Coconut Butternut Squash Soup with a Garnish of Greens

coconut butternut squash soup with fresh kale and onion garnish and cornbread side

Once you’ve got the squash baked, this autumnal butternut squash soup comes together quickly. The mellow flavors of coconut milk, kale, and red onions synergize delectably with the squash, and look gorgeous together as well. It’s a fantastic first course for a vegan Thanksgiving dinner, but it need not wait for a special occasion to enjoy it. Adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos by Susan Voisin.

Coconut Butternut Squash Soup with a Garnish of Greens
Recipe type: Vegetable soup
Cuisine: Vegan / Healthy / Holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
Once you’ve got the butternut squash baked, this autumnal soup comes together quickly. The mellow flavors of coconut milk, kale, and red onions synergies delectably with the squash, and look gorgeous together as well.
  • 1 large butternut squash, or 2 small ones (about 1½ pounds total in either case)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or sweet white onion, chopped
  • 1 medium apples, any variety, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups prepared vegetable broth, or 2 cups water with 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, or more, to taste
  • One 14-ounce can light coconut milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 medium red onions, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 good-sized bunch kale (about 10 to 12 ounces)
  1. To easily bake the butternut squash without struggling to cut it, you can wrap the whole thing in foil, put in a baking pan, and bake at 375 degrees F. for 45 to 60 minutes — or until you can pierce all the way through easily with a long knife. Once it cools, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds and fibers. Then, cut into thick slices and pare away the skin, or if the flesh is really soft, just scoop it out with a large spoon. You can do this step ahead of time.
  2. Heat about half of the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the apple, squash, broth, curry, and ginger. Bring to a steady simmer, then cover and simmer gently until the apples and squash are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the solids to a food processor with a slotted spoon, in batches if need be, until smoothy pureed, then transfer back to the soup pot. Or better yet, simply insert an immersion blender into the pot and process until smoothly pureed.
  5. Return the soup to a gentle simmer, stir in the coconut milk, and cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until well heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. If time allows, let the soup stand off the heat for an hour or two. If the soup gets too thick, add a bit more broth or water, then heat through as needed before serving.
  7. Just before serving, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and sauté over low heat until golden and soft.
  8. Meanwhile, strip the kale leaves off the stems and cut into thin shreds. Stir together with the onions in the skillet, adding just enough water to moisten the surface. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the kale is bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes.
  9. To serve, ladle soup into each bowl, then place a small mound of kale and onion mixture in the center.


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  • Reply
    Patti Beck
    February 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    When do you add the coconut milk?

    • Reply
      February 14, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Patti — thanks, you caught an omission. I updated the recipe, though the change won’t show up for a few hours on the actual post. The coconut milk goes in after everything is pureed, before the salt and pepper are added. I hope you enjoy this!

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