This recipe combines the earthy sweetness of butternut squash with the tangy acidity of tomatoes, creating a harmonious marriage of flavors. The soup is further elevated by the addition of fresh basil, infusing it with a fragrant herbaceousness that adds depth and complexity. Each spoonful offers a silky and nourishing texture, warming you from the inside out.


  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (feel free to start with less and add to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet yellow onion, diced into 1/4-inch pieces (approximately 1/2 medium onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 32 ounces organic diced or crushed tomatoes or tomato puree (I love San Marzano, Whole Foods, and Jovial brands)
  • 32 ounces of low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 6-ounce can of organic tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (can start with 1 and add to taste)
  • 12 ounces precut butternut squash from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 loose cup of fresh basil leaves with stems, plus more leaves for garnish (keeping the stems makes it easier to pull them out after cooking)
  • Pumpkin or sunflower seeds for garnish


In a small bowl, whisk together paprika, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a soup pot to medium-low and add olive oil. When oil is lightly shimmering, add onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and translucent, around 6-8 minutes. Turn heat to low and add garlic and spices. Cook, stirring, another minute, until the garlic is softened and fragrant.

Add remaining ingredients, stir to incorporate, and bring to a simmer (for me, this usually means turning the heat up a touch to back to medium-low). Simmer for 30 minutes, or until butternut squash is fork-tender and the soup has thickened in consistency. Carefully use tongs or a spoon to pull basil leaves out. Discard.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or carefully blend in a blender or food processor—this usually requires 2 batches.

Serve immediately with a sprinkle of fresh shredded basil, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and any other topping of choice.

Chef Laura Lee