This simple Butternut Squash Soup recipe is warming and savoury. It has a thick, velvety texture and is brilliant yellowy-orange colour which is guaranteed to cheer you up on a cold winter day! The squash is cooked slowly to bring out its natural sweetness. This is then balanced by the addition of warming chilli flakes and peanut butter which adds a creamy, nutty richness of flavour.
It is a really healthy and nutritious soup. Butternut Squash is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin A and potassium. It also contains a lot of fibre which makes it a filling and satisfying meal without being high in calories.
This recipe is vegan. However, whether you are vegan or not, I think this is a great soup. I love it when days are getting colder and you want something sustaining, warming and nutritious. It is great if you are looking to introduce non-vegans to vegan food. Serve them this soup and see if they appreciate just how tasty plant-based food can be!
If you haven’t got butternut squash, you can make this soup with other kinds of flavoursome squash or culinary pumpkins. Similarly, you can substitute other kinds of nut butter – such as almond butter or hazelnut butter – for the peanut butter.
It is really important to cook the squash and the onions very slowly so that they caramelise (step 3). This will make a big difference to the flavour of your soup.
If you don’t like chilli, or are making the soup for younger children, you can leave it out. The soup will still taste good.
This soup freezes very well so you can make a batch and keep it in the freezer for up to six months for when you need a quick lunch or supper. It is is also good as an addition to autumn and winter packed lunches.
This recipe is vegan. However, if you are not vegan you can use butter instead of vegetable oil (step 1) and dairy cream for coconut cream (step 8).
If you like traditional hummus, Butternut Squash Hummus takes things to the next level. This healthy recipe combines the sweetness and nutritional goodness of butternut squash with the traditional hummus ingredients of chickpeas, tahini and olive oil. The squash also gives the hummus a fantastic, rich yellow colour.
Hummus has become increasingly popular as a snack or lunch-box staple in recent years. Although it is easy to buy ready-made hummus, it is really worth trying to make your own. It is very easy to make, tastes great and you know exactly what is in it.
This hummus is good on its own or you can add chopped herbs, such as parsley or coriander, if you like. I also sometimes sprinkle dukkah on the top if I am using it as a dip. Dukkah is a crunchy Middle Eastern mixture of nuts, generally hazelnuts, and seeds such as sesame, coriander and cumin. Ready-made dukkahcan be purchased in many supermarkets but it is really easy to make at home. Have a look at my dukkahrecipe if you want to know how to make it.
Butternut Squash Hummus is great as a dip. Use breadsticks, toasted bread or raw vegetable sticks (such as carrot or celery) to scoop it up. You can use it as a filling for sandwiches or flatbread either on its own or combined with other ingredients. Some of my favourite additions include chopped spring onions, roasted peppers, feta cheese, olives and sweet Chilli Jam.
This home-made Butternut Squash Hummus combines the rich sweetness of butternut squash with the traditional flavours of chickpea and tahini.
Half a butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 can of chickpeas (240 g or 8 oz drained weight)
2 tablespoons of tahini
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (optional)
Peel and dice the butternut squash.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the diced squash, season with salt and pepper and cook gently for 20 minutes until soft and caramelised.
Add the crushed cloves of garlic to the pan and cook of a further five minutes.
Place the butternut squash and garlic mixture in a blender. Add the chickpeas (retaining a few for decoration, if wished), tahini, lemon juice and Greek yogurt, if using, and process until smoothe. If the mixture is too thick, add a tablespoon of water to thin it out.
Remove from the blender to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Serve topped with reserved chickpeas.
This recipe is vegan if the Greek yogurt is omitted.
My Butternut Squash Tart with Chilli and Sage is a great summer tart which can be served either hot or cold. I came up with the idea for this recipe as an alternative to the Caramelised Onion Tart that is a regular family supper. I wanted to do something that had a similar sweetness but which was also a bit different.
The resulting tart uses butternut squash, which is slow-cooked to enhance its natural sweetness, and then gives it a bit of extra zing with the addition of chilli and sage. Both are good companions to squash – the chilli cuts through the sweetness and the sage gives it a savoury depth of flavour. Don’t be alarmed by the chilli. The amount involved is relatively small but really does pep up the tart. My children have varying views on chilli (ranging from “Carolina Reaper for breakfast, please” to “Yeeeuch”) but they all like this tart.
I like to serve this tart with my Red Slaw – to keep the bright colour thing going! They taste good together – the fresh crunchiness of the slaw goes well with the sweet-savoury tart – and they also look pretty!
I generally make my own pastry. I was a late learner when it came to pastry and for years used ready-made versions. However, a few years ago I decided I had to get to grips with pastry-making and discovered how easy it is. So, if you have the time to make your own pastry, it is really worth doing as the taste will be much better than anything you can buy in the shops. However, if you don’t have the time or inclination, you can make this recipe using ready-made pastry and it will still taste pretty good.
Whether you are making your own pastry or using ready-made, it is really important to bake the empty pastry case in the oven for 15 minutes before you add the filling (step 7). This sets the pastry and means that it is properly cooked so it will be crisp and delicious rather than soft and soggy.
Cooking the onions and cubed squash on a low heat for 30 minutes until they become caramelised (step 5) is a crucial part of this recipe. You need them to be soft in texture and with the rich sweetness that comes from slow cooking.
If you don’t like chilli, you can leave it out. However, it is fairly mild and does give a good balance to the sweetness of the caramelised squash and onions.
I add sage as I think it goes particularly well with butternut squash. I think fresh sage is preferable. However, if you do not have it to hand, you can use dried sage. If you do not have any sage, or do not like it, you can substitute other herbs. I think thyme, oregano and rosemary would all be good in this recipe.
Other butternut squash and pumpkin recipes
If you like the earthy sweetness of butternut squash and pumpkin, you might like some of my other recipes.
Savoury tarts and quiches are a fantastic, cook-ahead simple supper or lunch. They are easy to make and are great either hot or at room temperature. They can also be easily divided into portions if you are feeding a large number of people. Easily transportable, they also make a good addition to lunch-boxes or basis for a picnic. Here are some of my favourites.
My Garlic Tart is a garlic-lovers delight and uses three bulbs – yes, bulbs not cloves – of garlic
I also have two very different carrot-based tarts. Carrot and Coriander Tart combines these two classic flavours in a simple quiche-style savoury tart. Carrot Tart uses ready-made puff pastry and combines large pieces of carrot with orange and soft cheese.
In this tart, the sweetness of butternut squash is tempered by the heat of chilli and the aromatic sage. The bright yellow squash also makes it look very attractive. The tart can be eaten either hot or cold, which makes it great for picnics or cold buffets.
For the pastry:
275 g (10 oz) plain flour
125 g (4 oz) fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
A little water
For the filling:
1 butternut squash
50 g (2 oz) butter and 1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper
Half a fresh red chilli (you can add more or less depending on how much you like chilli)
2 cloves of garlic
3–4 fresh sage leaves (or a teaspoon of dried sage)
100 ml (4 fl oz) double cream
75 g (3 oz) strong cheddar cheese (grated)
Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl. Add the fat and combine – either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
Peel and chop the onions. Peel and chop the butternut squash into small cubes.
Heat the butter and oil in your frying pan. It helps if the pan is good quality with a thick bottom as this will disseminate the heat evenly and prevent burning.
Add the chopped onions and cubed butternut squash to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook at a very low heat for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they are not burning and stir occasionally. They will be done when the onions and squash cubes are soft and, when tasted, are sweet.
Finely chop the chilli, garlic cloves and the sage leaves and add to the onion and squash mixture. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly.
Roll out your pastry and use it to line your quiche or flan dish. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”. This will stop the filling making it soggy.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the cream, and beat until combined. Finely grate the cheddar cheese and add to the mixture.
Now place the onion and squash mixture in your pastry case. Pour the egg mixture over it.
Place your quiche or flan dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
The tart can be eaten hot, room temperature or cold.
Filo Triangles with two fillings – “Feta Cheese and Mixed Herb” and “Roasted Butternut Squash, Chilli and Pinenut”
These filo triangles are really easy to make and can be served hot or cold. I generally make a batch of 14 filo Triangles – half with each filling as they complement each other. The “Feta Cheese and Mixed Herb” filling is creamy, salty and allows the flavour of your chosen herbs to sing out. The “Roasted Butternut Squash, Chilli and Pinenut” filling is rich and sweet with a buzz of heat with texture provided by the pinenuts.
Both versions make a great lunch or supper, and are really good in lunch boxes and on picnics. They are also fancy enough to be served for dinner parties or more formal occasions. If I am trying to impress, I serve them with a Green Salad with Edible Flowers. This is easy (and beautiful!). Just take salad leaves such as lambs lettuce, maybe add additional bits such as cucumber or avocado – I tend to stick to green things so flowers are obvious – and dress with vinaigrette. Scatter edible flowers, such as violas or primroses, on top.
These crispy filo triangles, filled with tasty vegetarian fillings, make a great lunch or supper.
Ingredients: Filo Triangles
1 packet of filo pastry (270 g or 7 sheets)
100 g butter (melted)
Filling: Roasted Butternut Squash, Chilli and Pinenut
Half a butternut squash
1 red onion
Salt and pepper
75 g feta cheese
Half a fresh red chilli (finely chopped)
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
50 g pinenuts (roasted)
Filling: Feta Cheese and Mixed Herb
75 g feta cheese
75 g cream cheese
A large bunch of mixed, fresh herbs to taste (parsley, basil, chives, fennel fronds)
I spring onion
Black pepper to taste
Method – Feta Cheese and Mixed Herb filling
Crumble the feta into a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and mix thoroughly.
Finely chop the mixed herbs and spring onion and add to the cheese mixture. Season with black pepper (no need for salt as feta is very salty).
Method – Roasted Butternut Squash, Chilli and Pinenut filling
Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
Peel your butternut squash and chop into small chunks (around 2 cm). (You will only need half of the squash for the filling but I generally roast it all and serve the other half of the chunks as an accompaniment.) Cut the red onion into quarters leaving the skin on. Put the squash chunks and onion pieces on a baking tray, sprinkle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 30 minutes until soft and slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Roughly mash the butternut squash. Remove the skin from the onion and roughly chop and combine with the butternut squash in a mixing bowl. Crumble the feta cheese into the bowl with the vegetables. Add the finely chopped red chilli, the crushed garlic and the roasted pinenuts.
Method – Assembling the Filo Triangles
Cut each filo sheet in half lengthways and brush all over with melted butter. Put a spoonful of the filling at one end of the filo strip, and fold into triangles so that it is encased in several layers of filo.
Put the filled filo triangles on a baking sheet and brush the top of each with melted butter.
When you have made all your filo triangles, return the baking tray to the oven and cook at 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.
Remove the filo triangles from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. They can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature.
Keywords: filo pastry triangles, butternut squash, feta, chilli