the taste space

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup with Chickpeas, Leeks and Fennel

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Soups by Janet M on October 11, 2012

Last year, two of my culinary discoveries was my love of fennel and kabocha squash (celeriac, too). Not a fan of licorice, but I appreciate a subtle anise flavour from cooked fennel.

Back then, I spotted this tantalizing soupy stew from Denis Cotter with squash, chickpeas and fennel and I knew I wanted to try it. I bookmarked it last year, and now that I have an abundance of squash and these vegetables are back in season, it was time to make it!

Whenever you make a Cotter recipe, be prepared to dirty a bunch of pots and pans. I stream-lined the process slightly by omitting the croutons, but still oven-roasted my squash for the soup. I have become smitten with eating squashes I don’t have to peel (kabocha and delicata) but roasting makes peeling squash a heck of a lot easier. I have my tricks for tackling butternut squash, though. I pierce the squash a few times with a fork, then microwave it for 5 minutes before peeling it. I also usually peel the tubular and bulbous parts separately.

This soup did not disappoint. Chickpeas and squash go so well together. Savoury cumin and fennel seeds augment the mellow fennel, leek and shallots. Ginger and chile flakes add a nice zip and lemon juice balances it all. A hearty meal in a bowl, perfect for warming up with this colder weather. A new favourite, for sure.


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Potluck party, to this month’s Simple and In Season and to this month’s Monthly Mingle for squash.

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup with Chickpeas, Leeks and Fennel
Adapted from Denis Cotter’s For The Love of Food (original recipe here)

1000g winter squash (I used a mix of delicata and kabocha squash), washed
800ml water, divided (or vegetable stock)
1 tbsp olive oil
60g shallots, finely diced (2 large shallots)
200g fennel, finely diced (1 small fennel bulb)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1.5 tbsp grated ginger
3 cups leeks, washed and thinly sliced
2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained if canned
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
100ml dry white wine (I used sake)
2 tbsp lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Brush the squash flesh with olive oil and place the squash, cut-side down, in an oven-proof dish. Pour in 200mL of water and roast squash for 30-45 minutes, until tender.

3. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and fennel and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, leek, chickpeas, cumin, fennel seeds and chile flakes and saute for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

4. When the squash is tender, scoop out the flesh and chop it coarsely. The delicata will be more mushy while the kabocha will be more firm. Add this to the soup with the remainder of the water. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4 (makes 8 cups).

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22 Responses

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  1. Joanne said, on October 11, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    The only squash I ever try to peel is acorn because the skin is so thick! I love the flavors in this soup. I only ever use fennel in cooked form because the more subtle licorice flavor is all I can take!

  2. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on October 11, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    I made squash for dinner last night and it was so delicious! I love squash season :)

    I also love kabocha and I bet this soup tastes just amazing!!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 11, 2012 at 8:28 AM

      Lovely! Will you be sharing your recipe? One can never have too many squash recipes, especially when I have so many right now. :)

      Good thing they store well!

  3. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table said, on October 11, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Fennel has recently grown on me. Especially when mixed with leeks and ginger. I can almost taste the soup from here!

  4. raechel @the rebel grrrl kitchen said, on October 12, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Oh my goodness, this looks soooo good! (So glad to have discovered your blog!)

  5. hampiesandwiches (@hampiesandwich) said, on October 13, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Spicy roasted squash and chickpeas sound like they’d make the most autumnal bowl of stew ever. Yay! :)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 15, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      Thanks! With the colder weather, hearty bowls of soup are right up my alley. :)

  6. Oh My Veggies (@ohmyveggies) said, on October 13, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    I need to give fennel another try. I’m not a fan of that anise flavor unless it’s in desserts, so the only time I ate it, I found it to be strange. This soup looks delicious, though!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 15, 2012 at 9:35 AM

      Anise in desserts? It is funny because I would associate it that with the twizzlers licorice which I detest vehemently! :P If you haven’t tried savoury fennel yet, this would be a great place to start. :)

  7. Deb in Hawaii said, on October 14, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    I am loving the cumin and fennel in this–perfect with the kabocha and the chickpeas. ;-) Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays.

  8. Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook said, on October 14, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Great flavors in this soup. Looks delicious, nice and hearty!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 15, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      Thanks Carol!

  9. Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily said, on October 14, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    I saw this soup on Kahakai Kitchen and headed right over! I can’t wait to give it a try, love the flavors. I’ll have to keep my eye out for kobacha squash. I recently had a butternut squash catastrophe’. The skin was rock hard so I just stuck it whole in the oven. 40odd minutes later I opened the oven door and pierced the steaming hot squash w my large fork. It literally EXPLODED all over me, KABOOM and all. Ouch.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 15, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      Wow! What a crazy squash adventure! Glad to hear it hasn’t traumatized you! I always prick my squash to let the steam out… maybe that helps lessen explosions? ;)

  10. Dawn Hutchins said, on October 16, 2012 at 5:13 AM

    I will admit I’m not a fennel fan but of course yours sounds so good so I will have to bookmark this and branch out of my comfort zone.

  11. Kristy said, on October 16, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    I made a kabocha soup last winter, so I can imagine how good this is! I didn’t add chickpeas so it sounds like this one is way better. :-)

  12. [...] – New Potato, Cauliflower, Chickpea and Green Bean Thai Curry with a Cucumber and Coriander Salsa – Roast Pumpkin Soup with Chickpeas, Fennel & Leeks (original recipe [...]

  13. Franglais kitchen said, on November 7, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    this soup really sounds great. I am a big fan of squash. The Lentils make it GI-tastic and perfect for sustained release of energy, a wonderful recipe.

  14. Franglais kitchen said, on November 7, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    sorry I meant Chickpeas not Lentils but still a great healthy addition!

  15. [...] at tastespace, we have a wonderfully seasonal soup. Kobucha squash with fennel, lentils and leeks. A great healthy soup for slow release [...]


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