Creamy kabocha squash with a Yucatán-style combination of flavors, this Vegan Mexican Winter Squash Soup will warm your tummy on a chilly day, and provides vital nutrients too! With roasted winter squash, apples, and onion with a pepita-ancho paste and creamy coconut milk, it's vegan, gluten free, and ready in about an hour!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration and Yucatán Cooking
I recently purchased "Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition" by David Sterling. This book is the winner of the James Beard Foundation Best Cookbook of the Year Award, 2015, the James Beard Foundation Best International Cookbook Award, 2015, and The Art of Eating Prize for Best Food Book of the Year, 2015.
This amazing book is a culinary journey through the Yucátan Peninsula, documenting its places, its people, and its food. Until I moved to the Rio Grande Valley, with its plethora of tropical produce and seafood, I knew little of Yucatecan cuisine.
What constitutes Yucatán cooking?
From what I've been able to glean from my research, fresh ingredients, spice pastes, chiles, beans,tomatoes, and corn define the cuisine. I'm in love. See Yucatecan Cuisine for more information!
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- kabocha squash - You can substitute pumpkin or butternut squash.
- onion - Red, yellow, white, sweet will all work.
- 1 apple - Any variety is fine. You can substitute a pear. It adds natural sweetness to the soup.
- dried ancho chiles - Guajillo and New Mexico red chiles work as well.
- pepitas - You can buy them roasted, or you can buy them raw and toast them in a pan.
- achiote/annatto paste - This is a solid paste with achiote seeds, cumin, garlic, etc. that can be found in the Latino foods section of large markets.
- cinnamon stick
- Mexican oregano
- butter - Obviously, butter is not vegan. However, there are good plant-based butters available. You can also make vegan butter at home. You can also omit it and use additional olive or coconut oil.
- olive oil or coconut oil
- coconut milk - I use lite coconut milk, but full-fat is fine. Of course it adds fat and calories along with the extra delicious flavor! Keep in mind, this is NOT DAIRY-FREE MILK IN A CARTON!
- broth/stock - Use your preferred broth or stock. Obviously, you need vegetable broth if you desire a vegan soup.
- fresh herbs for garnish - We really like fresh mint, but cilantro or parsley are also good options.
Roast the vegetables - Preheat the oven to 400°. Arrange squash, apple, and onion on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until the squash is tender and has some caramelization on the edges. You should have some color on the apple and onion at this point as well. Allow the squash to cool before removing the peel.
Prepare the ancho chiles - Toast the chiles in a dry pan until fragrant. After removing the stems and seeds, cut into pieces, add the chiles in a medium-sized bowl. Cover with boiling water. Soak until softened (about 10 minutes).
Prepare the achiote/pepitas paste - Toast the pepitas if you are using raw. Add them to the bowl of a food processor along with the drained ancho chile pieces (reserve the liquid). Add the achiote/annatto paste, cinnamon stick, Mexican oregano, and salt.
Pulse until the mixture is thoroughly combined, adding the chile liquid to make a thick paste.
Sauté the aromatics - Sauté the onions and garlic in (vegan) butter and olive oil over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes.
After the onions and garlic have sautéed for a minute or two, add the roasted squash and recado rojo (achiote/chile paste). Continue to sauté another 2-3 minutes.
Add broth/stock. Bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat until just before serving.
8. Add coconut milk, then purée until smooth. Gently reheat if necessary.
To serve, ladle the squash soup into bowls, and garnish with fresh herbs. Enjoy!
Can I freeze this soup? Yes! Gently reheat and garnish with fresh herbs!
I can't get kabocha squash. What else can I use? Any winter squash will yield similar results - pumpkin, butternut, acorn, etc.
I try to reduce dairy, and I love the creamy flavor coconut milk provides. If you don't follow a plant-based diet or are dairy sensitive, you can substitute half n half. I'm all about using ingredients you have on hand! If you do it, let me know how it works out!
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When the weather begins to cool, I'm all about soups. They warm the tummy and the soul. I'd love to hear about your favorites, and maybe give them a try myself!