This butternut squash soup is a perfect treat for cold weather months, with subtle warming spices that aren’t overpowering. The squash purees into a creamy soup without any actual cream. The pistachios add flavor, crunch, and make for an eye-catching garnish.
If you’re a fan of butternut squash, then you know what a versatile vegetable it can be. Whether it’s diced and roasted for my butternut squash galette, baked into macaroni and cheese, or pureed into a silky soup like my butternut lobster bisque, the results are always fantastic.
While this is true for all varieties of winter squash, the seasonal widespread availability of butternut makes it an obvious choice more often than not.
If you’re looking for a classic butternut squash soup recipe without bells and whistles, this is it. You can skip the spiced nuts if you’d rather opt for a side of crusty bread (or whatever your preference may be).
However, I definitely recommend the pistachios. Not only do they add texture and a fragrant blend of spices, but they make the soup more visually appealing. You’ve heard the phrase “we eat with our eyes” first. It’s true, and these make the soup taste better in many ways.
- If you don’t like (or can’t eat) pistachios, you can swap them out for other nuts, butternut squash seeds, or pumpkin seeds, following the exact same method of preparation.
- You have two options for roasting the squash; I only included one in the instructions to keep things simple. In addition to peeling, seeding, and dicing, your other option is to slice the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, rub with olive oil, and then roast sliced side up until fork tender. After cooling, you can scoop out the squash and discard the skin. Pick whichever sounds easiest to you! The benefit of dicing: it roasts more quickly.
- This recipe includes a small amount of white wine. Alcohol is always optional in soups, and the alcohol itself cooks away, leaving only the flavor behind. It’s wonderful, subtle and worth it, but if you don’t consume alcohol, simply swap it out with water or more stock.
- I use a Vitamix blender, which gets my soups ridiculously smooth and I love it. However, any standard blender will work, as will an immersion blender.
Tell me: what’s your favorite way to cook with butternut squash?
- 3 1/2 - 4 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced (approximately 2 cups)
- 2 ribs celery, diced (approximately 1 cup)
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional but recommended)
- 4 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock (use veggie stock for a vegan soup)
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1 cup raw shelled pistachios (see notes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the butternut squash on the sheet and toss with a thin coating of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon). Spread in a single layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast the squash for 35-40 minutes, or until fork tender.
- In a large, nonstick heavy-bottom saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and celery along with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, for approximately 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and starting to slightly caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute, stirring.
Turn up the heat to medium and continue stirring until a brown glaze begins forming on the bottom of the pot, 1-3 minutes. If you're using a nonstick pan, there won't be any brown bits (which is ok).
- Add the white wine. The liquid will help detach the brown bits; use a spatula to scrape them up and stir them back into the veggies. (If you don’t use alcohol, water or stock may be substituted.)
Add the stock, thyme, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Turn the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the soup from the heat and let it cool, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove the thyme stems (the leaves will be in the soup). Carefully ladle the soup into a blender and puree, in batches, if necessary.
Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper. As with most soups, this one will taste best the next day after the flavors have had a chance to truly mingle. You can reheat the over medium heat in the same saucepan, or in smaller batches in the microwave. The soup will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. It can also be frozen in airtight containers for several months.
Serve soup in bowls topped with spiced pistachios and some freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place the pistachios in a small bowl and add the olive oil, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, chili powder, and cayenne pepper, stirring with a spatula to combine.
- Spread the nuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, and roast for approximately 15 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. The pistachios are ready when they’re golden and fragrant.
If you can only find roasted pistachios, they’ll work, but try to avoid salted ones. If that’s your only option, omit the salt from the spice mixture.
Save time by preparing the nuts while the soup is simmering.