Warm up your winter days with a bowl of this hearty winter vegetables soup with butternut squash and cauliflower, a nutritious and filling meal the whole family will love.
When the temperatures drop below freezing, an insatiable craving for comfort food sets in. This winter vegetable soup fits snugly into that category. Warm and nourishing, but surprisingly light. I often make a big batch of this soup and eat it for lunch throughout the week. It’s a great way to work some veggies into my mid-day meal. Cheese and crackers on the side, or a slice of rosemary olive oil bread fills me up.
There’s no need to add cream to this winter vegetable soup to make it thick and hearty. After cooking down the vegetables, simply puree a few cups of the mixture and add it back to the rest of the soup. The flavors are fantastic, rich with the sweetness of butternut squash and earthiness of cauliflower, and punched up with a shake of dried chile flakes.
Tips for making this recipe
- Cook the aromatics: This soup starts by sautéing a classic mirepoix, which is a combination of onion, carrot and celery. It provides a wonderful, savory base for any soup or stew. Garlic cloves are also thrown in for extra flavor.
- Tomato paste in a tube: Tomato paste in a tube is my go-to for tomato paste, unless a recipe calls for a whole 6-ounce can. Buying it in a tube reduces waste and means you can avoid freezing extras from a can. I buy tomato paste in a tube at Trader Joe’s, but many grocery stores carry other brands.
- Choose your butternut squash: You have a couple of choices. Either peel, seed and chop a butternut squash. Be sure to have a strong peeler, like this one. Alternatively, buy pre-chopped butternut squash, which is what I do when I’m feeling lazy. You can find packages in the produce section in most grocery stores.
- Use Good-Quality Vegetable Broth: Use homemade or store-bought. Just be sure it’s one you like the taste of because that flavor will shine through in the soup.
- Blending Options: While the recipe suggests partially blending the soup for a creamy yet chunky texture, you can adjust the blending to your preference. If you prefer a completely smooth soup, blend all of it. If you want it chunkier, use an immersion blender to control the level of blending.
- Spice it Up: If you like a little heat, consider adding a pinch of dried chili flakes to the soup for some extra flavor and warmth.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
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How to blend soup
This soup is partially blended. You could certainly puree the entire soup until really smooth, like my Moroccan Carrot Soup. However, I really like the combination of the blended broth with chunks of tender cauliflower and butternut squash. The soup has a creamy texture, but you’re also surprised with bursts of flavor when you bite into one of the cooked vegetables.
How do you blend soup? Since just a portion of the soup is blended, I prefer to transfer a few cups of the mixture to a blender and puree it until almost smooth. If you prefer, use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup, leaving pieces of the vegetables intact.
If using a regular blender, cool the mixture for about 10 minutes. Blend the mixture in two batches if necessary. The liquid will still be quite hot, so occasionally release the steam (while the blender is off) to avoid the lid blowing off the top of the blender. Blend until smooth.
What to serve it with
This butternut squash vegetable soup is a satisfying meal on its own, but it can also be paired with a variety of sides or accompaniments. Here are some ideas:
- Crusty Bread: Serve with a warm, crusty bread, such as an olive oil quick bread or a baguette, for a complete and comforting meal.
- Cheese and Crackers: Create a cheese platter with a selection of your favorite cheeses and some crispy crackers.
- Salad: A simple green salad with a homemade dressing can complements the soup perfectly. Try my Greek Salad Dressing or Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing.
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A classic Grilled Turkey Sandwich pairs wonderfully with a bowl of this soup.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can prepare this winter vegetable soup in advance. After cooking, allow it to cool completely before storing it in airtight containers. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, making it a convenient option for meal prepping.
Freezing: This soup freezes really well. Let the soup cool completely, then divided it into airtight freezer-proof containers like these ones, or divide it into resealable freezer bags.
If using plastic freezer bags, first seal the bags after filling, then arrange on a baking sheet. Freeze them on the baking sheet so that you’re left with flat bags of soup that are stackable. It’s a great space-saving trick to keep your freezer organized.
Reheating: When ready to enjoy, thaw the frozen soup in the refrigerator overnight or use the defrost setting on your microwave. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave until it's hot and ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions:
While butternut squash is the star of this soup, you can experiment with other winter squashes like acorn or kabocha. They will add a different flavor profile but should work well in the recipe. To replicate the sweetness of the butternut squash, try substituting with sweet potatoes.
Yes, this winter vegetable soup is both vegan and gluten-free.
Absolutely! You can customize this soup by adding other winter vegetables like sweet potatoes, parsnips, or even some leafy greens like kale for extra nutrients and flavor.
Other Soup Recipes You'll Love
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Winter Vegetable Soup Recipe with Butternut Squash & Cauliflower
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 clove garlic minced
- 2 medium carrots cut into thin half-circles
- 2 medium celery stalks thinly sliced
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ + ⅛ teaspoon dried chile flakes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 ¼ pound butternut squash about 4 cups
- ¾ pound cauliflower about 3 cups
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup minced Italian parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion just starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, dried chile flakes and salt. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for one additional minute.
- Stir in the butternut squash, cauliflower, vegetable broth, water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, partially cover the saucepan and cook until the squash and cauliflower are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Let the soup cool for 10 minutes, then transfer 3 cups of the soup to a blender. Puree until almost smooth, then stir the mixture back into the soup.
- Stir in the parsley, add salt and pepper (if desired) and serve.
This post was first published on November 11, 2019. Updated on November 7, 2023.
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