Food & Drink

Lightly Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Excerpted from Leanne Brown’s Good and Cheap (Workman, 2015). 

Squash is a wonderful vegetable for soup: It’s flavorful and has a divinely smooth texture when cooked and pureed. Serve this soup to people who think they don’t like squash or curry, and you’ll change some minds. You can substitute any winter squash for the butternut—I just like butternut because it’s faster to peel and chop than its many cousins.

This recipe is $1.50/serving, and $6 total.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Lightly Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Print Recipe
Serves: 4


  • 1 butternut squash or equivalent amount of other winter squash (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can coconut milk, 2 tablespoons reserved for garnish
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sour cream (optional)
  • chopped scallions (optional)
  • chopped fresh cilantro (optional)



To prepare the squash, peel off the tough skin with a potato peeler. Cut the squash in half lengthwise with a sharp chef’s knife, then scoop out the seeds and goop. (You can save the seeds for a tasty snack later, if you like—see page 52.)


Next, slice off the stem and the very bottom of the squash and throw them away. Place each half of the squash flat side down on a cutting board. Chop each half into ½-inch slices, then cut each slice into cubes.


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes.


Add the cubed squash, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne, and stir it all together. Put a lid on the pot and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the coconut milk and 3 cups of water and stir.


Bring the soup to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and let it cook until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed. Soup usually needs a fair bit of salt to bring out the flavors, so be generous.


If you have an immersion blender, you can puree the soup in the pot. If you have a stand blender, wait until the soup has cooled before transferring it to the blender. Puree until smooth, then taste again and add any more salt and pepper if needed. You can enjoy the soup as is or serve it with a drizzle of the reserved coconut milk or a dollop of sour cream, plus some chopped scallions or cilantro.

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