Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Festive Tahini

This is a lovely warming winter soup with spices that give that festive feeling. The festive swirl looks like a garland and is flexible to the use herbs, seeds and nuts that you have in your pantry.


Butternut squash soup

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red pepper
  • Knob of unsalted butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 800ml Vegetable stock
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme (plus more for garnish if using*)
  • Salt and freshly, ground black pepper

Tahini garland

  • 100ml tahini
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 70ml water

Garnish suggestions

  • Fresh green herbs (e.g. thyme, flat-leaved parsley
  • Toasted nuts
  • Seeds 
  • Chilli flakes


Soup recipe

  1. Peel the butternut squash and cut into medium-sized chunks (approx 3cm). Scrape out the seeds and set aside.
  2. Toss the squash chunks in a roasting tray with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake at 200C for 30-45 minutes until soft. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, stand the red pepper upright on a chopping board and slice off each of the sides to make four rectangles. Remove any membranes or seeds and use an apple corer to cut out circles. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and put them in the oven for about 5 minutes so they soften slightly but don’t start to shrivel.
  4. Chop the onion either by hand or using the Smeg chopper attachment. Mix all the spices together.
  5. Melt the butter and cook the onion over low heat with the rest of the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan until soft and golden. Add a generous teaspoon of the mixed spices and cook for a few minutes so they are not raw. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  6. Transfer the onion mixture, cooked squash and stock into the Smeg jug or other tall jug and use the hand blender to make it very smooth. You may have to do this in batches. If you want to make it ahead of time you can put on the lid and store it in the fridge.
  7. Pour the soup and the thyme sprigs into a large, non-stick pan and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until almost boiling. Thin with a little hot water or stock if it gets too thick. Season to taste.

Tahini garland recipe

  1. Rinse any butternut squash flesh from the seeds and dry well. Put a little oil into a non-stick frying pan and cook over a medium heat. The seeds should be golden brown and start to pop but don’t let them burn. Transfer to kitchen roll.
  2. Stir the tahini in the jar so it is not separated and mix in a tall jug with the olive oil and garlic powder (if used).
  3. Use the Smeg whisk attachment (or hand whisk) to slowly add the lemon juice and water. Keep whisking well until the mixture turns into a smooth, creamy consistency. Taste, add salt and more lemon juice to taste and a little more water if it is still too thick to drizzle.

When warm, ladle the soup into bowls and spoon the tahini into circles around the edge. It doesn’t have to be neat. Dot the red pepper baubles on top and add the herb and seed garnish. Finish with a little black pepper.

Recipe and imagery by Sally Prosser @mycustardpie