Spicy Harissa Butternut Squash Soup
This butternut squash soup is rich, healthy, and a little bit spicy. We roast the squash and carrots to bring out their sweetness and serve it with some crispy mint pumpkin seed croutons. It's easy to make, layered with flavor, and it's ready in just over an hour!
For more warming winter soups, try our chickpea harissa soup, roasted carrot soup, and sweet potato turmeric soup.
Table of contents
This harissa butternut squash soup will warm you up from the inside. It's healthy, layered with flavor, and it's simple to make!
If this is your first time cooking with harissa, you're going to fall in love with its taste. It's a unique North African spice paste that's slightly sweet, subtly smoky and tangy, with just the right amount of heat.
There are a few steps to this soup that make it extra delicious. The first is that we roast the butternut squash and carrots to bring out their sweetness. We also sauté the onions a bit longer than usual until they develop a dark brown caramelized colour. The mint pumpkin seeds take minutes to make in a pan, and they add a nice crunch for a contrasting texture.
Cook a big batch of it to make the most of squash season. It's easy to freeze and you'll thank yourself on a cold day when you can thaw some of this delicious soup for an easy lunch or light dinner!
What is harissa?
Harissa is a North African spicy paste made of chilis, bell peppers, garlic, tomato, and spices. It adds heat to dishes, but it also has lots of flavor.
You can use harissa on everything from grilled meats, to veggies, stocks, stews, and soups. It turns anything you make with it a vibrant orangey-red hue, and an open tube or jar will last up to six months in your fridge!
You should be able to find it in most well-stocked grocery stores, or you can buy it online.
Why you'll love it
Here's why we love this harissa butternut squash soup:
- It's made with simple ingredients
- Roasting the squash and carrots lends major flavor
- Serve it now or later
- The mint pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch (and they are totally optional)
Spicy butternut squash soup ingredients
This is everything you need to make the spicy butternut squash soup:
- Squash, carrots, onion, garlic, and ginger – this medley of vegetables makes up the base of this flavorful soup.
- Olive oil – olive oil is our first choice but you can also use coconut oil or avocado oil.
- Harissa paste – look for harissa in jars, cans, or tubes in the international foods aisle, or near the spices. If you have an African grocery nearby, you're likely to find some there!
- Ground cumin and coriander – these rich earthy spices instantly add depth to this soup.
- Orange juice – for a little sweetness and acidity to balance things out.
- Chicken stock – we use our homemade chicken stock, but you can also use vegetable stock or a store-bought version in a pinch.
- Sea salt – to enhance all the amazing flavors already happening in this soup.
- Lemon – a little bit of lemon juice added at the end gives a bright pop of flavor.
- Greek yogurt – for serving (optional).
Here's what you need to make the mint pumpkin seeds:
- Olive oil
- Pumpkin seeds
- Mint leaves
How to make spicy butternut squash soup
This spicy butternut squash soup is perfect for warming up on cool weather days! Here's how to make it in a few simple steps:
- Place both the butternut squash and carrots on a prepared baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then bake in your oven.
- To make the rest of the soup, sauté the onion in some oil until it's nice and brown (you want lots of golden color), then add the garlic and ginger.
- Next add the harissa, cumin, and coriander then remove the pot from the heat and stir in the orange juice.
- To make the mint pumpkin seeds, toast them in a separate pan with some oil and add the chopped mint until lightly browned.
- When the squash and carrots are done, add them to the soup pot along with the stock and salt. Blend it until smooth and then stir in the lemon juice.
Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.
Leftovers of this soup will stay fresh in a sealed container for 3-4 days.
Absolutely! This is a great soup to freeze. Simply store it in a freezer-safe container or reusable silicone bag (we like these Stasher ones) and it will keep for 2-3 months.
Our preferred way to reheat this soup is in a pot on the stove. It tends to thicken a bit in the fridge, so you may need to add a splash of stock or water to thin it out.
More cozy soup recipes
Spicy Harissa Butternut Squash Soup
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
Harissa Butternut Squash Soup
- 5 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash, ½ a butternut squash
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch rounds
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 3 cloves cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 3 tablespoons harissa paste, see notes
- 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin and ground coriander
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 6 cups chicken stock, can sub vegetable stock for a lighter flavored soup
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- Juice from ½ lemon
- Optional: Greek yogurt, to serve
Mint Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the butternut squash and carrots on the prepared baking sheet and toss with a tablespoon of oil. Bake for 40 minutes.5 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash, 3 medium carrots, 3 tablespoons olive oil
- While the squash and carrots are in the oven, start the rest of the soup. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 more seconds.1 medium onion, 2 tablespoons minced ginger, 3 cloves cloves
- Add the harissa, cumin, and coriander and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Remove the pot from the heat and add the orange juice. Leave the pot aside until the squash and carrots are ready.3 tablespoons harissa paste, 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin and ground coriander, ¼ cup orange juice
- To make the mint pumpkin seeds, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and cook for 1 minute, swirling the pan a few times. Add the chopped mint and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from the heat and set the pan aside.1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- Add the roasted squash and carrots to the soup pot and then stir in the stock and salt. Blend the soup, working in 2 batches. Or use an immersion blender. Return the blended soup to the pot, and reheat. Then add the lemon juice and more salt, if you'd like.6 cups chicken stock, 1 teaspoon sea salt, Juice from ½ lemon
- Serve the soup topped with pumpkin seeds and crispy mint and, if using, the optional Greek yogurt.
This turned out amazing! I used less broth to keep it thick and used a full lemon and lemon rind and omitted the orange all together since I forgot it on my grocery list. But it is by far one of the best soups I’ve ever made! So happy you shared it 😀 I think it is up there with my mushroom lemongrass coconut soup that I love to make.
I’m so happy to hear you like the recipe! Hooray!!
Genius, I love the idea of crispy mint leaves paired with smoky harrissa. Yum. I would love to include a link to the recipe in a fall inspiration round up I’m doing. Would that be ok with you Kristen?
Absolutely it would be! Thank you so much for asking!!
This looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been looking for butternut squash recipes and I’ll definitely have to give this one a go.
Thank you so much!!
I definitely have to try this tasty winter soup! Have a bottle of Harissa sitting in my fridge.
Harissa’s the best, isn’t it?! Hope you love the soup as much as I do!
Yes 🙂 but I didn’t know what to do with it except throw it in chick pea stews and couscous. Now I know! Thanks.
No prob at all!
This is one incredible looking squash soup! I just love the vibrant colour of it.. and all those toasted pumpkin seeds over the top. I have to make the recipe!
Thank you so much, Thalia!