This creamy roasted kabocha squash soup is made with winter squash, warming spices, cauliflower, milk and Parmesan cheese.
Each fall I get ridiculously excited about winter squash.
Almost without fail, I buy as many squash as possible as soon as possible.
One of my favorite things about winter squash is that they have a long shelf life, especially if you’ve got a cool, dark place to store them.
That means you can buy early and use them for months. It’s fabulous.
You get the point. I love winter squash!
And of course, I made sure to get some kabocha squash.
This creamy kabocha squash soup is made with roasted winter squash, cauliflower, milk and cheese, and is a comforting, warming soup perfect for a chilly winter day.
What is Kabocha Squash?
Kabocha squash is also known as Japanese pumpkin.
The flavor is like a cross between a pumpkin and a sweet potato.
Can I Use a Different Squash Instead?
For the closest swap, try using about two cups of canned pumpkin.
Or use this similar recipe for creamy pumpkin soup.
How to Prepare Kabocha Squash
Kabocha squash, like many winter squash, can be tough to slice through before cooking.
Kabocha has a particularly tough skin, and cooking the squash for just a few minutes before cutting can make slicing through the squash much easier.
Microwave the Squash
The quickest way to soften a kabocha squash is to microwave it.
Start by scoring the top with a knife. This will help release some steam while it cooks.
Next, microwave the squash in 90-second bursts until it softens slightly. Now you can cut it in half more easily.
Pre-Roast the Squash
If you don’t use a microwave, another option is to place the whole squash in a hot oven.
Cook it until it softens slightly, and then you can easily slice through the skin.
Skip Pre-Cooking + Cut it Raw
You can, of course, skip any pre-cooking and simply use a little extra force to cut through the kabocha squash.
Do whatever works best for you.
Halve + Remove Seeds
Cut the squash in half.
Use a spoon to scoop out both the seeds and the membrane.
How to Make Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
Cut the squash into 8 or 9 large wedges.
Stir together a little sea salt, smoked paprika and red chili flakes.
Arrange the wedges flesh-side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle some of the spice mixture over the squash.
Use a second baking sheet to prepare some cauliflower and onion.
Toss them in oil and the same spice mixture.
Begin roasting the squash first. After about 15 minutes, add the cauliflower and onion.
When all the veggies are tender, remove them from the oven.
Let the squash cool slightly, and then remove the peel with a paring knife.
Next, you’re going to blend the soup.
If you have an immersion blender, you can add the veggies, milk and cheese to a soup pot. Blend the soup directly in the pot.
Alternatively, add the veggies, milk and cheese to a blender basin. I use a Vitamix 7500.
Be aware that this is a pretty thick soup, so your blender might struggle. If you need to, simply add extra liquid to thin the soup.
Finally, warm the soup up in a soup pot.
I recommend covering the pot with a lid to avoid splatters.
Serve this soup with a Brie grilled cheese sandwich or a piece of crusty bread.
Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
- 1 kabocha squash (medium-sized) Rinse squash + pat dry before using
- 2 TB olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- ½ cauliflower head (medium-sized), broken into florets
- 1 onion, peeled + cut into ~8 wedges
- 2 ½ cups milk (2% or whole), plus more if desired Optionally, replace some of the milk with vegetable broth or beer (such as a lager)
- 2 oz Parmesan, freshly grated
Prepare the Kabocha:
- Option 1: Soften in the Microwave. Score the top of the squash with a knife. (Scoring the squash will help allow steam to release while microwaving.)Put the entire squash in the microwave and cook in 90 second bursts until the squash softens slightly. (Typically about 6 minutes total.) Option 2: Soften in the Oven. Roast the entire squash whole at 400°F for about 10 minutes to soften the squash.Option 3: Use your arm muscles. Skip the previous two steps and just use a little extra force to slice through the squash. Insert the tip of a chef's knife into the squash and slowly wiggle it back and forth until it begins to split apart, then proceed with the next step.
- Use a large chef's knife to cut the squash in half, and then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membrane.
- Cut the squash into 8-10 large wedges.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.Mix together the salt, smoked paprika and red chili flakes in a small bowl.Arrange the kabocha squash flesh-side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle half the oil over the squash. Sprinkle half the spices on the squash.If the spices are not perfectly even on the squash, it's fine. You'll be blending the squash so it doesn't matter.
- Arrange the cauliflower florets and onion on a separate baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, and then toss with remaining spices.
- Add the squash to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the cauliflower. Roast until both trays of veggies are tender when pierced with a fork.Allow the squash to cool slightly, and then use a paring knife to remove the peel. Discard the peel.If small pieces of peel are left on the squash, it's fine. The peel is edible.
- Blender method: Add the squash, cauliflower, onion, milk and cheese to a blender basin and blend until creamy. Work in batches if your blender is too small. Note that you may need to add extra milk, depending on the size of the blender and strength of the blender motor.Immersion blender method: Add veggies, milk, and cheese to a soup pot. Use an immersion blender and blend until creamy. Note: Depending on the size of your vegetables, you may need to add more liquid to the soup. If the soup is too thick, add extra milk. Optionally, you could add vegetable broth or beer to thin the soup.
- Warm soup in the soup pot until heated through. (This soup is very thick. Add a lid to the soup pot to keep the soup from splattering on your stovetop.)Alternatively, heat on low in a slow cooker until warm, and keep slow cooker set to "warm" while serving guests at a party.