Kabocha Squash Soup

Based on all of the “detox” “cleanse” “reset” “30-day” “21-day” “clean eating”, and so on, programs that are touted this time of year…. I wanted to share something very simple that you can make that is not based on marketing mumbo-jumbo.  I don’t know about you, but I know how tempting it is to jump on board these types of programs: My digestion has been a little off lately.  Between the holidays with disrupted eating patterns and habits, having the flu (that was fun…) and being unable to exercise as much as I like because of the holidays and the flu – everything’s just off and I feel like the progress I had made until I got sick has flown out the window.

This is when eating simply is one of the key ways that I reset my relationship with food, and retune my heart to my body so I can hear more clearly what rings true with my food (emotional, and mental) choices and my core self and what is blatantly out of tune.

For example, eating indulgent brownies (gluten and dairy-free!) is great once or twice, but as a regular habit?  Not for me.

I quit coffee, and decided to treat myself to a small cup of it (with oat milk) and let’s just say my shoulders are up around my ears and I had teeth-gnashing anxiety for quite a while.

Eating this soup?  My body hums and gets still and almost quiet amongst the humming (kind of like when you go to the beach and listen to the waves, there is still “noise” but it is not distruptive, it is peaceful).


1 kabocha squash

2-4 cups stock of choice (I like: bone broth, chicken stock, turkey stock)

4 slices fresh ginger

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: 1-3 scoops Vital Proteins beef gelatin* (if you tend towards Dampness or Phlegm, or have weaker digestion – leave this ingredient out)

Optional toppings:

Urfa biber chile flakes

Roasted squash seeds

Olive oil



Cutting board

Instapot (or soup pot with lid, and a burner)

Blender (or an immersion blender)

Spoon for tasting

Container for storage

  1. Cut kabocha squash into large pieces, de-seed and peel
  2. Place squash, ginger and 2 cups of stock in an Instapot or in a pot on the stove
  3. Cook on high pressure for 20 mins, then release the pressure after cooking has ceased for 5 minutes
  4. Let cool for 20 mins, then transfer to a blender and puree
  5. Taste for seasoning, and add more stock (or water) if you would like a thinner soup.  (I tend to like to start out with a very thick soup, then add more stock or water depending on what texture and flavor soup I prefer for that batch.)
  6. Serve with urfa biber chile flakes, my husband likes it with goat cheese crumbled on top as well. Sometimes I’ll top mine with the roasted seeds of the squash for added texture and flavor.
  7. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days

Makes about 8-12 servings, depending on your portion size, squash size, etc.


Kabocha squash is also called Japanese Pumpkin, it is warming and sweet.  It is known to dispel Dampness (that heavy/boggy feeling many of us know well post-holidays), tonify Qi and nourishes the Spleen and Stomach and regulates digestion and elimination.

Broth (Bone) is one of the best foods to help deeply nourish the body. It is high in protein, nutrients and minerals, nourishes Blood, tonifies Qi and Essence, tonifies Wei Qi (aka immune system), warms the Yang, and benefits the Kidneys, Spleen, Lungs and Liver.

Ginger (fresh) is warm, pungent and directs its energies to the Lung and Stomach.  It is commonly drunk to help alleviate feelings of coldness and to promote healthy digestive functioning.  It can be used to promote sweating for the alleviation of colds, and to alleviate nausea.  Here, its function is to warm the soup, and provide a little extra digestive “oomph”.  That, and I really like the bit of spicy edge that it brings to an otherwise sweet soup.

Gelatin is rich in amino acids and increases digestion, assists healing (of membranes, gastrointestinal tract, cartilage and bones, soft tissues).  In this sense, gelatin benefits the Kidneys, Stomach, Spleen and Lungs; as it is high in amino acids I believe that it also benefits the Liver.  I like that it feels so “Yinny” and “juicy” during these cold, dry months as it helps to smooth and nourish the skin.  As someone who tends towards Dampness and Phlegm, as I am an Earth constitution, I have been avoiding this additional ingredient and instead using long-cooked chicken broth for the soup.

The Tao of Nutrition


* I am not sponsored by Vital Proteins. I have no product or company affiliations.

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