Vegan Curry Butternut Squash Soup With Kale Recipe

A quick and easy stew of butternut squash, kale, and toasted quinoa, made in a single pot.

Overhead shot of a pot of vegan curry butternut squash soup with kale.

Serious Eats / Yasmin Fahr

Why This Recipe Works

  • This hearty, filling soup comes together in less than 30 minutes.
  • Quinoa adds substance and protein to the vegetable base.
  • Browning the squash first then adding it back later adds more flavor and prevents it from getting too mushy.

During a viciously cold winter, a bowl of hot soup is the perfect remedy to keep you comfortable and sane. I had a version of this particular recipe on such a day at Juice Press; I wanted something light and vegetarian, but not less warming. After this soup revived me from the arctic air, it hit me that this would be a great quick dish to whip up at home or save for cold days.

A hearty and filling vegetable soup, it's packed with rich curry flavors; an earthy, nutty crunch from pepitas; and a touch of brightness from cilantro. Quinoa adds both substance and protein, and a variety of vegetables are there for layered flavor, sweetness, and general goodness. I'm a big fan of chunky rustic soups, since you can skip puréeing and wind up with a dish that has some bite to it.

You might look at the recipe and wonder why the squash is browned first and then added back in. There are two reasons: Getting some color on the squash adds more flavor, and if we left it in the pot during the entire cooking process, it would end up mushy. In this approach, it instead develops a softness with a gentle give, just beyond al dente. Since you'll probably have some kale left over, one of my favorite combinations—and a great pairing for this dish—is to massage the raw kale with avocado, season it with cumin, dress the salad with fresh lemon juice, and garnish it with toasted pepitas.

For a filling, warming, and delicious dinner that comes together in less than 30 minutes and also makes for great leftovers, this recipe has become my new go-to winter soup.

March 2014

Recipe Details

Vegan Curry Butternut Squash Soup With Kale Recipe

Active 30 mins
Total 30 mins
Serves 4 servings

A quick and easy stew of butternut squash, kale, and toasted quinoa, made in a single pot.


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 2 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into rounds and quarters (about 3/4 cup)

  • 1 orange or red bell pepper, deseeded and diced (about 3/4 cup)

  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder

  • Pinch dried red chile flakes

  • 3/4 cup quinoa, washed and rinsed

  • 4 cups homemade vegetable stock or store-bought low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 2 cups curly kale, leaves cut into 1-inch ribbons and thick stems removed

  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon

  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add butternut squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add remaining oil and heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, pepper, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add curry powder and chile flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add quinoa and toast until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  2. Add broth and adjust heat to maintain an active boil and cook until quinoa is done, about 9 minutes. Stir in kale and squash, cook until kale has wilted and squash tender but not mushy, about 2 minutes more. Stir in lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, divide between serving bowls, and top with pepitas and cilantro.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
283 Calories
13g Fat
38g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 283
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 659mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 9g 33%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 116mg 578%
Calcium 148mg 11%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 943mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)