5-Ingredient Cream of Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan)

11/17/18

(Updated 08/31/23)

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!

A birds-eye photo of pumpkin soup garnished with pumpkin seeds and Italian flat leaf parsley, with a tasteful drizzle of cashew cream.

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.

As a Registered Nutritionist, I’m all for healthy soup recipes over the colder months. Not only do they warm you up from the inside out, but they’re also a nutritious way to get more vegetables into your day.

Ingredients Needed

  • 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

Cashew nuts being soaked in a bowl of hot water.
Add cashew nuts and water together into a heat-proof bowl. Leave to soak while you prepare the soup.
A butternut squash being prepared for soup. The squash is cut in half, with one half left whole and one half being sliced into cubes and wedges. There is a chefs knife on the chopping board.
Cut squash in half, discard seeds, and slice flesh into thick wedges. Slice skin off and dice flesh into uniform bite-sized chunks.
Roughly chopped onion and garlic on a white chopping board.
Peel onion and garlic, and discard the skin. Roughly chop each, aiming for uniformed sized pieces.
A soup pot with butternut squash cubes, diced onion and garlic, and vegetable stock, before being cooked.
Add squash, onion, garlic and veggie stock to a large stove pot. The stock might not fully cover everything – this is AOK.
A soup pot with cooked butternut squash cubes, diced onion and garlic, and vegetable stock.
Bring to boil uncovered, and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the pumpkin is tender – roughly 35-40 minutes.
A food processor with cashews blended with water into cashew cream.
Once the soup has finished cooking, blend together cashews and water until super smooth.
A food processor with freshly blended butternut squash soup.
Add soup and blend using a stick blender or food processor. If using a food processor, cool soup first.
A stove pot with freshly made butternut squash soup, with a wooden spoon inserted for mixing.
Add soup back into stove pot. Taste test and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Gently heat through before serving.

Kitchen Tips

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 blending in 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.

Serving Suggestions

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.
A close up of butternut squash soup topped with a drizzle of cashew cream, pumpkin seeds and chopped Italian flat leaf parsley.

Nutrition Q&A

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).

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy this vegan butternut squash soup. Are you looking for another warming soup recipe? Check out Nourish and Tempt’s soup collection here.

5-Ingredient Cream of Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serving Size: 4
Rating:

Ingredients:  

  • ½ cup cashews + soaked in 1 cup hot water
  • 1.4 kg whole butternut squash (a little more or less in weight is fine)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 L vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

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.

Notes:

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.

Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

If you enjoyed this dish, please consider giving it a star rating when you post a comment. Star ratings help others discover my recipes online (and your reviews make my day! 🙂 ). Happy cooking and baking. Danijela x

Recipe Rating




    4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We made this for dinner and loved it! Minimal ingredients, but really great flavour. Thanks Danijela 🙂