This Butternut Squash Apple Soup is silky smooth and perfectly spiced for the fall season. Reminiscent of Panera’s Autumn Squash Soup, but dairy-free and vegan! Great for a light cozy weeknight dinner or the starter of a heartier or holiday meal.
This time of year, pumpkin tends to get all the love. But, for me, butternut squash is king.
It’s earthy, but sweeter than pumpkin. Lighter and more delicate in flavor, too. It can be steamed or roasted, then eaten in cubes or mashed or puréed. You can even eat the seeds, just like you would pumpkin seeds.
This orange winter squash is the creamy base for my Dairy-Free Mac and Cheese (a huge reader favorite!). And, in this dish, I’ve turned it into an ultra creamy soup (because y’all know I’m obsessed with soups!).
I think this Butternut Squash Apple Soup will become a staple on your table during the fall season.
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Squash ~ Butternut squash is the base of this creamy soup. Peel it and remove the seeds before chopping it into cubes. For more details on how to cut squash, see my article all about butternut squash recipes.
Many stores sell pre-chopped butternut squash which can be a time-saver if you can justify the few extra bucks.
This soup recipe would also work with sweet potatoes or pumpkin if you prefer.
Aromatics ~ Onion, celery, and carrots make for a flavorful soup!
Apple ~ Apple is a great complementary flavor to winter squash. It adds a bit of both sweet and tart. I like to use an apple that is more tart than sweet, but whatever you have in your fridge will work. Granny smith, Macintosh, Empire, Cortland, etc., are all tart with underlying sweetness.
Spices ~ Just like Panera’s Autumn Squash Soup, this vegan butternut squash apple soup features curry powder, turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic for great depth of flavor.
And, of course, don’t forget the salt and pepper!
Broth ~ I like to use a low-sodium vegetable broth. If you have regular veggie broth, you will need to reduce the amount of added salt. Taste and adjust as necessary.
Milk ~ Any unsweetened non-dairy milk will work, however I prefer light coconut milk for this recipe. Light coconut milk has creamy texture, but does not have the pronounced coconut flavor that full-fat varieties have.
Extras ~ A few tablespoons of pure maple syrup and apple cider vinegar round out the flavors and make them pop.
Garnish ~ Roasted pumpkin seeds are the perfect garnish for this butternut squash apple soup. You can buy them or make them yourself.
How to make the recipe
Please scroll down to the recipe card for exact ingredient measurements and instructions.
Sauté the onions and celery in a bit of oil (or water or broth or an oil-free option) until soft and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the carrots and spices (1) and sauté until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the butternuts squash, apples (2), and broth (3), bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender (4).
Remove from the heat and add the non-dairy milk, pure maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar (5).
Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until silky smooth (6).
This soup is perfect as is for a light lunch or dinner. If you want something heartier try serving it alongside or as a starter before one of these options.
- Salads: Butter Lettuce Salad, Kale Apple Salad, or Raw Veggie Chopped Salad
- Sandwiches: Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Vegan Chickpea Salad Sandwiches, or Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwiches.
- Bowls: Quinoa Veggie Bowls, Mediterranean Grain Bowls, or Roasted Veggie Rice Bowls
- Breads: Vegan Garlic Bread, Vegan Cornbread, or a slice of Molasses Oatmeal Bread
Storage and freezing
Fridge: Store this butternut squash apple soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezer: You can also freeze this soup. Make sure to cool the soup completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container or plastic bag. It should keep well for up to 3 months.
Thaw: Thaw in the fridge overnight before warming gently in a pot on to stove or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave.
Pro tips and tricks for success
~ Peel and remove the seeds from the butternut squash. You can use a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife to remove the peel. If you use a vegetable peeler, you will likely need to go over each area a few times as the skin is on the thicker side.
~ Dice the carrots and squash in similar sized pieces to ensure they are cooked through at the same time.
~ Sauté the aromatics and spices in a bit of oil to bring out their full flavors before adding the broth.
~ Using an immersion blender to purée the soup makes clean up a breeze as it’s all done in the same pot. However, you can carefully transfer the soup to a stand blender if you prefer. When adding hot liquids to a stand blender, be sure to only fill it up halfway. You may need to work in batches.
~ Always taste and adjust seasonings to your liking! Especially since different brands of curry powder have varying levels of pungency.
~ Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds for a bit of texture in this otherwise smooth soup. You can use store-bought or roasted your own. Croutons would be a great garnish as well, if you don’t have pumpkin seeds.
~To roast pumpkin seeds: ½ cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds, ¼ teaspoon oil, ⅛ teaspoon salt. Roast in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet at 325°F for about 20 to 25 minutes, shaking the tray halfway through the cooking time. All ovens are different, so keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
Sure! Pre-cut butternut squash can save some time and tastes just as good. Frozen cubed squash will also work.
Sure, if you want to roast the squash before adding it to the soup, go right ahead. Roasting squash halves will take about 40 to 45 minutes, roasting cubed squash will take about 30 to 35 minutes. Start your squash first and then start making the rest of the soup. Add the roasted squash to the soup once it has simmered and the carrots are tender. Then purée as directed.
Yes! Simply add a can of pure pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling) to the soup and simmer. You may need to add a bit more broth for the consistency of your liking. Like Panera’s Autumn Squash Soup you can also use both butternut squash and pumpkin, if you prefer.
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Vegan Butternut Squash Apple Soup
- Immersion blender or stand blender
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or ¼ cup broth or water for an oil-free option
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 rib celery diced
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash about a 2-3 lb squash (peeled and seeded)
- 1 apple peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon yellow curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1-2 tablespoon(s) apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish, optional
- Heat the oil in a soup pot on the stove over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté 4 to 5 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the carrots, salt, curry powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, turmeric, and pepper. Stir well and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the butternut squash, apple, and broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes until the carrots and squash are tender.
- Remove from the heat and add the light coconut milk, maple syrup, and vinegar.
- With an immersion blender, purée the soup until silky smooth. (Alternately, you can transfer the soup to a stand blender to purée. You may need to work in batches so as not to overfill the blender.)
- Taste and adjust seasoning to your tastes.
- Serve warm with a garnish roasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of extra coconut milk, if desired.
Nutrition values are calculated using online calculators and are estimates only. Please verify using your own data.