There's nothing quite as satisfying as a piping-hot bowl of soup on a cold day. This five-ingredient butternut pumpkin soup hits the mark: it's comforting, nutritious and superbly creamy. Made without a drop of dairy, it's a great vegan fall soup recipe. Kid-friendly too!
Everyone needs a trusty pumpkin soup recipe in their culinary repertoire – and this one’s my favourite. While classic cream of pumpkin features dairy cream (making it unsuitable for vegan or dairy-free eaters), forgoing the dairy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing creaminess: enter cashew cream.
This easy-to-make ingredient adds richness, resulting in a full-bodied plant-based pumpkin soup. Best yet, its mild in taste (unlike coconut cream) making it versatile for all your dairy-free soup needs – like this vegan-friendly cream of mushroom soup.
Butternut squash. A winter variety of squash (aka pumpkin in New Zealand). It has a distinctive elongated shape, smooth tan-coloured skin, and naturally sweet nutty flesh.
Cashews. Our ‘cream’ substitute. When soaked and blended, this nut becomes smooth and creamy, closely resembling the texture of dairy cream.
Aromatics, including onion and garlic. Butternut squash soup essentials to build a flavourful foundation.
Vegetable stock. Free from animal products, this is a great stock pick for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. You can use homemade, fresh store-bought or stock cubes prepared with water.
While this is a nice beginners recipe, feel free to springboard off to other flavour combinations to spice things up. Add curry powder for vibrant flavour, Autumnal spices like ground cinnamon or ginger for cozy vibes, or red curry paste and coconut milk (swap here for the cashew cream) for a Thai-curry inspired twist.
Step-by-Step: How to Make Vegan Butternut Squash Soup
Here are tips and tricks to help your kitchen skills grow while improving the outcome of this dish:
Soak cashews in hot water. The heat accelerates the softening of the cashews, making them more easily broken when blended. End goal: a velvety and luscious cashew cream.
Roughly chop vegetables into similar sized pieces. Maintaining uniformity in their size will help ensure the vegetables cook evenly and simultaneously.
Cool soup before blendingin a food processor or blender. This prevents pressure buildup (potentially leading the lid coming off unexpectedly, gah!). However, some blenders are designed to handle piping hot ingredients – check your machine’s manual.
Eat hot off the stove, or refrigerate or freeze portions for future you to enjoy. Here are tasty ways to serve this vegan fall soup recipe:
A classic bowl. Embellish with a drizzle of any remaining cashew cream, freshly chopped herbs, pumpkin seeds, and a sprinkle of ground pepper.
In a mug. Enjoy an old school cup-of-soup in your favourite mug. A perfect nutritious warming snack idea over the cooler months.
With crusty bread. Serve with a side of crusty sourdough or garlic bread. Ideal for dipping and mopping up the soup.
Swirled with pesto. Drizzle over vegan pesto (or classic pesto, if that fits your dietary preference) for a burst of herbal freshness and extra flavour.
With crispy toppings. Add texture and crunch with crispy ingredients like sourdough croutons, fried shallots or roasted chickpeas.
Paired with a cheese toastie. Make a speedy grilled cheese sandwich by topping wholegrain bread with vegan cheese (or dairy cheese, if that fits your dietary preference), and grilling until bubbly.
What are the nutritional benefits of butternut squash? Butternut squash is a nutritional powerhouse of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. One cup offers:
A plethora of carotenoids, notably beta-carotene, responsible for its vibrant orange colour. These carotenoids act as vitamin A heroes, transforming into active forms – retinal and retinoic acid.
A hearty 7g of fibre. Notably, butternut squash’s comparative lower carb content, in contrast to many starchy vegetables and grains, make it a dietary fibre stand out.
Antioxidants galore. Butternut squash is a good source of powerful antioxidants, like vitamin C and vitamin E, which help shield against cellular damage, ageing and inflammation (1,2).
1.4kgwhole butternut squash (a little more or less in weight is fine)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Soak the cashews
Add the cashews and water into a heat-proof bowl. Leave to soak.
Prepare the vegetables
Prepare the squash. Carefully slice in half, spoon out the inner seeds and discard. Place the flat-side of each squash halve down, and slice into thick wedges. Thinly slice the skin off each slice, and dice the flesh into bite-sized chunks. Aim for each piece to be relatively uniform in size, so they’ll cook at a similar rate.
Peel onion and garlic, and discard skin. Roughly chop each.
Prepare the vegetables
Into a large saucepan or soup pot add the squash, onion, garlic and vegetable stock.
Bring to boil uncovered, then reduce to a simmer until the squash is tender – roughly 35-40 minutes.
Once the soup has finished cooking, blend the cashews and water until smooth.
Add soup into the blender (let cool first, if required for your machine). You may need to so this in batches, depending on the size of your blender.
Once soup has blended, taste test, and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Pour back into the stove pot and gently warm to serve.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION Pre-made stocks can vary in terms of ingredients and preparation methods, so it’s important to carefully review labels and check for gluten-containing ingredients if needed for you. Some pre-made stocks might include ingredients like wheat or other gluten-containing additives for flavour or thickening. To ensure you’re using a gluten-free stock, look for products that are specifically labeled “gluten-free” or certified by a reputable certification organisation.ALTERNATIVE TO CASHEW CREAM If you prefer not to use cashew cream, you can replace it with dairy cream by adding 100ml.