I developed this recipe over 10 years ago because I was tired of all the sugary squash soups out there with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. This recipe combines the sweetness of the squash with the earthy complexity of parsnips and carrots. The measurements are approximate, since I go by look, feel, and taste. The proportions here make a large batch. It could be halved if you desire, but where's the fun in that?! Add a little fresh chopped herbs, like parsley or basil, if you like. Serve hot and gently drizzle a little chile-infused olive oil and balsamic fig vinegar over the top of each bowl. (The fig makes it like syrup. You can also prepare a simple balsamic reduction instead).


Recipe Summary

30 mins
34 mins
1 hr 4 mins
4 servings


Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cut kabocha squash into 1-inch chunks and carefully trim the peel off each chunk.

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add coriander seed. Toast in the skillet until seeds start to turn golden brown and become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Grind seeds in a coffee grinder.

  • Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add carrots and parsnip; cook and stir until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add leeks and ground coriander; saute until soft, adding a little stock if the pot gets dry. Add the kabocha, remaining vegetable stock, and basil. Add water to cover squash, if necessary. Bring soup to a boil; reduce to simmer. Continue simmering until squash is tender, 25 to 35 minutes.

  • Remove soup from heat. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in heavy cream.

Cook's Notes:

Use any flavorful squash you prefer, something like kirin, kabocha, or even pumpkin. Avoid butternut -- too bland.

As an alternate garnish, I have also prepared a topping by finely dicing some of the parsnips and carrots and the thick, green, leafy stalk of the leeks, sauteed and glazed with brown sugar and a little cayenne pepper or hot paprika.

Nutrition Facts

412 calories; protein 6.6g; carbohydrates 35.3g; fat 29.2g; cholesterol 81.5mg; sodium 642.4mg. Full Nutrition