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Winter Squash Soup


Winter Squash Soup with Citrus-Mint Pesto

With their brilliant orange-colored flesh, winter squashes are the kings of winter vegetables. Whether roasted, pan-sautéed, cooked in soups or stews, or puréed, they’re delicately flavorful and imbue a lovely sweetness.

This recipe starts with a white wine reduction which enhances the wonderful natural sweetness, but also brings a bit of tang to the soup.

Topped with a swirl of the citrus-mint pesto, this soup has bright flavors and a silky-smooth texture, and is also gorgeous to look at.

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Note: The soup can be made up to 3 days ahead and reheated just before serving. It may need to be thinned with additional water, as the squash will absorb the liquids as it stands. Freezes well for up to 1 month.


For the citrus-mint pesto

  • 1 1/2 ounce Italian parsley, tough stems removed
  • 8 sprigs mint, stemmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground coarsely with mortar and pestle
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest, grated with a Microplane
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the soup

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized Vidalia or Spanish onion, quartered and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 pounds winter squash (such as butternut squash, kabocha, or sugar pumpkin), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice


For the citrus-mint pesto

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until very smooth, for 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

For the soup

Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and onion and sauté for 5-6 minutes until golden, stirring from time to time. Add the garlic and wine. Stir well and continue to sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the wine has evaporated and glazed the onions. Add the squash chunks, vegetable stock, water, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 30-35 minutes, until the squash is very tender.

Add the orange juice and purée the soup with an immersion blender or food processor until silky-smooth. Thin the soup with water to the desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning, if needed. Remove from heat and set aside.

Ladle the soup into soup bowls. Place a spoonful of the pesto in the center of each bowl and serve immediately.