I have been enamored with kabocha squash ever since I first heard about them a few years ago. They look like squatty green pumpkins with a deep green skin and brilliant orange flesh inside. Their flavor is just as gorgeous as their appearance. Loving all things warm and creamy this winter, I decided to create a soup and I’m thrilled to share it with you today! Just a couple of notes before we jump right in.
1) I have designed this as a pressure cooker recipe since I made it in my Instant Pot, but you can certainly modify it. You may cook the squash any way you like, and then you’ll essentially puree it and add spices. Don’t fret if you don’t have a pressure cooker. Just roast the squash in the oven instead.
2) Please note that curry powder is actually a blend of spices, as are salt free seasonings, so you’ll find great variance between brands. I have experimented with different versions of this recipe and keep coming back to my original creation. Please try to make it using the spices indicated! If you find other successful versions, please share in the comments.
1 Kabocha squash, roughly 2 – 2.5 lbs
1 c water
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt-free seasoning (I’ve had the best luck with the Kirkland brand from Costco for this particular recipe)
2 tsp Penzey’s Sweet Curry powder
3/4 c Japanese sweet potato, cooked
3 c water
1 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp coconut extract
1/8 tsp cayenne powder
Wash the kabocha squash and place in pressure cooker whole, on top of the steamer rack. Add 1 c water to the pressure cooker. Place the lid on top, lock it, and cook for 7 mins. When the cooking is complete, remove the squash carefully. Let it cool until you can handle it safely. Cut off any hard parts – the stem, the blossom scar on the bottom, any hard spots that look like barnacles. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Discard seeds. Place the clean squash back in the Instant Pot, skin and all, with the steaming water still in there.
Add cinnamon, salt-free seasoning, Penzey’s Sweet curry powder, Japanese sweet potato, and 3 more cups of water. Place the lid on top, lock it, and cook for another 3 minutes. When the cooking is complete, remove the lid, and puree the mixture with an immersion blender. Add almond milk, coconut extract, and cayenne and blend until smooth, adding more water or almond milk to desired consistency.
Serve warm and enjoy.
I can’t believe I don’t have an “after” picture of this recipe, for all the times I’ve made it! I suppose part of the issue is with basic color theory. Mixing bright orange with deep green results in an unusual color that may not be appetizing. Don’t let that fool you – this soup is just divine! It’s packed with phytonutrients and flavor, and this combination of spices presents a taste that’s a little sweet at first, and then has a slight kick at the end. Feel free to add more cayenne if you want it truly spicy.