Squash, Spinach and Coconut Soup With Ginger 6.000

Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Nov 14, 2017

This soup is just different enough that it might take your tablemates a few slurps to tell what's in it; you can just tell them it's full of good things. Spinach gives it color, the squash gives it body and the ginger flavor comes through.

Using prepped chunks of butternut squash from the produce department helps get this soup on the table in well under an hour.

Serve with warm flatbread.

To read the accompanying story, see: This creamy squash soup has kick, and a few surprises, too.

Where to Buy: Canned bamboo shoots that are already cut into thin, noodlelike strips are available at large Asian markets.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings; makes 8 cups

  • One 3-inch piece fresh ginger root
  • 1 cup canned bamboo shoots (see headnote)
  • 4 1/2 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk, preferably Aroy D brand
  • 1 small red Thai chile pepper
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, or more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce, or more as needed
  • Half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 cups peeled butternut squash chunks (see headnote and NOTE)
  • About 9 cups spinach leaves


Peel and mince the ginger to yield about 3 tablespoons. Drain and rinse the bamboo shoots. Cut them into thin strips, if desired.

Heat the broth in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it begins to boil, stir in the coconut milk, chile pepper, ginger, soy sauce and fish sauce.

Squeeze 2 teaspoons of juice from the half lemon into a small bowl, then whisk in the cornstarch. Stir this slurry into the saucepan; cook for about 5 minutes or until it helps thicken the soup.

Meanwhile, cut the chunks of butternut squash into 1/2-inch pieces (so they will cook more quickly and evenly). Add them to the saucepan; cook for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the spinach; cook for a minute, or just until it has wilted. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

If you want to keep the chile heat to a minimum, pull out the pepper before you use an immersion (stick) blender to puree the soup just enough to make it creamy. (We kept the chile in.) Alternatively, pull out some of the squash and spinach along with the pepper, mash those two with a fork and stir them back in. Taste and add more soy sauce or fish sauce, as needed.

Stir in the bamboo shoots. Once they are warmed through, divide the soup among individual bowls. Serve right away.

NOTE: It will take an extra 5 to 8 minutes to break down a butternut squash for this recipe. To do so, cut away the cylindrical neck, which is the part you will be working with. Stand it on one end, use a sharp knife to cut away the peel, and then cut the flesh into 1/2-inch thick planks. Cut those down further into 1/2-inch pieces. You'll need the same yield as above -- 3 cups.

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Recipe Source

Based on a recipe from “Itsu the Cookbook: Eat Beautiful -- 100 Recipes for Health and Happiness,” by Julian Metcalfe (Mitchell Beazley, 2014).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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