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Kabocha Squash Soup

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Beautifully bright, sweet and delicious, this kabocha squash soup makes a perfect cold weather dinner. Serve it with a side of grilled chicken or delicious crusty bread and you’ll have a light, healthy dinner on the table in no time.

top view of a bowl of yellow squash soup in a white bowl iwth a piece of bread next to it

This sweet Japanese squash makes an appearance in grocery stores each year around the same time Halloween pumpkins start showing up.

Because it is sweet, it pairs perfectly with savory dishes like grilled chicken (leftover rotisserie chicken is great too), oven baked ribs, oven baked wings and kalbi short ribs. You can also serve it with a Pear Salad side salad.

In this recipe, we are going to grill the squash so you can add some salt and pepper chicken thighs to the grill at the same time. If you don’t have a grill, the kabocha squash can be roasted in the oven and it will taste just as amazing!

Why You Should Try This Japanese Pumpkin

Kabocha squashes are cheap! That is just one reason I love buying them. This weekend Trader Joes had them for $2.99 each. Considering that one squash will feed a whole family, that is a great deal! They also last a long time on your counter, so pick up a couple when you see them.

We like to make this dairy free soup, but there are so many other kabocha squash recipes like roasted kabocha squash or pureed squash.

45 degree view of a green kabocha squash

What Does Kabocha Squash Taste Like?

It has a very sweet flavor with pumpkin undertones. Given the sweetness and the smooth and creamy texture, it reminds me of a sweet potato. Roasted kabocha squash has an even sweeter flavor since roasting it brings out the sugar in the squash. It would make a delicious dessert and wouldn’t require much added sugar.

Because of the pumpkin undertones, seasonings such as cinnamon and nutmeg can be added

Ingredients You Need For Kabocha Squash Soup

  • Kabocha Squash – When picking out a squash, make sure there aren’t any cuts in the skin and/or soft spots in the squash. Any cuts or bruises will cause the squash to start molding faster. Also pick one that is dark green with stripes and feels heavy.
  • Vegetable broth – The pumpkin has such a light flavor that any other broth might overpower the dish. Chicken broth should be okay but I would not recommend beef broth as a substitute.
  • Coconut Milk – Canned coconut milk works great. We use a whole can in this recipe so it has a very light coconut flavor. If you don’t want that, you can use 1/2 cup of coconut milk which will make it creamy but will not add a coconut flavor.
  • Thyme – I like to use thyme, but experiment here. Pumpkin spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves is delicious as well as rosemary and herb de Provence. My husband likes to add turmeric and cayenne.
  • Toppings (optional) – Crusty bread, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, chicken or beef

What Is The Easiest Way to Cut a Kabocha Squash?

There is no way around it – it is not fun to cut a winter squash but I have found several techniques that I rotate through:

  1. Pull or cut the stem off of the squash to expose the flesh. Stick a sharp knife in the flesh and press down to cut one half of the squash. Do the same on the other side to cut it in half. This is the technique my husband likes to use. It is too tough for me.
  2. Microwave the squash for about 3-4 minutes. Just until the outside starts to soften. Don’t go much longer than that or the pressure might build and it could explode. No one wants that! Let it sit in the microwave for 2 minutes before carefully removing it and cutting it in half
  3. Roast it whole. I like to cut the squash in half before roasting so that the inside of the pumpkin (the part we eat) gets roasted. But you can put the entire pumpkin in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes. Place it on a cookie sheet because it will soften and may leak squash juices. After 20 minutes, let it cool and then cut it in half.

Step by step photos on making Kabocha Squash Soup

side view of roasted squash on a white plate
Cut the Kabocha in half and grill or roast until soft
a side view of a spoon scooping out the squash
Let the squash cool to the touch, then scrape out the roasted kabocha.
top view of a red le creuset pot with vegetable broth and soft kabocha
Add the kabocha squash to a pot of vegetable broth

top view of kabocha in a pot iwht vegetable broth
Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer until softened.
top view of a blender with pureed pumpkin
Blend the kabocha squash with the vegetable broth until smooth and creamy.

Pour the pureed soup back into the pot. Add the coconut milk and desired seasonings and simmer until warmed.

How To Make Kabocha Squash Soup

This should be a short summary of the steps, the recipe card will have more details.

  1. Cut the squash in half – See above for easy ways to do that. Then scrape out the seeds. You can save these to roast or compost them (or dry them out and grow them next year!)
  2. Grill or Roast the squash – In this recipe we grilled the squash outside on the gas grill. It gives it a nice smoky flavor and enhances the sweetness. But you can also do this in the oven. To do it in the oven, place the squash cut side down on a lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until soft. You will know that it is done when you press on the skin and it feels soft. We are going to blend it, so it just needs to be soft enough to scoop out.
  3. Simmer with Vegetable broth – We want the squash to break down even more
  4. Place it in the blender – Blend until smooth then add it back to the pot
  5. Season – Add the coconut milk and desired seasonings then simmer.
top view of a hand holding a bowl of soup with another hand dipping bread into the soup

Important Teaching Tips

  1. Use a sharp knife – I had a cooking teacher say that a dull knife is more dangerous that a sharp one and that is the truth! Use a sharp knife and be very careful. If you are struggling to cut the squash, put it back in the microwave or oven until it is soft enough to cut safely
  2. Kabocha skin is edible – The skin is edible and although we are scraping the yellow part out of the squash, it is okay if you get some of the skin in the pot. When the squash gets soft, the skin does too and it can make it difficult to avoid getting a few pieces in the pot.
  3. An immersion blender works too – I use a vitamix for everything, but the squash will be so soft that you can use an immersion blender if you prefer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kabocha Squash Soup

Can I substitute the Coconut Milk?

To keep it dairy free, you can use dairy free half and half or a plain and unsweetened milk alternative.

Can you Freeze Kabocha Squash Soup?

You sure can! I like to freeze single servings in either a small mason jar or in SouperCubes (my latest obsession!). To defrost, let it sit in the fridge until defrosted, or use the defrost option on your microwave.

What is a substitute for Kabocha Squash?

I haven’t found a squash as sweet as a kabocha. The closest texture would be an acorn or butternut squash which are also delicious roasted.

How do you pick Kabocha?

Kabocha should have a shriveled stem and a bright green color with yellow stripes. When you tap it, it should sound hollow and if you have a bunch to choose from, go for the heaviest one!

Can you roast Kabocha seeds?

Some people like to roast the kabocha seeds like pumpkin seeds. I tried it a few times and wasn’t a fan. Now I dry out a handful of seeds and save them to plant the following year. Then I compost the rest. If you want to give it a try, here is a roasted kabocha seed recipe that looks good.

More Healthy Dinner Recipes You Might Enjoy:

top view of yellow orange pumpkin soup in a white bowth garnished with parsley and a spoon

Kabocha Squash Soup

Yield: 4
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Beautifully bright, sweet and delicious, this kabocha squash soup makes a
perfect cold weather dinner. Serve it with a side of grilled chicken or
delicious crusty bread and you’ll have a light, healthy dinner on the
table in no time.

Ingredients

  • 1 Kabocha squash
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 14 ounces Coconut Milk (1 can)
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Cut the kabocha in half and scrape out the seeds
  2. Grill over gas grill for 30-40 minutes or until soft to the touch
  3. Let the squash sit until it is cool to the touch.
  4. Fill a large pot with the vegetable broth.
  5. Using a spoon, scrape the inside of the squash into the pot of vegetable broth.
  6. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Very carefully transfer the squash and vegetable broth to a blender and blend until smooth being very careful not to spill it on yourself. An immersion blender in the pot will work too.
  8. Pour the blended soup back into the pot
  9. Add the coconut milk, thyme and salt and simmer until warm.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Use a sharp knife – I had a cooking teacher say
    that a dull knife is more dangerous that a sharp one and that is the
    truth! Use a sharp knife and be very careful. If you are struggling to
    cut the squash, put it back in the microwave or oven until it is soft
    enough to cut safely
  2. Kabocha skin is edible
    The skin is edible and although we are scraping the yellow part out of
    the squash, it is okay if you get some of the skin in the pot. When the
    squash gets soft, the skin does too and it can make it difficult to
    avoid getting a few pieces in the pot.
  3. An immersion blender works too – I use a vitamix for everything, but the squash will be so soft that you can use an immersion blender if you prefer.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 828mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information isn't always accurate. Please recalculate if you need it to be accurate.

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By on October 20th, 2021

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