If you’re looking for a flavorful, healthy, plant-based soup to add to your menu, turn to this recipe for Easy Kabocha Squash Soup with Miso. Based on Japanese food traditions, including kabocha squash, miso, and tofu, this recipe is super easy to make, plus it’s healthy, light, vegan, and gluten-free. All you have to do is microwave the squash until it’s tender, then blend it up with miso, ginger, and plant-based milk, and reheat it until warm and bubbly. Then top with cubed tofu, green onions, and chili oil (if desired). So easy, and so good!
While I’m not a true expert in Japanese food traditions, I have had a chance to visit this beautiful country, learn more about the food culture, and taste many regional dishes, including those featuring kabocha squash (check out the photo below). It was a memory I will never forget. Japan has a variety of beautiful, local vegetables that form such an important part of the healthy, traditional Japanese diet, where people have one of the longest lifespans among developed nations. These Japanese squash are very prominent in Asian cooking, and I’ve been loving them in my home cooking ever since. If you want to learn more about traditional Japanese diets, check out the work of dietitian Mayuko Okai.
For this recipe, the Japanese cooking traditions of miso soup with tofu and Japanese squash come together to create a gorgeous color and flavor. Best of all, the recipe has only 7 ingredients, and is quite simple to prepare because fewer ingredients means easier cooking, which I’m all for! It’s hearty and nutrient-rich, too. And I have to say it is scrumptious—my family gave it a thumbs up. If you can’t find a kabocha squash, feel free to swap it for acorn, butternut, carnival, or delicata—any winter squash will do.
What is kabocha squash?
Well, if you’ve ever seen a green, knobby squash at your farmers market or supermarket, you’ve just gotten a glimpse of kabocha squash, a type of Japanese winter squash variety from the species Cucurbita maxima. With a deep green peel, and a bright orange flesh, kabocha squash (also called Japanese pumpkin) adds so much power to your menu. You can use this squash like you would any winter squash—it’s delicious roasted, mashed, and diced into stir-fries. And it’s also particularly lovely in soups, such as this beautiful, orange, creamy, pureed soup.
How to cook kabocha squash?
In this recipe I recommend microwaving the kabocha squash after you chop it into sections, but you can also boil or roast it until tender.
Just slice the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and slice into sections (with peels remaining). Then microwave in a dish with a small amount of water about 10 minutes, steam in a pot with water and a lid about 20 minutes, or roast with a small amount of water in the baking dish for about 30 minutes—until tender.
What is miso?
Miso is a traditional Japanese food that is essentially a fermented paste that’s made by inoculating a mixture of soybeans with a mold called koji. Miso may be used in many dishes that add an umami flavor to to foods and recipes. But it’s especially good in soup. Is miso soup gluten-free? Yes, if it is prepared in a facility that doesn’t have cross contamination. Is miso soup vegan? Yes, it certainly is!
This kabocha squash soup pairs the delicious flavors of miso soup into one delicious, plant-based, gluten-free soup you can whip up in under 20 minutes with only 7 ingredients.
- Slice kabocha squash into large pieces (unpeeled), scoop out seeds, and place in a microwave safe dish. Cover with 1/2 cup water and place in the microwave*. Cook for 10 minutes (or until tender).
- Allow to cool slightly, then scoop out the tender flesh from the peel with a spoon.
- Place squash flesh in the container of a blender. Add vegetable broth, plant-based milk, miso, and ginger and process until smooth (about 2 minutes)
- Add the soup to a medium pot and heat until bubbling (about 5 minutes).
- Divide soup among 4 small bowls (about 1 1/4 cups per serving) and top with 1/4 cup tofu, 1 tablespoon green onions, and a drizzle of chili oil (optional). Serve immediately.
*Instead of microwaving squash, you can also roast it by placing pieces in a baking dish with a small amount of water and baking at 350 F for about 35 minutes until tender. You can steam it in a large pot covered with water and a lid for about 25 minutes until tender.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Asian, American
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 156
- Sugar: 6 g
- Sodium: 453 mg
- Fat: 6 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 16 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 12 g
Keywords: vegan miso soup, kabocha squash soup, roasted kabocha squash, how to cook kabocha squash, kabocha soup
For other plant-based soup recipes, check out these:
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