A fall soup to remember, this healthy butternut squash soup is bursting with Moroccan flavors, roasted garlic, fresh ginger, a hint of goat cheese and all the best toppings! It is perfect as an appetizer for Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the Holidays festivities as the flavor is even better the next day! Serve it with a warm and fluffy homemade naan for the ultimate fall treat.
I originally found the recipe from Half Baked Harvest a few years ago, and it has opened a whole new world to me. Sounds a bit dramatic, doesn’t it, but it was one of those recipes that made me love cooking and trying new food. I’ve just done a few minor changes, upping the spice game and down playing the goat cheese just a tad.
The cold coconut milk paired with chopped ginger is such a good addition to the hearty, warm and yummy soup. I’ve actually started using cold ginger coconut milk on almost all my hearty, fall soups because why not? Both this curry coconut carrot soup and this pumpkin sage brown butter soup have the ginger coconut milk and if you like this soup I can totally recommend those as well!
What makes this butternut squash soup healthy?
Soups are very often healthy as they as so full of nutrients from the vegetables. This soup is no exception, especially if you opt for light coconut milk (more on that below) and low sodium vegetable broth. Some health benefits of this soup:
- Butternut squash is low in calories yet high in nutrients such as vitamin A, C, magnesium and potassium. All this is great to aid weight loss, promotes eye health and can prevent heart
- Garlic is not only the most delicious thing, it is also packed with manganese, vitamin B6, C, selenium and fiber. Garlic can combat sickness, reduce blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels and so much more.
- Cinnamon has medicinal and soothing properties, with antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory.
- Coconut milk helps fight viruses and infections, and improves digestion, long story short. However, it is still a lot of fat and calories and so I often use a light one. Remember that even though ingredients are high in calories, they can still be good for you (in moderation)! Coconut milk is rich with vitamins and minerals.
- Chevre has a high level of protein, along with a powerful combination of calcium, phosphorus and copper which is great for healthy bones and can aid weight loss with its healthy fats.
- Ginger: reduces nausea, inflammation and pain. Ginger is also great for the digestion, and can relieve flus and colds. It can also reduce cholesterol, blood clotting and helps maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
In summary – eat it without feeling bad about it. Healthy food can also be delicious.
The question of full-fat or light coconut milk
And in line with the health benefits, there’s the question of the coconut milk. Yes, full-fat coconut milk has a lot of fat as I mentioned above. I think using full-fat coconut milk is great in many occasions and I often use it in this soup. It gets a little thicker and creamier.
However, if you are watching your fat and calorie intake, I recommend choosing the light coconut milk. It will still be very much delicious!
Why roasted garlic?
Speaking of delicious, roasted garlic is beyond DELICIOUS. Roasting the garlic gives it a whole new dimension and depth of flavor. It gets richer, sweeter and more mellow. You can eat a whole head of garlic without the sharp, overpowering taste of raw garlic.
It takes a while to roast garlic, however, you can make the rest of the soup while this is roasting, so it’s just a win-win process. And it is so easy so it’s totally worth it.
If you want to shorten the time to make this soup, you can use 2 garlic cloves along with the bell peppers. I promise it will be delicious, but you will not gain the extra depth from the roasted garlic.
What to serve with this Moroccan butternut squash soup?
You don’t really need toppings to make this simple butternut squash soup delicious, but come on, toppings always make soup better. If you were to choose just two toppings, I would definitely recommend fresh pomegranate arils and the ginger coconut cream.
However, the extra labor in chopping up some fresh herbs and finding the jar of pepitas are so, so worth it too. Pepitas are just green pumpkin seeds, in case that is unclear! You can roast them in a dry pan for extra flavor, but I usually don’t do that.
Another thing that is not optional, is warm naan. Naan is life and if you want a Middle Eastern spin on your naan I can recommend trying these za’atar and goat cheese naan (also with pomegranates!). Store bought is fine, and so is regular fluffy Indian naan with cilantro and more garlic.
Sometimes, when I’m really hungry, I also pan fry a cubed chicken breast with salt and pepper and serve it along with the soup.
How to serve it for Thanksgiving, Christmas (or a party in general)
I know Thanksgiving can be hectic, and anything that can be made ahead is great for the big day. I’ve made a complete Thanksgiving for Two dinner, with schedules and grocery lists. However, one thing that I haven’t really included, is an appetizer.
If you want to serve this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving or Christmas, simply make it the day before. Store covered in the fridge. You can also make the ginger cream and prepare the pomegranate arils beforehand. Store the pomegranates in a sealed container and cover the ginger cream.
Once ready to serve, re-heat the soup, divide among small cups or mugs and top with the ginger cream. Either place all the toppings on the table, or serve it finished with toppings. Don’t forget the naan!
How to make this Moroccan butternut squash soup
The complete recipe instructions can be found in the printable recipe card. Here’s just a quick run-down of the recipe to get an overview:
- Roast the garlic with a little oil for 45 minutes on 400F (200C). Cool and squeeze out the garlic paste.
- Sautée bell pepper for 5 minutes, then add butternut squash and spices for 5 more minutes.
- Add in coconut milk and veggie broth. Simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Combine coconut milk and chopped ginger. Refrigerate.
- Blend the soup, add in chevre and roasted garlic and give it a taste.
- If needed, re-heat the soup.
- Again, don’t forget the toppings and naan.
Enjoy as an appetizer or as a main course! Scroll down a little to find the printable recipe card.
Did you like this butternut squash soup? Here’s more soup recipes I think you would love:
- Pumpkin Sage Brown Butter Soup (even more fall flavored!)
- Skinny Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
- Homemade Roasted Tomato Soup with Herbs
- Curry Coconut Carrot Soup (vegan)
- Thai Lemongrass Noodle Soup (also vegan)
- Not a soup, but I think you would love the ginger coconut lentil curry as well!
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year.
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This recipe was originally published on Oct 23rd 2017, but updated on Oct 26th 2020 for better photos and content.
Healthy Moroccan Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 head garlic or 1 clove if not roasting
- 1 tbsp canola oil or any neutral oil
- 1 green bell pepper cut into chunks
- 1 medium butternut squash 600g, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 tsp spicy curry powder or not spicy!
- 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper optional
- 2 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 dried thyme
- 14 oz coconut milk 1 can (400g), light or full-fat works
- 2-3 cups vegetable broth 500-750ml
- 2 oz chevre 60g, crumbled goat cheese (or feta)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Toppings: cilantro, pepitas, pomegranate arils, naan
Ginger Coconut Cream
- 1/2 cup coconut milk 125ml, light or full-fat
- 2-3 tbsp chopped ginger or to taste
- Start by preheating your oven to 400F (200C).
- Roasted garlic: chop off the top part of the head, so that the cloves can breathe. Peel of any excess dry skin and place in a heatproof bowl, pour a tiny bit of olive oil on top and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Roast for 45 minutes, until the garlic is golden brown and soft. Cool for 5 minutes and squeeze the garlic paste out of its skin.
- Meanwhile, make the soup: Add canola oil to a large soup pot on medium heat, then add the green peppers and fry for around 5 minutes, or until they're soft. Add in the butternut squash and all the spices. Cook for an additional 5 minutes and then pour in the coconut milk and vegetable broth. Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes (until the butternut is tender).
- The coconut ginger cream: Chop the ginger rather finely and combine with the coconut cream or milk, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Blend the soup: When the butternut squash is tender, add in the chevre (crumbled goat cheese) and the roasted garlic paste. Give it a stir, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool slightly. Pour into a blender and blend until smooth and pour back into the pot to re-heat. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- To assemble: divide soup between bowls, top with fresh cilantro (or thyme), pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), pomegranate arils and of course the ginger cream. If you think the ginger cream is too thick, add a splash of water. Serve with warm naan.