Kabocha Squash Fennel Soup

Kabocha Squash Fennel Soup with toasted Pumpkin Seeds. @mjskitchen |mjskitchen.com


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 lusting after all of the wonderful soups over at Cooking’s Good, so I knew it was time to make my own.  I’ve been making this Kabocha Squash Fennel soup since last winter and have shared it a few times with family and friends with great reviews.  Now I’m sharing 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 any 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.

Kabocha Squash Fennel Soup


A pureed soup made with kabocha squash and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds
Print or Save Recipe
Kabocha Squash Fennel Soup Recipe
15 mins
1 hr 15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
A creamy vegetarian/vegan soup made with Kabocha Squash and Fennel. 

Total time of 1.5 hours includes roasting the squash.  It you already have the squash puree', then you can make this dish in 30 minutes.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Yields: 4 servings
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
Roasting the Squash
  • 1 medium to large Kabocha Squash or other winter squash
  • olive oil and salt
Making the soup
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter*
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger garlic paste or 2 tsp. grated ginger root and 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth/stock
  • 3 cups water - maybe more for desired consistency
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. to 1 tsp. red chile powder, depending on how spicy you want it
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp. chopped fennel fronds (optional)
Roasting the Squash
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Cut the squash in half top to bottom. Leave in the seeds. Wipe the cut surfaces with olive oil, and then sprinkle with salt.
  3. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place the squash on the foil cut side up and place in the oven. Bake for a 50 to 60 minutes until the squash is done. Test with a fork. If the fork goes through easily, it's done.
  4. Remove the seeds. Scoop the pulp into a bowl.
Making the soup
  1. While the squash is roasting, heat the olive oil and butter over medium low heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion and fennel. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic (or ginger garlic paste). Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, water, turmeric, and chile powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the squash pulp and stir to combine with fennel. Remove from heat.
  4. Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender.
  5. Slowly bring the pureed soup to a simmer. Continue to cook for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it gets too thick, add more water or broth until you get the desired consistency.
  6. Add the vinegar. Heat for 1 minute. Taste and add salt if needed.
  7. In a small skillet, toast the seeds over a medium low heat until lightly toasted. (See detailed instructions at end of post)

  8. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the toasted seeds and chopped fennel fronds.
  9. Serve with crackers or a toasted garlic bread.
Kitchen Notes

Ginger Garlic Paste


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.




Kabocha Squash Fennel Soup with toasted Pumpkin Seeds. @mjskitchen |mjskitchen.com



Toasted Pumpkin Seeds @MJsKitchen


How to Toast Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) or Other Seeds

  1. To toast, heat a small, heavy skillet over a medium heat.
  2. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds.
  3. 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.
  4. Once toasted transfer to a glass dish.
  5. Use as a topping for salads and soups.

For another version of toasted pepitas, try these Sweet and Spicy Pepitas.


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

A Collection of Kabocha Squash Recipes



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73 Responses to “Kabocha Squash 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 😀 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.

  30. Javelin Warrior March 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    I’ve never heard of this squash, but it sounds delicious. I’m going to have to look around to see if I can find it in my local grocers. I love the addition of roasted pumpkin seeds to this soup – I’ve never used pumpkin seeds this way but it’s a wonderful idea…

  31. Donna March 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Kabosha? (check),,,fennel? (check) …all of the other perfectly “married” ingredients & spices on hand? (check)…You’ve answered my prayers (perfectly) on what to do for my weekly soup…I love you and your blog, explanations and culinary concoctions are superlative…May I thank you for sharing?…By-the-by…You sooo deserve the Top 9 today…Merci bien!

    • mj March 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Thank you for such sweet comments Donna! I hope you did get a chance to make this soup and that your thoroughly enjoyed it! Let me know. Have a marvelous weekend!!!!

  32. easyfoodsmith March 12, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    The soup has a beautiful colour and the addition of fennel is indeed delicious. And the seeds, adding a bit of crunch is clever! Yummy post 🙂

  33. kitchenriffs March 12, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    “. . . when my produce guy recommended it.” I love talking to the produce guys – they know so much, know what’s really good, and often have great cooking tips. And I love all kinds of squash, particularly in soup (but then I’m soup-mad anyway). Great tip on waiting to remove the seeds until after you’ve roasted the squash – great idea. Thanks for a really nice post.

  34. Suzi March 12, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Congrats on the Top 9, well deserved. Beautfiful soup. Have a great day.

  35. Rathai March 12, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    That’s a beautiful soup! I love the colour and smoothness of this soup. I have not mustered enough courage to make soups at home but I’m working on it. Now that spring is here, I look forward to experiment with all the vegetables and fruits that will be available in abundance from now on. Congratulations on being featured on Foodbuzz today. 🙂

  36. Sharyn Dimmick March 12, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    I’ve got too kabochas on the counter. I’m going to get some fennel this week and try this. Thanks. I’ll probably top it with cilantro since you’ve got Asian flavors going here.

  37. Debs @ The Spanish Wok March 12, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    Oh Yum, this looks soooo delicious, thanks.

    You are welcome to join in my food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  38. Kiri W. March 12, 2012 at 6:30 am #

    What a gorgeous soup! I love kabocha squash, and never though to pair it with fennel. Looks wonderful 🙂

  39. Jen at The Three Little Piglets March 12, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    I didn’t know that you could leave the seeds in while you roasted it! I’ve always taken them out first which is sometimes a pain. Live and learn!

  40. Ramona March 12, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    Congrats on Top 9 at Foodbuzz my friend!!! See, this soup really a bowl of sunshine. 🙂 Have a great day! ~ Ramona

  41. Italian Notes March 12, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    Looks like a plate of pure sunshine. So inviting:)

  42. Baker Street March 11, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    What a gorgeous soup MJ! Congratulations on top 9 today! 🙂

  43. Sanjeeta kk March 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    Oh..love the wonderful color of this soup, MJ..and the ideas of adding roasted pumpkin seeds too! I use raw pumpkin seeds in my recipes….but will try to roast it and see the difference..thanks for pointing it out.

  44. Anne@FromMySweetHeart March 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    MJ…this soup is just gorgeous! I’ve never heard of this variety of squash and so I’ve actually never looked for it. I wonder if it would be available in my neck of the woods here outside of D.C. And though I love butternut squash….somehow I don’t ever recall it imparting such a deep vibrant color! Love that you roasted the nuts with the squash! They are the perfect garnish for this beautiful bowl of lusciousness! : )

  45. daisy March 11, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    That soup looks so warm and delicious! I’m gonna try it using pumpkin and leaving out the fennel. Love the touch of the seeds on top!

  46. Dee at Deelicious Sweets March 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Wow, what a great way to use up that winter squash! It’s cold and rainy here today and I could use a bowl of it to warm my bones up with!

  47. Jessica @ Cajunlicious March 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    This looks so delicious and comforting and I love the crunch of the toasted seeds.

  48. Eftychia March 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    I am not sure I can find Kabocha Squash in Cyprus but this soup looks perfect for now!

  49. Deeps @ Naughty Curry March 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    love the colour, so cheerful that orange. roasting always brings out the best flavours in veggies, looks all creamy & delecious

  50. Reem | Simply Reem March 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    This is one beautiful bowl of soup…..
    Love the click MJ…. I need to make this soup sometime soon…

  51. Katherine Martinelli March 10, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Yum!! I’m also still not ready for squash season to be over. I love kabocha squash and I bet the fennel is just delicious with it. Bookmarking!

  52. Donna @ Cookistry March 10, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    I love squash soup!

  53. Suzi March 10, 2012 at 6:32 am #

    Wow MJ, this is a beautiful soup, I am in love with that color. I have never had kabocha squash, I am going to have to look for that. rReally going for that ginger garlic paste sounds killer. Thank you so much for the mention you are too sweet. Hope that you have a beautiful weekend my friend.

  54. Treat and Trick March 10, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    Great presentation and this looks fantastic with crunchy topping!

  55. Treat and Trick March 10, 2012 at 4:25 am #

    I never cooked kabocha but your soup really tempts me to try them. Gorgeous photos too!

  56. Nami | Just One Cookbook March 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    Hi MJ! Oh I’m sorry I didn’t get pingback notification yet, and I didn’t know you linked to my recipe (sometimes it happens, don’t know why your link doesn’t even appear on my kabocha post too.). Thank you for sharing my link. 🙂

    I really need to try American way to cook Kabocha which is to cook in the oven. I’m so fascinated by putting the whole thing in oven to cook. We usually stir fry, boil, simmer, but never put the whole pumpkin in the oven to cook.

    I love your soup! I love the kabocha’s semi-sweet and bold flavor. It’s been my favorite veggies and it has great nutrition. I need to cook the soup. I’m very inspired!

  57. wok with ray March 9, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    I love using kabocha on some of my dish. Your soup looks very stylish, MJ. I love it! Have a great weekend. 🙂

  58. Jane March 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    I love kabocha! And fennel! Sounds like a great combination.

  59. Biren @ Roti n Rice March 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    Your kabocha squash soups looks absolutely delicious with those sweet and spicy pepitas! You know I adore kabocha squash. I use it in place of pumpkin sometimes as it is so sweet and creamy. Thanks for the link love. I appreciate it! ♥♥

  60. Joanne March 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    That first photo is just stunning, fabulous recipe, MJ!

  61. Biana | Meal Planning Tips March 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    This looks wonderful, both the soup and the toppings.

  62. Ramona March 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    MJ this soup looks like a bowl of sunshine!! Wow… it’s really beautiful. I love how you garnished with the toasted pumpkins seeds. I agree, Suzi’s soups are truly inspiring over at Cooking’s Good. Now it’s your turn to inspire us… because you surely inspired me. 🙂 Have a great weekend! ~ Ramona

  63. Giulietta | Alterkitchen March 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    This soup looks amazing, my dear… and you know how much I love squash, especially in soup 🙂

  64. Judy@Savoring Today March 9, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    I adore roasted pumpkin seeds and they are a beautiful finish to your soup! I’m sure the toasted flavor and added texture is yummy too.


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