the best butternut squash soup you’ll ever have

You think I might be kidding… but I made this soup twice last week!  I’ve been trying to make more soups and cook vegetarian dinners four times a week, so that might be part of what made this recipe so perfect for us.  I think also that the additions of garam marsala (a classic Indian spice blend)*, yogurt, and lime hit the spot for Elliott and me… and Lena too, who is learning to eat her curries along with us. 

And of course, the perfect side for a hearty soup is always warm whole wheat biscuits drizzled with honey… yum! 

Here’s the recipe with my adaptations.  Original recipe from

Butternut Squash Soup
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter  
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks  
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots  
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery (halve lengthwise then slice crosswise)  
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic  
  • Kosher salt  
  • 1 tsp. garam masala (see below for my recipe)
  • 5 cups homemade vegetable broth or low-salt chicken broth  
  • 3 Tbs. apple cider  
  • 2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (equivalent to 4 cups when diced)
  • 1/4 cup thick whole-milk yogurt, preferably Greek  
  • Freshly ground black pepper  
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice  
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro  


  1.  In a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium-low heat. When hot, add the shallots, leeks, celery, garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir well, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the aromatics are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  2. Stir in 1 tsp. kosher salt and the garam masala.
  3. Add the butternut squash, vegetable broth, and cider, stir well, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender and the soup is full-flavored, 7 to 20 minutes.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and let the soup cool for 5 minutes. 
  5. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender (fill the jar no more than half full and vent the lid, topping it with a folded kitchen towel to prevent hot splashes). Wipe the pan clean and put the soup back into the pan.
  6. Add the yogurt and 1/2 tsp. of the lime juice. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings with more salt, pepper, or lime juice as needed.
  7. Ladle into 8 soup bowls and garnish each serving with 1 to 2 tsp. chopped cilantro.


*Our commissary (military grocery store) here in Sicily doesn’t carry garam marsala, so I looked up recipes and made my own mix from spices I already had.  I’ve included the recipe I used and enjoyed below.
 Garam Marsala
original recipe from
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

 Mix all spices together and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

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4 Responses to the best butternut squash soup you’ll ever have

  1. Abigail Ibarra December 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    I have made butternut squash soup a couple of times this fall with the abundance of squash that we got from our CSA. I wish I had had this recipe! We still have a couple hanging out, but they’re pretty old by now. I might chance it and give it a try- I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  2. Stacie December 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    That is soooo weird that you made garam masala. I was JUST looking for the same thing! My mom actually found a recipe for me, but I found a bottle of garam masala in the spice section of my local Wal-Mart. (go figure!)

    Thank you for this recipe, I am looking forward to trying it!

  3. Sarah Boschung December 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    Sounds delicious! I will be trying this recipe soon!

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