It’s 2021, and a Red Kuri squash soup loaded with tons of cream and butter is just not cool anymore…
Plus if you make this for Thanksgiving, there’s bound to be a vegan or two so why not make something for everyone.
This squash soup was born out of my desire for a lighter, more 2021-ish, David Attenborough-approved, squash soup.
As I’ve always been impressed by the naturally vegan Ajo Blanco soup, I experimented with a more autumn-friendly, squash hybrid.
I couldn’t be happier with the result – It’s light, 100% plant-based but still ultra-creamy and full of squash flavour. I also used the squash peels which are normally thrown away for some extra “free” squash flavour.
What is Ajo Blanco?
Ajo Blanco is a Spanish-style cold soup consisting of blanched almonds, bread, garlic and white wine vinegar. Nicknamed the “white gazpacho”, this soup gets an ultra-creamy texture from the pureed bread and almonds.
It always amazes me how such a simple soup with very few ingredients can be so delicious.
And in this recipe, the Ajo Blanco becomes the perfect base for plant-based Red Kuri squash soup.
Red Kuri Squash Soup Key Ingredients and Substitutions
Here’s the breakdown of key ingredients and substitutions for this soup:
Red Kuri Squash – This squash has a nice flavour with soft skin that makes a delicious squash stock. You can use almost any other squash for this recipe including pumpkin, kabocha or butternut squash.
Almonds – Marcona almonds are ideal because they add extra nuttiness to the soup. Soaking the almonds overnight helps them break down easier in the blender and results in an ultra-creamy soup. For the soup base, I used regular blanched almonds (because I didn’t have enough Marcona almonds) which still makes a great soup.
White bread – The white bread is classic in Ajo Blanco and helps to thicken the soup. In this recipe, the bread is added for extra creaminess and is not really needed to thicken the soup as the squash will thicken it. If you don’t want to use bread you can also use extra almonds instead.
Squash Stock – The trim from the squash which is normally thrown away has a surprising amount of flavour and adds a lot of “free” squash flavour. If you don’t feel like making the stock you can also replace it with almond milk or vegetable stock.
White Wine Vinegar – This is traditional in Ajo Blanco and makes the soup much more interesting. Plain white vinegar will not taste as nice but apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar will make great substitutions.
Am I missing anything? Let me know in the comments.
How to Make this Red Kuri Squash Soup
Here’s the quick summary for this recipe:
- Soak the almonds overnight in cold water.
- Peel the squash but save the trimmings for the squash stock.
- Dice the squash into small dice.
- Toss with oil, salt and lay out flat on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 15 minutes at 375°F/190°C.
- Meanwhile cover the squash trimmings with about 900 ml cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer while the squash roasts.
- After 15 minutes in the oven, remove the aluminum foil from the tray and continue to roast for 10 more minutes.
- Add the diced bread and roast for another 5 minutes.
- Strain the squash stock – it should yield 750 ml.
- Sweat the chili and garlic in a big pan with the olive oil until fragrant but not browned.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, along with the strained almonds, and the 750ml of squash stock. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
- Blend in batches until ultra smooth.
- Garnish with toasted almonds, black pepper and lots of extra virgin olive oil.
Key Tools For this Recipe
High-Powered Blender – If you own a high-powered blender like a Breville Super Q or a Vitamix, this is when it shines. With the proper blending, you’ll get a smooth and velvety soup but not so much with a hand blender. Still, you can always pass it through a fine-mesh strainer if your blender is not good.
Replace the white bread with 50g more almonds.
No, but it will make the soup smoother and creamier. If you don’t soak your almonds, then cook them a little longer in the pot at the end.
1-2 tsp of honey will add a nice sweetness to this soup but I prefer it without.
Red Kuri Squash Soup – Squash Ajo Blanco (Vegan)
- 620 g Red Kuri Squash (1 medium squash)
- 13 g vegetable oil (1 tbsp)
- 1 g salt (¼ tsp)
- 100 g peeled almonds, soaked overnight
- 38 g white bread, crusts removed and diced (about 2 slices)
- 50 g olive oil (4 tbsp)
- 15 g garlic, peeled and sliced (about 4 cloves)
- 0.5 g chili flakes (1/16th tsp)
- 14 g white wine vinegar (3 tsp)
- 750 ml cold water
- 1 g salt (¼ tsp)
- Soak the peeled almonds overnight in the fridge in cold water. (You can also skip this step, but the soup may not be that smooth)
- Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
- Peel the squash but save the skin. Place the skin and any squash trimmings in a small pot. Discard the seeds.
- Cut the squash into even size pieces.
- Toss the squash with the oil and salt from the "to roast" ingredient section. Mix well in a bowl and spread out flat on a tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 15 minutes at 375°F/190°C.
- While the squash is baking, cover the squash trimmings with about 750ml of cold water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
- After 15 minutes in the oven, remove the aluminum foil from the roasting tray and continue to roast for another 10 minutes.
- Then add the diced white bread and continue to roast for 5 minutes. (30 minutes total)
- Meanwhile, strain the squash stock with a fine-mesh strainer. You should have about 700ml of liquid, if not add more water.
- In a large pot add the olive oil, garlic and chili. Heat for 1-2 minutes over medium heat until it smells fragrant but without browning.
- Strain the soaked almonds and add them plus 700ml of the squash stock and the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Blend on high for 2 minutes or until super smooth. Work in batches to avoid over-working the blender. If using a low-powered blender, you may want to strain the soup otherwise the almonds may be too gritty. A high-powered blender like a Vitamix won't have this problem.
- Serve the soup hot with toasted Marcona almonds, cracked black pepper and lots of extra virgin olive oil over top. Enjoy!