It is that time of the year. The fall season. And with that comes the numerous varieties of squash that pop up at the grocery store. One of my favorites is kabocha. But I am always wondering what to make with kabocha squash.
Well, today’s recipe, Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup, comes from Samantha Seneviratne’s Gluten-Free for Good (affiliate link) cookbook. She offers one of the best recipes using this Japanese pumpkin.
In my opinion, this is the kind of soup you expect at a nice restaurant. Funny thing, similar to most of my soup recipes on this blog, it is ridiculously easy to make.
With the addition of salty miso paste and tangy rice vinegar added at the end, you will be surprised at the pleasant combination of sweet-salty-sour flavors.
What is Kabocha?
According to Wikepidia, Kabocha is a Japanese variety of winter squash that is also known as Japanese pumpkin. It is also referred to as Japanese squash.
It is an incredibly versatile vegetable that can be roasted, stuffed or pureed. It’s texture is light and fluffy, similar to that of chestnuts.
How is it Different From Pumpkin?
Kabocha squash is a touch sweeter than pumpkin. Think of the taste as somewhere between sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
This easy Japanese kabocha soup is made with kabocha squash, olive oil, scallions, ginger, garlic, white miso paste, low-sodium vegetable broth, water, sea salt and rice vinegar.
The toasted sesame seeds and microgreens are optional, but highly recommended!
A few helpful tips on ingredients:
- Scallions: I love the delicate flavor of scallions, but one medium white or yellow onion would be just as delicious.
- Ginger: The hint of ginger has a similar effect as in my Pumpkin Ginger Soup and Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup recipe. It’s that subtle, warming heat that makes it unique.
- Miso Paste: If you have never used miso paste, this is a great recipe to start. Miso paste, also known as fermented soybean paste, is naturally salty, so you don’t have to add too much salt.
- Broth: Vegetable broth keeps the recipe Vegetarian and Vegan. Feel free to use low-sodium chicken broth for a lovely chicken flavor.
PRO TIP: There are many varieties of miso paste sold in American supermarkets, but I usually go for the most basic white miso paste (my favorite brand – affiliate link) made from soybeans, which is naturally gluten-free.
Miso paste can also come from barley, wheat, buckwheat, rice, millet or rye. When purchasing one, I recommend reading the label closely. If you are following a gluten-free diet, look for miso paste made with millet, buckwheat, rice or soybeans.
How to Make It?
This Japanese squash soup starts with roasting the squash until golden and caramelized. I then work on the rest of the ingredients while the squash roasts in the oven. A light saute, a quick blend and you have a cozy, comforting, plant-based soup in no time. Simply:
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roast the squash: Slice the squash into smaller pieces and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Lightly sprinkle the squash with ½ teaspoon of sea salt. Set them cut side down. Roast for 30 minutes (or until it is soft and tender when pierced with a knife), rotating the baking sheet half way through for even roasting. Cool for a few minutes. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a bowl. You should have 3 to 3 ½ cups of squash. Using the back of a fork, lightly break them. No need to puree. It is okay if they are in chunks.
- Add the onions and saute: Meanwhile, heat the rest of olive oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Add in the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5-6 minutes.
- Stir in the aromatics: Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the squash and simmer: Add in the squash, vegetable broth and water. Cover the pot, bring the soup to a boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the miso: Place the miso paste into a bowl. Ladle 1 cup of the soup liquid into the bowl. Whisk until combined and smooth. Pour the mixture into the soup.
- Blend: Remove from heat. Using a hand blender, puree the soup until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more, if necessary. Alternatively, you can puree the soup in a blender in batches.
- Serve: When ready to serve, taste for seasoning and sprinkle it with salt and pepper if necessary. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds. If preferred, garnish with microgreens.
I kept it simple with microgreens and roasted sesame seeds. But the crunchy chickpea croutons from Vegan Sweet Potato Soup would be divine.
However, the original recipe suggested garnishing with gomasio, also known as sesame salt, along with the green parts of the scallions.
How to make Gomasio: If you choose to follow the original recipe, you can make gomasio by grinding 4 Tablespoons sesame seeds and ½ teaspoon Kosher salt in a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle. Simply grind to a coarse texture.
Store the extra in a small glass jar in your spice cabinet. Use it on salads, roasted vegetables and even popcorn.
This roasted kabocha soup recipe easily serves six people. Much like Vegetarian Butternut Squash Soup or Sunchoke Soup, I love to serve this as an appetizer at Thanksgiving or an elegant evening with friends.
But it also makes meal prep a breeze. My husband and I enjoy it as a light lunch throughout the week, too.
How to Store?
If you are a small family like us, feel free to store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.To freeze, allow the soup to cool completely. Then, place the soup in an airtight container and cover it with a lid. Label, date and freeze for up to 3 months.
You Might Also Like:
If you liked this roasted squash soup recipe, here are a few more squash recipes you might like:
Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup Recipe (aka Japanese Squash Soup)
- 1 medium kabocha squash approx. 3 pounds , halved and seeded
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 5 scallions both green and white parts
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
- ¼ cup gluten-free white miso paste *
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- Sea Salt
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- ¼ cup microgreens optional
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the squash into smaller pieces and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Lightly sprinkle the squash with ½ teaspoon of sea salt. Set them cut side down. Roast for 30 minutes (or until it is soft and tender when pierced with a knife), rotating the baking sheet half way through the process for even roasting. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a bowl. You should have 3 to 3 ½ cups of squash. Using the back of a fork lightly break them. No need to puree. It is okay if they are in chunks.
- Meanwhile, heat the rest of olive oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Add in the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5-6 minutes.
- Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in the squash, vegetable broth, and water. Cover the pot, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
- Place the miso paste into a bowl. Ladle 1 cup of the soup liquid into the bowl. Whisk until combined and smooth. Pour the mixture into the soup.
- Remove it from the heat. Using a hand blender, puree the soup until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more if necessary. Alternatively, you can puree the soup in a blender in batches.
- Put it back on the stove and bring the now-pureed kabocha squash soup to a boil one last time.
- When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds. If preferred, garnish with microgreens.
How to store: If you are a small family like us, feel free to store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To freeze, allow the soup to cool completely. Then, place the soup in an airtight container and cover it with a lid. Label, date and freeze for up to 3 months.
Other Gluten-Free Recipes You Might Like
- Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Spicy Pepitas and Cranberries GF + Vegetarian
- Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta GF + Vegetarian
- Slow Baked Salmon with Butter Beans GF
- Forbidden Rice Morning Cereal Bowl with Berries GF + Vegan
- Ricotta and Almond Polenta Cake GF
- Need more inspiration? Check out all our Gluten-Free Recipes
This post was originally published in September of 2016. It has been update with new helpful information with no changes to the originally published recipe in November 2020.
This recipe is adapted (with changes) from Gluten-Free for Good: Simple, Wholesome Recipes Made from Scratch (affiliate link).
What a pretty soup, so bright and cheerful! When I left Oregon I sold about 50 cookbooks that I thought I was done with. So sad in a way, but it’s also nice to start fresh. The one problem I have is I never cook any of the recipes. I love coming up with my own so much I never make the time to try them. You have me inspired and I think I might try one of Alanna’s recipes.
oh nooooo! I would be devastated to leave my books behind. Though, I understand what you mean about “starting fresh”.
Books are everywhere in our house and I wish there was a better way of organizing them.
Alana’s blog is a dream. She is one of my favorite. From her recipes to photos.. Love everything she makes.
Hope you are doing well my friend. XOXO
Aimee | Wallflower Kitchen
The weather is so hot here today in the UK and I don’t like it because I had just started to really get in the mood for Autumn! But looking at this soup brings me right back to that state of mind. Beautiful recipe, I’m always looking for some good gluten-free books for recipe inspiration 🙂
Thank you Aimee. <3 Cool autumn days are coming. This soup is so right up your alley. I hope you'll like it if/when you try. <3
I’m with you on cookbooks, but also like the convenience of smaller ebooks, since, like you, my book shelves are SO full. I’m not gluten sensitive either, but try to keep my carbs down anyway, so this is a book I know I’d like to get my hands on! I teeter between pumpkin and kabocha being my favorite. They’re so versatile and I love their sweet, earthy notes. Paired with miso is genius! So much umami going on. Delicious soup, Aysegul and beautiful presentation!
I, too, am a huge fan of miso. Love its umami flavors. In this soup it shines so well.
Can’t wait for your e-book to come out. Cheers my friend. 🙂
Sarah @ Snixy Kitchen
Kabocha squash is my favorite fall squash – it’s flavors are sooo good and with miso it sounds delicious as a soup! I’ve not seen this cookbook in the flesh yet, but now I’m so excited to go flip through it – always looking for more gluten-free inspiration. I first saw this soup on instagram and was so inspired by the delicate dance the microgreens do across the top of the soup – love your garnishes!
Thank you for your kind words Sarah. I am sure as you would know, it is hard to style pureed soup. I was trying to find a clever way to make it appealing and the I saw these microgreens in our local Whole Foods. I thought it would be pretty with sesame seeds. I was going to sprinkle them on top, but then as I was playing I liked this style. #foodbloggerproblems 🙂
I love kabocha squash too. It is so sweet. I added the leftover squash in my morning oatmeal and it was so good. 🙂