A new-to-me winter squash called Tetsukabuto inspired this soup, but any orange-fleshed, deeply flavored squash would work here. You’ll be pre-roasting the squash using the method in this link to yield the flesh for the soup. Don’t be tempted to use a lighter-fleshed squash like Acorn or to boil the squash; some of the deep flavor here comes from the concentration that happens when squash releases its moisture during roasting. Honeycrisp apples and a good bit of apple cider provide a strong apple note, while the top note here belongs entirely to fresh ginger – two tablespoons finely chopped. I kept the flavors in this soup simple, as an alternative to a more robust soup like this Curried Coconut Butternut Squash Soup. The result is a clean, bright, tangy soup — and it happens to be vegan. A garnish of caramelized shallots adds an unbeatable umami to the mix. (In the photo above, fresh pineapple sage blossoms are used for garnish, as well.)

If you like, you can substitute chicken broth for the water, but you’ll then want to drop the amount of salt down by 1 teaspoon. Alternative garnishes would be any kind of chopped, toasted nuts or pumpkin seeds; a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, or most any chopped or sliced fresh herb. 

Serves 6

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups diced (peeled and cored) Honeycrisp or other sweet-firm apple
  • 2 packed tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 3 cups (packed) roasted winter squash such as kabocha or red kuri (use method for Roasted Butternut)
  • Caramelized shallots (see technique below) for garnish


1. In a medium-large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, stir, and cover. Cook for about five minutes,  stirring occasionally.

2. Uncover, add the apples to the pot, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and both the onions and apples are starting to brown a bit, about 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add the fresh ginger and ground coriander, stir, and cook a minute to soften.

4. Add the squash and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Stir well.

5. Add the apple cider, the tamari, and 2 cups water to the pot. Stir well, cover loosely, bring to a gentle simmer, and cook for 18 to 20 minutes.

6. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes or so. Then use an immersion blender to puree the soup very thoroughly. You will have to blend it longer than you think to get a very smooth consistency.

7. Your soup will likely be thick at this point. Taste, add a cup of water, and blend well with the immersion blender. Taste again and add up to 2 cups more water, as long as the flavor is still very bright.   

8. Serve hot garnished with caramelized shallots.


To make caramelized shallots: In a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, add enough oil just to cover the bottom of the skillet. Peel and slice 1 to 2 large shallots crosswise. Add the rings to the skillet with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are golden and shrunken somewhat, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a paper-towel lined plate.