Bowl of spicy squash soup

Spicy squash and spinach soup

Category: Soup, Main meal | Serves: 4

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 40 minutes


1 tbsp quinoa

1 large red onion, diced

225g (8oz) de-seeded butternut squash, diced

1 stick celery, diced

1 fat garlic clove, crushed

1 small leek, diced

1 thin rasher smoked streaky bacon, 15g (½oz), very finely chopped (optional if you want the soup to be vegetarian)

¼ tsp dried chilli flakes

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 litre (35fl oz) home-made or reduced-salt stock

400g tin chopped tomatoes in rich natural juice

400g tin borlotti beans in water, drained and rinsed

Freshly ground black pepper, a good 8–10 turns of the mill

1 tsp red wine vinegar

Small bunch fresh basil

To serve

55g (2oz) fresh young spinach leaves (enough for 4 bowls)


  1. Put the quinoa in a large, non-stick saucepan and dry fry over a medium heat until the grains turn golden and smell ‘toasted’.
  2. Add the onion, squash, celery, garlic, leek, bacon, chilli flakes and thyme and fry over a medium heat for 5–7 minutes or until vegetables are beginning to soften.
  3. Add stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer the soup, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, borlotti beans and pepper and simmer for a further 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender.
  5. Put 2 ladlefuls of soup in a blender with the vinegar and basil. Blitz until smooth. Return to saucepan with rest of the soup.
  6. To serve, finely shred a small handful of fresh spinach per serving. Put spinach into heated soup bowls and ladle hot soup on top. Spinach will wilt in the heat but retain its fresh flavour.

Spicy squash soup


Cook’s tips

  • We’ve given quantities for four portions so you can freeze some for another day. Use the rest of the quinoa in salads, or try our salmon burgers recipe.
  • Don’t throw away squash or pumpkin seeds. Wash them, bake them on an oiled baking tray in a medium oven for 10 minutes until lightly toasted, then sprinkle on salads, soups or cereal, or enjoy as a snack.

Nutritional information