Kabocha and butternut squash soup
 Kabocha squash or Japanese pumpkin ( Cucurbita maxima ) is a winter squash variety that has started to become quite popular in farmers markets and some supermarket chains. Though the skin, which is thick and knobby, doesn't look remotely edible, it actually is and provides a significant amount of fiber. The inside flesh is sweet—a sort of cross between a pumpkin and sweet potato. You can let a kabocha get quite large, which makes it look intimidating, but once you get a knife through it, it's easy to prepare! 

Kabocha squash or Japanese pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima) is a winter squash variety that has started to become quite popular in farmers markets and some supermarket chains. Though the skin, which is thick and knobby, doesn't look remotely edible, it actually is and provides a significant amount of fiber. The inside flesh is sweet—a sort of cross between a pumpkin and sweet potato. You can let a kabocha get quite large, which makes it look intimidating, but once you get a knife through it, it's easy to prepare! 

Certain winter squash varieties can look intimidating to the novice cook, but once you get past slicing them up and removing their seeds, they're fairly easy to manage. I often love just cutting squash, like Acorn or Kabocha squash, in half, baking them with a little salt and butter, and scooping out their soft orange flesh with a spoon. Makes a delicious meal in a "bowl".  

But squash do take some time to prepare—whether you're baking or boiling them—but let me assure you—they are well worth the effort, both from a nutritional and taste standpoint. I was encouraged to make a soup made with some winter squash varieties by both a delicious soup I had eaten at Aurora Brooklyn and seeing a kabocha-based soup recipe by my friend, Palak Patel. Here's how I prepared my version: 🌿


Kabocha and butternut squash soup 

1.5 hours | 4 servings | vegetarian (with vegan option)

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 

  • 1 kabocha squash, deseeded and quartered

  • 1/2 butternut squash, deseeded 

  • 2 shallots, diced 

  • 2 garlic cloves, diced 

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

  • 8 cups, homemade vegetable broth

  • 1 tablespoon turmeric

  • sprinkle of saffron threads

  • sprinkle of red pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon royal jelly 

  • 1/4 teaspoon bee pollen 

  • sea salt, to taste

  • 4 tablespoons plain greek yogurt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon, balsamic vinegar reduction 

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 400°F . Rub the flesh of both kabocha and butternut squash with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and place, cut side down, in a glass baking dish. Add about 1/4" of water to the baking dish. Cook in oven for about 45 minutes or until the flesh can be easily pierced with a fork.

  2. While the squash are baking, add the remainder of the olive oil in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Stir in the shallots and let cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 

  3. Reduce heat to low and add garlic cloves and shredded coconut. Stir for about 2 minutes, being careful that the coconut or garlic doesn't burn.

  4. Add the broth, turmeric, saffron, red pepper flakes, royal jelly, bee pollen and sea salt. Stir well and let the mixture simmer. 

  5. When squash are finished cooking, remove and let cool for a few minutes. Remove flesh from skin with a spoon and place flesh in the soup pot. Let simmer for another 10 minutes. 

  6. Use an immersion blender to blend all the ingredients together until the mixture is sufficiently pureed. Serve in bowls and add a dollop of greek yogurt, a little saffron, and a swirl of balsamic vinegar reduction. 

 Absolute creamy decadence—a meal that can border on dessert if you just closed your eyes! 

Absolute creamy decadence—a meal that can border on dessert if you just closed your eyes!