cube or defrost). 
spiced butternut squash soup with crouton and cilantro garnish in bowl.

More easy butternut squash recipes

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟with a comment in the recipe card below. Thanks so much!

spiced butternut squash soup with crouton and cilantro garnish in bowl.
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5 from 14 votes

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup (Thai-Inspired)

Create this velvety, flavorful Thai-inspired spiced butternut squash soup with a kick of heat. Just 30 minutes with a few simple ingredients. 
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine: Thai
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • blender or immersion blender

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds butternut sqaush, peeled and cut in small chunks, Note 1 (about 5-6 cups)
  • 1 onion, cut up in chunks
  • 1 potato, peeled, cut in chunks (optional – use if you want more body to soup)
  • 2 tablespoon red or green curry paste (for about 7/10 level of spiciness)
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, (you might need a bit more or less)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 14-ounce can regular coconut milk (~1 3/4 cups) (for cooking, NOT dessert)
  • cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  • SAUTE VEGETABLES: Heat oil on medium-high heat in a medium-to-large pot. Add onion and sauté until tender for 3-4 minutes. Add squash, curry paste, salt and potato (if using). Sauté another few minutes.
  • ADD BROTH AND SIMMER: Add just enough broth to cover the vegetables. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are soft.
  • FINISH AND SERVE: Remove soup from heat. Stir in the can of coconut milk. Purée the soup with an immersion blender or blender. Adjust seasonings. Serve with cilantro or a fresh crouton garnish, Note 3 for serving suggestion.

Recipe Notes

  1. How to cut a butternut squash. Here’s a video on how to cut a squash by The Minimalist Baker. TIP: To soften the squash for easier cutting, I pierce it with a knife in several places, then microwave it for 4 minutes. 
    • Shortcut: Buy fresh pre-peeled and cubed butternut squash in the store. Or use frozen butternut squash cubes (which will cook faster – no need to defrost). 
  2. Variations
      • Use less coconut milk (or light coconut milk) if you like your soup less creamy.
      • Substitute coconut milk with 1/2 cup/118 ml half and half cream. (you won’t have the milk coconut flavors though).
      • Vary the spice level with the amount of curry paste or with added red pepper flakes.
      • Omit the potato for a thinner soup.
      • If you’re feeling energetic or just want that extra authenticity, use our homemade 3 Minute Thai Green Curry Paste instead of a store-bought one.
  3. Serving suggestion: Instead of soup bowls, try serving it as an appetizer in espresso cups or shot glasses. No spoons needed. I pour the hot soup into a thermos ahead of time and let guests help themselves. 
  4. Make ahead:
    • Fridge: Leftover spicy Thai butternut squash soup can be stored in an airtight container for 4 days.
    • Freezing: Cream soups can separate or get grainy when frozen. Creamy coconut milk does a bit better but may need to be whisked vigorously or blended again. Make a double batch and freeze half for up to 2 months in a sealed container or Ziploc, once cooled, leaving an inch at the top for expansion.
 
Nutrition values are estimates.

Nutrition

Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 407mg | Potassium: 851mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 16860IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 5mg
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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This made a wonderful healthy lunch today. I did use a small sweet potato instead of the regular one in the recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    This was great, thanks so much! We added more of the curry as well as a few other spices, because this was an appetizer for our first dinner with our daughters Pakistani bf and we know he likes extra spices because I had him tasting different foods as I started learning to make them. Anyway, thanks again! It was approved all around!