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This Vegan Butternut Squash Soup is the perfect way to welcome fall! It's warm-spiced, hearty, and oh-so-cozy! It'll be a part of your rotation all season long.
Two things that go together well are chilly autumn weather and belly-warming soups. Wouldn't you agree? It's still 80 degrees where I live, but that won't stop me from enjoying these comforting meals.
Plus, I'll be fully prepared when the cooler weather hits in a few weeks. My freezer is filling up fast! Some of my fall favorites are this Vegan Potato Leek Soup, my Vegan French Onion Soup, and this Vegan Butternut Squash Soup.
I always kick off the season with a big batch of them and continue making them through the winter. Oh, and of course, I make a batch of Vegan Pumpkin Donuts, too! It wouldn't be fall without them!
What's the best way to cook butternut squash?
Slow-roasting butternut squash really brings out its delicate flavor more than sautéing it in a pan. It will soften, caramelize and release its natural, nutty sweetness. I tend to use less seasoning too because the flavor just really shines on its own.
Plus, it's much easier to roast the squash because you don't have to peel and chop it which can be a pain. All you'll have to do is cut the squash in half, and let it roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes. It's worth it!
Ingredients, Notes, and Substitutions
️🌟 This is a quick overview with step-by-step photos. For the complete ingredient amounts and instructions, scroll down to the recipe card below.
- Raw Cashews - these are blended with soy milk to make a rich cream. You can replace the cream with full-fat canned coconut milk.
- Soy Milk - any unsweetened plant-based milk will work, or you can just use water.
- Butternut Squash - it's the star of the show, but you can also make this with acorn squash.
- Onion - if you want a milder flavor, you can use shallots instead.
- Carrots - adds a mild sweetness. You can omit them or replace them with a tart apple for a more complex flavor.
- Garlic - fresh is best here!
- Fresh Ginger - this is optional but I love the subtle zest it adds to the soup.
- Cumin - it gives the soup a little more depth. You can omit it or replace it with chili powder or smoked paprika.
- Cinnamon - I love the warmth that it adds, but you can omit it if you don't like it with savory food.
- Nutmeg - you can omit this if you don't have it or add a pinch of all-spice or cardamom,
- Vegetable Broth - I used reduced sodium. If you use regular, you may want to reduce the additional salt in the recipe.
- Bay Leaf - this is optional or you can use a ¼-1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme and add it when the other seasonings go into the pot.
How to Make Vegan Butternut Squash Soup
Place the squash on a baking sheet, cut side down and roast for 40-50 minutes or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Cool slightly, then scoop out the soft flesh and set it aside.
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Now add onion and carrots, then sauté until softened. Add garlic and ginger, then sauté until fragrant. Now add the cumin, nutmeg, and cinnamon, then cook for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- Pour in the broth and add the roasted squash, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Gently simmer for about 8-10 minutes and remove from heat.
- Remove the bay leaf and pour in the cashew cream.
- Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree soup until it has a smooth consistency.
This vegan butternut squash soup is definitely a meal all on its own but it also pairs nicely with a meal or side dish. It goes well with rice dishes, sandwiches, wraps, and salads, or just serve it up with a handful of crackers or a piece of crusty artisan bread, or vegan cornbread and a pat of vegan butter.
- For a little crunch, add roasted butternut squash seeds, raw/roasted pumpkin seeds, air-fried chickpeas, or croutons.
- Add more warmth with a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg.
- For a little kick add a pinch of crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper.
- Add a pop of color and fresh flavor with chopped chives, cilantro, or parsley.
- For a hint of smokiness, add a dash of smoked paprika.
- Add extra creaminess with a swirl of cashew cream or a dollop of vegan sour cream.
- For extra zing, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Add a little extra protein and savory flavor with browned vegan sausage crumbles or vegan bacon.
The flavor of this vegan butternut squash soup is so easy to change so feel free to experiment. Here's another way I like to cook it: Omit the ginger, cumin, and carrots and replace them with ½ cup dry white wine, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, and one diced tart apple. You can omit or leave in the nutmeg and cinnamon.
The diced apple will go into the pot at the same time that the onion does. Once they are softened, add garlic then sauté for 30-60 seconds.
Then add the chopped sage, optional nutmeg, and cinnamon. Cook until fragrant, then add the white wine and reduce for 2-3 minutes. Follow the remaining steps as written.
Can I Freeze Butternut Squash Soup?
YES! It freezes beautifully! Just let it completely cool before transferring it into an airtight container. It'll last for 2-3 months.
You can also store it in individual containers for school or work lunches. Just defrost it in the fridge overnight, then warm it up in the morning and pour it into a Thermos. It'll stay warm until lunch. A quick and satisfying meal!
How to roast butternut squash seeds
Rinse the seeds free of most of the squash flesh and pat dry on a towel. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place seeds on a baking sheet and drizzle with a small amount of oil and sprinkle with salt.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden. Stir every 5 minutes for even roasting and watch carefully to prevent burning. Turn down the heat if necessary. I usually roast the seeds after the squash is finished and while the soup is cooking.
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Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- 4 pounds butternut squash (about 2 small)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or preferred oil) + more for squash
- 1 medium onion , diced
- 2 medium carrots , diced small or thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 5 cups vegetable broth , reduced sodium
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt , more to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper , to taste
- If you don't have a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix), you will need to soften the cashews first. To soften, boil water in a small pot and remove from heat. Add cashews and cover for 20 minutes. Now drain, rinse and discard soaking water.
- Place the cashews in a blender along with the ¾ cup soy milk. Blend on high until very smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and membranes (discard or save seeds for roasting). Lightly brush with oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the squash on a baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast for 40-50 minutes or until the squash is very tender and easily pierced with a fork. Let it cool for a few minutes then scoop out the soft flesh and set it aside.
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and carrots, then sauté until softened, about 4-6 minutes.
- Add garlic and ginger, then sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- Now add the cumin, nutmeg, and cinnamon, then cook for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Stir constantly.
- Pour in the broth and add the squash, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat up to get things moving, then turn heat back down to gently simmer for about 8-10 minutes (this will give the flavors time to mingle). Remove from heat.
- Remove the bay leaf and pour in the cashew cream. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree soup until it has a smooth consistency (if using a regular blender, you may need to work in batches). Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
- Pour into soup bowls and serve (see notes for topping ideas). Enjoy!
- Cashew Cream - You can replace the cashew cream (soy milk and cashews) with 1 cup of full-fat canned coconut milk.
- Instead of soy milk for the cashew cream, you can use any unsweetened plant-based milk. Just make sure the flavor isn't too strong or it could be prominent in the soup. You can also use water instead of milk.
- If you want to roast the seeds, rinse them free of most of the squash flesh and pat dry on a towel. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place seeds on a baking sheet and drizzle with a small amount of oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden. Stir every 5 minutes for even roasting and watch carefully to prevent burning. Turn down heat if necessary. I usually roast the seeds after the squash is finished and while the soup is cooking.
- Topping Ideas - roasted butternut squash seeds, raw or roasted pumpkin seeds, a swirl of cashew cream, cinnamon, crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, fresh-cut chives, cilantro, or parsley.
- The consistency of the soup should be thick and creamy. If you adjust the weight of the butternut squash, you may need more/less broth depending on how much you used.