Butternut squash and red pepper soup is creamy and smooth, rich, and a little spicy, with herbal undertones from freshly chopped rosemary. This vegan roasted red pepper and butternut squash soup is completely dairy-free, getting its creamy texture from coconut milk – a vegan creamy soup-making secret!
This creamy butternut squash and red pepper soup will taste like you spent hours in the kitchen, relentlessly stirring your pot of soup to perfection. When in reality, you let the oven do the heavy lifting (the roasting). Add in some bottled roasted red peppers you buy at the store, along with some veggie broth and a little coconut cream (and a few other ingredients). Blend it together and you’ve got a rich, creamy, and flavorful soup!
Think you can’t make rich and creamy soup without heavy cream? Think again! Coconut milk is the secret ingredient many vegan cooks use to give vegan soups and chowders a rich and creamy texture without using a drop of dairy!
And if you are worried about coconut milk making your savory vegan soups taste all…coconutty – well worry not! Unless you are gastronomically opposed to anything coconut, I dare you to try easy vegan corn chowder, pumpkin black bean soup, or roasted butternut squash soup with poblano peppers, and tell me you can even taste the coconut milk. (Or if you can, does it really bother you?!?)
Coconut milk and vegan cooking
Coconut milk isn’t just for soups either, you can use coconut milk and coconut cream to veganize almost any recipe calling for heavy cream. I used coconut milk to make pumpkin pasta with walnut sage sauce, and creamy Brussels sprouts casserole rich and creamy AND dairy-free.
And would you believe that coconut milk is what makes this vegan version of traditional sweet potato casserole extra smooth and rich tasting? It won’t even taste like coconuts.
In fact, coconut milk pairs perfectly with butternut squash for complimenting the creamy texture of butternut squash as well as this winter squash’s mild and nutty flavor.
Pairing coconut cream with butternut squash adds creamy texture and richness of flavor not just in soup but in other recipes such as butternut squash curry with chickpeas and a yummy butternut squash sauce.
Ingredients you’ll need to make roasted butternut squash and red pepper soup:
Ingredients for roasting in the oven
- whole butternut squash – You will be cutting the butternut squash in half lengthwise, removing the seeds, and roasting it in the oven. After it’s roasted you will be scooping out the roasted squash. There is no need to peel it before roasting.
- chopped onion – The copped onion also goes in the oven for roasting in a little packet along with three garlic cloves.
- olive oil – Drizzle olive oil over the butternut squash before roasting. This gives the roasted squash a nice caramelized finish. I like to use robust extra virgin olive oil.
- a little salt and ground black pepper
Ingredients for the soup pot
- All of the roasted ingredients listed above go into the soup – you will also need:
- vegetable broth – You will need three cups of vegetable broth or stock and can buy it in the store. If you are a DYI cook, you can also make your own vegetable stock from scratch in the Instant Pot.
- 12 ounces roasted red bell peppers jarred and drained – Using jarred roasted red bell peppers is a real time-saver. No prepping and slicing. No roasting and peeling. Just open a jar, drain, and use!
- coconut cream – The coconut cream you will be using is the cream skimmed from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk. Make sure your can is undisturbed before opening so the cream rises to the top. You can also pop the canned coconut milk in the fridge for a while. The cream will rise to the top as it cools in the refrigerator.
- just a little cayenne pepper – My husband does not care for cayenne pepper and didn’t even notice it in this recipe. If you are not a fan of cayenne, then leave it out. You can always add it back in at the end after tasting.
- chopped fresh rosemary – Please go to the extra effort to get fresh rosemary for the recipe. Dried rosemary is just too spiky for this recipe. The soup does not cook long on the stovetop and the dried rosemary won’t have time to soften.
- salt and pepper to taste
And for the best garnishes:
- pepitas – If you want to go extra, I found these deliciously flavored chili lime pepitas on Amazon.
- more chopped rosemary
- red pepper flakes
- Frank’s Red Hot, or another hot sauce of choice
- And for the BEST garnish, make this yummy coconut lime crema from the remaining coconut cream left in the can. You should have enough to make at least a half recipe which is really all you’ll need. (And yes, it tastes a little coconutty, but is so perfect with this recipe!)
Let’s make soup!
The exact ingredients with measurements can be found in the recipe card below along with more concise abbreviated instructions. Read on for more details, tips, and tricks so that you will feel confident making this recipe.
First steps: Preparing the veggies for roasting
First, preheat the oven to 400° and prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. I prefer using parchment paper for super easy cleanup.
Prepping the onion and garlic
We will first prepare a foil packet in which to cook the onion and garlic. Tear off a square sheet of foil. It should be approximately as long as it is wide.
You will need one and a half cups of chopped onion. This will be about one-half of a medium-sized onion. Peel the paper from the garlic cloves and roughly chop. You don’t need to finely mince the garlic because you will be blending it with the soup after it has roasted. I did find the roasted garlic easier to blend if it had been roughly chopped rather than kept whole.
Place the chopped onion and garlic on the foil square. Bring two ends of the foil to make a “tent”. Fold them together and roll them down. Next, roll the ends of the foil into a packet and secure it closed. You will be placing the foil packet on the prepared baking sheet next to the butternut squash halves.
Prepping the squash
Next, you will be prepping the butternut squash for roasting. Cut off both ends of the butternut squash. Slice in half length-wise and remove the seeds. Use a large spoon or scoop to scrape out the seeds. Place both halves on the prepared baking sheet, cut side up, and brush with the oil. Add the salt and pepper to season the squash.
Next, roast the veggies
By now your oven should be preheated. Place the foil packet next to the prepared butternut squash. Place the baking sheet in the heated oven and roast for about 55-65 minutes.
You will know the butternut squash is well-roasted and ready to use when it is fork-tender and easy to scoop. The edges should be browned and caramelized. The caramelized bits are delicious and add to the depth of flavor so use those! If, however, any of the thin edges have turned black, remove and discard them. They will have an undesirable burned flavor.
Check the packet containing the roasted onion and garlic pieces, making sure that they are tender and ready to use. Pop the foil packet back into the oven while the squash cools and check in ten minutes if they are not yet fork-tender.
Now you will need to allow the squash to cool enough to easily handle. This will take about 30 minutes.
(Almost) Final steps: Time to make Roasted butternut squash and red pepper soup!
Once the butternut squash has cooled down enough to handle it without burning your fingers (about 30 minutes), you can make your yummy soup.
Before adding the other ingredients, I measure out and skim the coconut cream from the top layer of a can of coconut milk. It helps if you haven’t shaken the can around before opening it. If you have then you need to place the can in the fridge for a while. As the canned coconut milk cools, the cream will rise to the top and start to solidify.
To easily remove the cooked flesh from the roasted butternut squash, use a large metal spoon to scoop the squash into a large soup pan. If you have a stubborn part of cooked squash that doesn’t easily scoop away from the skin, you might need to use a small paring knife to remove the skin.
Open the foil packet and add the cooked onions and garlic. Open and drain the jar of roasted red peppers and add them along with the vegetable broth, coconut cream, and red cayenne pepper.
Use an immersion blender to blend together the ingredients until they are nice and smooth. I like my butternut squash soup smooth but It’s okay to leave it a little bit chunky if that is your preference.
If you don’t have an immersion blender then you can blend the roasted butternut soup mixture in a regular countertop blender but you will probably need to blend in batches because the standard blender does not have the capacity to blend the whole recipe at once.
Now, add the chopped rosemary and heat until lightly bubbling. This should only take a few minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add more cayenne pepper to taste too.
Final Final step: The garnishes
Adding garnishes is my favorite step! You really get to personalize your soup with the garnishes you choose.
If you are serving your soup at the table or at a buffet, I suggest you place small dishes of the various garnishes near the soup and allow people to choose their own garnishes to suit their taste.
Set out bowls or small containers with extra bits of chopped rosemary, red pepper flakes, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Because some people do like it hot, have a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot, Cholula, or Sriracha sauce available.
But my very favorite topping is coconut lime crema. You can easily make it with the leftover coconut cream from your can of coconut milk. I put it in a squeeze bottle and liberally drizzle!
This is the same coconut lime crema I use for my other roasted butternut squash recipe made with poblano peppers.
The printable recipe card for roasted butternut squash soup with red peppers
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Creamy Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup, Vegan
Ingredients for Roasting
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1½ cups chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Ingredients for Soup
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 12 ounces roasted bell peppers jarred and drained
- ⅓ cup coconut cream see notes
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional garnishes, more chopped rosemary, pepitas, hot sauce, or Sriracha.
- Preheat the oven to 400° and prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- You will need one and a half cups of chopped onion. This will be about one-half of a medium-sized onion. Chop the onion and place it on a foil square. Peel the paper from the garlic cloves and roughly chop. Place on the foil with the onion. Roll the foil into a packet and secure the ends. Place the foil packet on the prepared baking sheet next to the butternut squash halves.
- Cut off both ends of the butternut squash. Slice in two length-wise and remove the seeds. Place both halves on the prepared baking sheet.
- Drizzle the butternut squash with olive oil and sprinkle the salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 55-65 minutes until the butternut squash is fork-tender and scoopable and soft in the thickest parts. Check the packet with the onions and garlic making sure that they are tender too. They should be fork tender too by now. Even a little mushy is okay.
- Before adding the other ingredients, measure out and skim the coconut cream from the top layer of a can of coconut milk. It helps if you haven't shaken the can around before opening it. If you have then you need to place the can in the fridge for a while. As it gets cold, the cream will rise to the top and start to solidify.
- Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes or until you can comfortably scoop the butternut squash from its flesh. Scoop the squash into a med/large soup pan. Add the cooked onions and garlic along with the vegetable broth, drained jarred red peppers, coconut cream, and red cayenne pepper. Use an immersion blender to blend together the ingredients until they are nice and smooth. It's okay to leave it a little bit chunky if that is your preference.
- Add the chopped rosemary and heat until lightly bubbling. Salt and pepper to taste. Add more cayenne pepper to taste.
- Garnish with pepitas and more chopped rosemary. Stir in a little Frank's Red Hot Sauce or Sriracha to taste. For the best garnish, make coconut lime crema to drizzle on top (see notes).