My Spiced Butternut, Red Pepper and Carrot Soup

"I use pre-cut, cubed squash when I can find it. You can also use fresh butternut squash. (The prep time assumes you are using pre-cut squash.) I use almond milk in this recipe (I like Almond Breeze) instead of cream or half and half. You can save a little time by roughly chopping the onion and garlic, because the soup will be pureed later."
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  • 1. If you are using a fresh butternut squash, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Peel it and cut it into 1-inch chunks.
  • 2. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper. Cook until it softens, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Regulate the heat and do not let the vegetables brown.
  • 3. While the onions are cooking, peel and cube the zucchini.
  • 4. Add the cubed squash, carrots, zucchini and broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook at a gentle boil until the squash is fork-tender, about 25 minutes (but this depends on the size of your veggie cubes).
  • 5. Puree the soup in several stages in a blender. For safety's sake, since the soup is hot, do not fill the jar more than about 1/4 full each time, and blend on a low speed, covering the lid with an oven mitt. The soup should be completely smooth and a little thicker than heavy cream.
  • 6. Rinse your soup pot to remove any small chunks of food and strain it if you like (I do not strain).
  • 7. Heat the soup through again and season to taste with cumin, paprika, pepper and salt.
  • 8. Add the vinegar and/or cayenne pepper, if desired.
  • 9. Add some almond milk, a little at a time, to give soup a creamier consistency. (Instead of almond milk or Almond Breeze, you could probably use soy or rice milk or half and half).
  • 10. This soup tastes fine when it has been reheated. The soup will thicken as it chills, so you may want to add extra spice right at the start, if you know you will be re-heating some later. You will need extra Almond Breeze to thin it out after it has been refrigerated. I have kept it in the fridge for as long as 4 days and it was fine.
  • 11. Because the veggies make the broth very flavorful, you can also use half chicken broth and half water (2 cups of each) with good results.

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