This vegan butternut squash soup is an Ayurvedic all-star

Butternut Squash 2 Mikaela Reuben is a rising (healthy) rock star chef, cooking for celebrity clients like Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, and traveling the world to whip up meals for the Red Hot Chili Peppers on tour and host wellness retreats. We teamed up with Reuben, who has training in holistic nutrition, for a series on super-seasonal, Ayurveda-influenced recipes—to give your own healthy kitchen the star treatment.

Butternut squash soup = fall. It’s as simple as that. But this seasonal favorite is more than a warm, comforting dish—AKA hugs, one spoon at a time—it’s an Ayurvedic multitasker.

“Butternut squash is one of the few vegetables that has a balancing effect on all three doshas,” says Mikaela Reuben, “and it is an excellent source of vitamin A and C, which are two important antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and have a protecting effect in our body.”

So no matter who you are, or what your dosha combination is, you’ve got a green light to enjoy Reuben’s super creamy—and vegan!—take on the classic autumn dish.

“A blend of Ayurvedic spices and herbs such as ginger, curry, and cilantro paired with rich coconut milk and protein-packed cashew nuts turn this butternut squash soup into the perfect fusion of east and west,” Reuben explains.

Plus, it’s a far less “basic” way to be festive for fall than a pumpkin spice latte. Get the full recipe, below. —Jamie McKillop

20131112_Mikaela-Reuben_5753 Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

4 Tbsp coconut oil (1 to rub on squash, 3 for sauté)
1 butternut squash (About 2 1/2 lbs., yields about 3 cups cooked)
1 red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic (2 1/2 tsp pressed garlic)
3 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp medium curry powder
1 cup crushed roasted cashews unsalted
2 cups water
1 can coconut milk
4 Tbsp chopped cilantro (for garnish)
1 Tbsp lime juice (juice of one lime)
Large pinch of sea salt
Large pinch of pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the top of the squash off, then in half, and scoop seeds out. Rub meat with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Bake for 35–45 minutes or until done. Check after 25 minutes so you can judge how much longer to leave in. When squash is done, allow to cool before scooping out the flesh.

Heat pot and add curry powder to dry toast for about a minute. Once the spices become fragrant, add 3 tablespoons of coconut oil to pot. When oil is hot, add ginger for a minute, then garlic for 45 seconds. Then sauté onions together for about 2 minutes, and add salt and pepper. Once onions have browned, add cashews and stir well.

Add squash to mixture and stir. Once squash appears to be evenly mixed with ingredients, add water and bring to a boil. Turn to a simmer and add lime juice and coconut milk. Blend with a handheld blender and serve (or put into blender in small amounts to blend). Garnish with cilantro.

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(Photo: Mikaela Reuben)

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