Kabocha Squash and Fennel Soup

Kabocha Squash and Fennel Soup with toasted Pumpkin Seeds


Yes, it is the end of the winter squash season here, but I just couldn’t help myself when I heard the last of the Kabocha squash on the gourd shelf speaking to me – “Make soup! Make soup!”  I’ve been lusty at all of the wonderful soups over at Cooking’s Good, so I knew it was time to make my own.  Last winter I made this soup of Kabocha squash and fennel.  Bobby and I both loved it; I shared my recipe with my brother and sister-in-law and they both gave it the highest of marks. So I decided to make it again last weekend and share it with you.

I discovered Kabocha squash, or Japanese squash, last winter when my produce guy recommended it. As we were talking another shopper picked up a couple of Kabochas so I asked her how she cooked them. She recommended roasting with the seeds in and then using the squash in the same manner as you would use other winter squash.  I did exactly that and she was spot on! The pulp was creamy and sweet and had a flavor like no other winter squash.  I was in love.  I’ve only just begun to experiment with the ingredient, but everything I’ve tried thus far as been excellent! At the end of this post I’ve provided links to other Kabocha squash recipes.



Kabocah Squash and Fennel soup


Kitchen Notes

Kabocha substitutes – You can make this soup with butternut squash, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes.

Roasting the squash – I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t remove the seeds from squash before roasting.  I find that they are much easier to remove after roasting.  Also, some things that I’ve read say that they add flavor during the roasting process. Not quite sure about that one, but it makes sense.

Making this a weekday soup – On Sunday you could roast the squash while doing other things around the house.  Once done and cooled, remove the seeds, scoop out the pulp and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the soup. The soup comes together in less than 45 minutes once the squash is roasted.  You could also just make the soup on the weekend and have it a couple of times during the week.

Toppings – I’ve tried a variety of toppings and the best by far are toasted pumpkin seeds.  Peanuts made it taste too much like peanut butter soup, toasted coconut flakes died in the soup and didn’t add much to the flavor, and cheese didn’t work at all.

Vegan – To make this soup vegan, use vegetable broth, omit the butter and increase olive oil to 2 Tbsp.


Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

You’ve probably figured out by now that I buy a lot of pumpkin seeds (or pepitas). Bobby and I love them and could snack on them all day.  My favorites are the Sweet and Spicy Pepitas that I posted previously. Bobby’s favorites are just pan toasted like the ones in the picture and what I recommend for this soup.

To toast, heat a small, heavy skillet over a medium heat.  Add 2 to 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds. Toast the seeds by flipping them in the pan about every minute or so until toasted.  Be aware that pumpkin seeds will swell and pop.  Some get so excited that they pop right out of the pan.  Once toasted transfer to a glass dish. Use as a topping for salads and soups.


More information and recipes on Kabocha Squash

Kabocha Pork Stir Fry Recipe by Just One Cookbook

Steamed Kabocha Cakes by Roti n Rice

Spiced Rice and Squash by Roti n Rice

Pinakbet by Wok With Ray

Thai Red Curry with Kabocha Squash by Eat, Live, Run


This recipe has been linked to the following blog hops.  Click on the links for more delicious recipes!

Weekend Potluck, Fusion Friday, Sunday Night Soup Night, Meatless Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday, Gallery of Favorites, Tuesday’s Tasty Tidbits, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Midweek Fiesta, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, This Chick Cooks Recipe Swap, Full Plate Thursday, Gluten-Free Wednesday

This recipe made the FoodBuzz Top 9 on March 12, 2012.  Thanks to all my supporters!

This recipe was featured by Gluten Free Pantry on March 21, 2012

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72 Responses to “Kabocha Squash and Fennel Soup”

  1. Jacki C. May 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    I made this soup for dinner tonight and absolutely loved it. Butternut squash is the common default for soups, but I actually like kabochas quite a lot more and was glad to find a soup that so deliciously put to use the kabocha sitting on my dining room table. The fennel and spices added great dimension. I threw in some roasted garnet yams as well because I had them on hand. Will definitely make this again!

    • mj May 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      Jacki – I’m SO glad that you enjoyed it and that’s great that you actually had a kabocha squash! Thanks so much for letting me know! I really appreciate your feedback. Have a great week!

  2. Magic of Spice April 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    What a beautiful soup…the color is just gorgeous! And love the combination :)

  3. Alana March 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    What a wonderful soup! The toasted seeds on top make it look so, so elegant. :)

  4. balvinder ( Neetu) March 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    I make soups whenever we want to eat light no matter what the season is. I still see some of the winter squashes in the market. It was smart of you to use it for soup. the color looks very pretty. i did make sweet and spicy pepitas after reading your recipe. Its little tricky to roast ,I burnt half of them.

  5. sally March 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Looks delicious! I need to find a kabocha squash.

  6. Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry March 20, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Incredible soup recipe! I am featuring this great soup this week on Allergy-Free Wednesdays!

  7. Alea March 19, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    I enjoy finding new ways to use the excessive amount of squash I grow each year. :) This soup sounds delicious. I love the idea of pairing the squash with the flavorful fennel.

  8. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles March 18, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    How did I miss this delightful soup… I’ve only experimented with japanese squash once or twice so this is wonderful inspiration; your photos are luminous MJ and I just love the addition of toasted pumpkin seed to the fennel/squash combination.

  9. Swathi March 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    Love this squash soup. We make curries with them. Nice click too, Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

  10. Miz Helen March 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    This is a beautiful soup, that we will just love. I have fresh Fennel in the garden right now, so it is a perfect time to try this recipe. Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
    Miz Helen

  11. Sissi March 16, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    What a wonderful way to end the pumpkin/squash season! The combination with fennel sounds very interesting.

  12. Michi March 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    I love squash/sweet potato/carrot pureed-type soups with topping! It’s what makes me most happy in Winter. :) (And pumpkin seeds are my favorite of all seeds, too). I recently made the last of my pureed soups until Winter rolls around again. Now, time for refreshing salads. ;)

  13. Debbie @ Easy Natural Food March 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    What a beautiful soup, It looks delicious! I’ve used kombucha squash in soup before and it really does have a wonderful flavor and texture. Thanks for sharing this with Sunday Night Soup Night, look forward to seeing you again soon!

  14. Michelle @ The Willing Cook March 15, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Beautiful!!!! I’d love to try this. Thanks for sharing it this week at Allergy-Free Wednesdays! As always, we hope to see you back again next week.
    ~Michelle, AFW Hostess

  15. Cucina49 March 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    The color on this is just spectacular! Love the presentation with the garnish of toasted pepitas.

  16. France @ Beyond The Peel March 14, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Fennel and Squash! Yum. What a lovely combination that has me totally intrigued. Thank you for sharing it with the group at Whole Food Wednesdays.

    I look forward to your yummy recipes again next week.


  17. Tina (PinayInTexas) March 14, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    I can imagine the wonderful flavor in your soup, MJ! This is something I should try! I love kabocha squash but I haven’t tried roasting and making it into soup!

  18. Cajunville March 14, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    MJ, this soup is full of color and very inviting. We have fresh fennel and this soup is perfect for the fronds. Squash is now on the shopping list.

  19. April @ The 21st Century Housewife March 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    I have seen kabocha squash and wondered what to do with them – next time I will buy some! Thank you for sharing your delicious soup, and also the other squash recipes you linked to. I like the idea of the fennel and the seeds garnishing the soup as well. It sounds just wonderful.

  20. Emily @Cleanliness March 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    A truly gorgeous recipe!

  21. Food Jaunts March 13, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Love the addition of tumeric to the squash soup! This looks like it has such excellent flavor.

  22. Viviane Bauquet Farre March 13, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Wonderful, MJ! Turmeric and a little heat to accompany these delightful winter flavors – spot on! And what a rustic, attractive way to garnish soup.

  23. Dara March 13, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    Amazing soup! I am a squash lover so I am enjoying it while it lasts…

  24. vianney March 13, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    The color is stunning!! A perfect bowl for these rainy days, yummy!

  25. Winnie March 13, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    there is nothing like hot soup in the winter time!
    Just looking at the beautiful color of your soup makes me hungry
    Wonderful combination of flavors

  26. Charles March 13, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    Hi MJ – I absolutely love the colour of this soup – the rich orange alone makes me want to dig in right away, and that’s without even considering what the dish actually is, haha :D I love squash soups – they always look so rich and thick and creamy. I’ve never seen kabocha squash here I don’t think – although pumpkin and other things are quire common. My ex-girlfriend, a Japanese girl, told me that “kabocha” actually means pumpkin in Japanese – not sure if that’s true or a general name for a “squash”, but I find it interesting that there’s a squash effectively called the “pumpkin squash” if so :)

    • mj March 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      Pumpkin squash – that actually makes sense because the color and shape are similar. I find the Kabocha to be a little sweeter and creamier than a pumpkin. In fact, I find it the creamiest of all winter squashes! Thanks for your comments Charles!

  27. mj March 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Thanks everyone for the fabulous comments and congrats! I love trying new ingredients and the Kabocha was a discovery that has become a winter staple! I hope you all get a chance to try one!

  28. Samantha March 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    This soup looks absolutely wonderful! I love topping off soup with a bit of crunch. And what a great excuse to try kabocha. Congratulations on top 9!

  29. Ally March 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Wow, this soup looks amazing. Brilliant recipe! You have done a fabulous job with presentation.


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