Butternut Squash Soup: Rich, Silky (and Dairy-Free)

A comforting bowl for fall

Now is the perfect time of year to make soup - we can almost see breath clouds while walking to school in the morning (it takes a lot of huffing), pumpkins are stacked on front stoops and the maples are showing off their fall colors.

Plus, Thanksgiving is right around the corner - I just placed my order for a pasture-raised turkey. Now I need to get busy planning our menu. Since we don't have a huge family gathering and the duty to provide everybody's habitual favorite side dishes, I try different recipes from year to year, just to keep things interesting. I'm craving chiles this year, for some reason, and might roast this Southwestern-inspired turkey.

This soup will be great on our holiday table. Made with my all-time favorite fall ingredient, butternut squash, it's so smooth and rich-tasting you might think it's loaded with butter and cream, but no worries! It's completely dairy-free. The secret to its
plush, velvety texture is in the ratio of vegetables to broth, and the addition of a little bit of potato for body.

Ginger-Orange Butternut Squash Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 small non-starchy potato (such as Yukon Gold or Red Bliss), peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons honey (or brown sugar if you want to make this vegan)
4 - 5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh herbs and toasted nuts, to garnish (optional)

Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and ginger; cook 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the squash, potato, honey, stock and orange juice; season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook until the squash is soft when pierced with a fork.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender or with an immersion hand blender until very smooth.
Garnish soup with fresh slivered herb leaves (such as chives, basil or parsley) and chopped toasted nuts, if you like.

Serves 6 -8.

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Anna said...

I make a very similar recipe using carrots and potatos instead of the butternut squash. I keep meaning to try it with squash, so I guess when I do, I'll use your recipe. The orange juice sounds like a good addition.

Laura said...

Yay, I have a butternut squash that's been wasting away in my fridge for a couple of days now.

This recipe will be perfect. :)

Cedar said...

That looks so delicious! I have a great big butternut squash on my kitchen table, I think this post just made me decide to make a soup out of it!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

The soup looks really silky and also delicious - the color is so vibrant!

Karen said...

Anna, I like how the OJ adds a little sweet, tangy background.

Laura - Soup to the rescue!

Cedar - I have a few more sitting around the kitchen, too. It's good that they can keep a while...

Karen said...

Thanks, Patricia. I have a friend who painted her dining room walls this color. So warm and appetizing!

Tony said...

Sometimes, when I am unable to fall asleep, I find my mind turning to this unfortunate eternal verity:

Humankind cultivates squashes and brings them into our homes, only to let them waste away.


Carrie said...

Ooo...I've been looking for a good dairy-free butternut squash soup for a while now. I love the addition of orange juice.

I can't wait to try it!

Dani Spies said...

Karen - you're gonna think I'm crazy, cause I feel like I say the same thing every time I post on your site--But I swear I have had butternut squash soup on the brain!! And I love that this is dairy free AND I love ginger!!!
Guess I'll be trying this one...

Sarah said...

Yum--love squash soup. Just made some the other day with Kabocha pumpkin. I like the idea of the ginger and OJ--will definitely try that this winter. BTW, made your rosemary parm. popcorn the other night. It was delicious!

valentinA said...

Hmmm, I think I should try that someday!

Susan said...

I make a lot of butternut squash soup and am always looking for ways to vary it. I love the addition of the orange in yours. And that's quite a brilliant pic you've got there!

Karen said...

Tony, you are the Philosopher in the Kitchen, for sure. When are you coming over?

Carrie, yes, I think you'll like it!

Dani, we must be so, so simpatico.
We could throw a great dinner party together!

Sarah, thanks! Kabocha is my number one favorite squash. I have a hard time finding it here, sadly.

Valentina, I hope you'll be in the mood for it on a chilly day...do you get those?

Susan, thank you...the photo-taking is a matter of good timing in my house; good afternoon light, kids at school...
The orange and ginger are really nice together - let me know what you think.

sher said...

That looks fabulous! I start craving butternut squash at this time of the year, and that's a great recipe. I love that it's dairy free.

Emilie said...

It sounds like everyone is a fan of the butternut, and I am as well. It looks delicious; I think I might bring it to the table for Thanksgiving dinner. What nuts do you use to garnish it? I was thinking walnuts, but maybe pine nuts would be good.

Bruno said...


This soup would definitely take the chill off an autumn day... looks great!!

Karen said...

Hi Sher! My husband doesn't tolerate dairy lately, so I'm learning to leave it out. Surprisingly, I don't really miss it.

Emilie, this would be so good for Thanksgiving. I used toasted sliced almonds, but pine nuts or walnuts would be delicious too.

Hey Bruno...yes now that fall seems to have arrived here, it's soup time!

Vanessa said...

I make almost exactly the same soup but I add more ginger (lots more) and chipotle and I don't add potatoes or carrots...just squash. I think I'll make some tomorrow.

Karen said...

Oooh, Vanessa, I love the idea of the chipotle and more ginger. Yum.

Brad said...

Just made it and it was delicious, thanks!