Roasted acorn squash soup is a hearty and healthy appetizer. The squash halves roast until the flesh is tender, then are pureed with sauteed carrots, apples, and coconut milk for smooth and creamy spoonfuls.
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Roasting acorn squash is a delicious and healthy base for a stunning soup. The tender flesh, neutral in flavor and creamy in texture, breaks down easily into a puree. The odd shape may seem intimidating to prepare, but I’ll show you simple step-by-step tips for safely cutting and cleaning.
To enhance the taste and add more nutrient-rich ingredients, I saute chopped carrots and apples to boost natural sweetness and extra fiber. A mix of bold, fresh herbs and warm spices adds dimension. On chilly nights, making this recipe brings instant comfort and warmth.
Cutting the squash
Acorn squash is named for its resemblance to the oak nut. Beneath the thin green and orange skin is a bright yellow flesh that’s a little sweet and more stringy and fibrous than butternut squash. To cut in half, use a sharp chef’s knife to split it between the deep ridges, using a rocking motion.
You don’t want to cut through the stem. Instead, around it and then pull the halves apart to separate. Remove the seeds and if you want, save them to roast as a yummy snack for later.
The multiple deep curved ridges on the acorn squash make it a challenge to peel. I find it much easier to cut in half then cook it in the oven. Plus, it’s much more flavorful prepared this way.
Brush some olive on the flesh, season with salt, then roast cut-side down. This technique allows more contact with the hot pan, which creates lovely browned notes. Once fork-tender, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Now it’s ready to add to the other aromatic ingredients.
Sauteing builds layers of flavor
As the squash is roasting, saute the aromatics, the onions, garlic, thyme, and sage. Cooking them in the fat first caramelizes the onions and infuses the herbs’ fat-soluble flavors. Diced carrots and Honeycrisp apples briefly cook to release their sugars and brown the surface.
Simmer the soup
Before adding in the roasted squash, the carrot and apples need additional time to simmer in vegetable stock due to their tough textures. Spending a few minutes to soften them makes it easy to puree.
Puree the ingredients
To create a smooth consistency, use a hand immersion blender. Once you add the acorn squash to the pot, it takes just a few minutes to process the ingredients. I move the stick slowly around, keeping it flush to the pot’s bottom, so it doesn’t splatter.
Add in the coconut milk, and continue to blend until a smooth and velvety consistency. Stir in ground ginger and nutmeg to add warm spices to each bowl. You can also use a blender to puree the soup. However, you may have to work in batches depending on the size of the container.
Make an edible bowl
Did you know that cutting acorn squash in half makes adorable and functional little bowls to hold the soup? You can cook it using the same method and at the same time as the other halves. After roasting, you can flip it over, glaze it with some maple syrup and broil for a few minutes. I love how you can dig the spoon in at the end and get tasty chunks of squash.
What to serve this with
How to make the squash more flavorful
The acorn squash roasts flesh-side down with oil brushed on to encourage color and texture change, similar to the dry-heat process when sauteing. After roasting for about 30 minutes, the direct contact with the hot baking pan creates a golden brown surface, resulting in more flavor with little effort. I wait to add salt once it’s done cooking because it draws out moisture, and you don’t want it to steam instead.
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Roasted Acorn Squash Soup
- 3 ½ pounds acorn squash, (about 2 squash)
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 cup yellow onion, ¼-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoon chopped thyme, or ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped sage
- 1 cup diced carrots, ½-inch dice
- 1 cup diced honeycrisp or fuji apple, ½-inch dice
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups vegetable stock, or broth, divided
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts, for garnish (optional)
- Set the oven rack to the center position and preheat to 400ºF (204ºC).
- Wash and thoroughly dry the acorn squash.
- Place the squash on a sturdy cutting board. Use a chef’s knife to cut the squash in half lengthwise as follows: Identify one side of the stem and begin to carefully cut through the skin and flesh between the ridges until it feels hollow in the center, not the actual stem. Continue to cut around, using small rocking motions until you reach the other side of the stem, leave the stem uncut. Use your hands to pull the two halves apart.
- Use a large spoon to remove the seeds. If desired, wash, separate and dry the seeds for roasting later.
- Line a large baking sheet with foil. Grease the foil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, use a paper towel to spread evenly.
- Brush the flesh of the acorn squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the squash cut side down and evenly spaced on the baking sheet.
- Roast until a knife can easily pierce into the flesh, about 30 to 35 minutes depending on the squash’s size. Flip the squash over and lightly season with salt.
- Allow the squash to cool until it’s easy to handle. Scoop out the flesh into a bowl, it should yield about 4 cups of flesh (2 pounds 1 ½ ounces 950g).
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, saute until fragrant and translucent, 4 minutes.
- Add minced garlic, thyme, and sage, saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the carrots and apples, saute for 5 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of vegetable stock, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the carrots are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Add the roasted acorn squash and 2 cups of vegetable stock to the soup. Using a hand immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
- Add the coconut milk, process until very smooth. Add the ginger and nutmeg, stir to combine. Add more vegetable stock or coconut milk if needed to thin out the soup. Season the soup to taste.
- Reheat the soup over low heat, occasionally stirring if needed.
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