Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Parmesan

The flavor of butternut squash in this bright yellow soup is balanced with onion, leeks, celery, sage, a generous amount of Parmesan and nutmeg. Cayenne and black pepper give it a bit of a kick. This is a nice starter for an autumn meal.
Based on a recipe by Moira Hodgson, The New York Times, November 2, 1997.
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Soups, Vegetarian
Keyword: Freezes Well
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Catherine Christiano


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups Spanish or vidalia onion diced
  • 1 1/2 cups celery diced, approximately 2 large celery stalks
  • 2 cups leeks white part only, coarsely chopped, approximately 2 average sized leeks
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced thin
  • 7 cups no sodium chicken broth preheated. Use vegetable broth for vegetarian version
  • 1/4 pound Parmesan piece or rinds
  • 10 cups butternut squash peeled and 1" cubed (approximately two, 2 lb squash)
  • 3 fresh sage leaves chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 3 scallions thinly sliced
  • freshly grated Parmesan


  • In a 6 quart stock pot over medium heat, heat canola oil, . Add onion, celery, leeks and garlic; cook until soft, approximately 7 minutes.
  • Add chicken or vegetable broth and Parmesan or rinds; simmer 15 minutes. Add butternut squash, sage, bay leaf, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne. Cook until  squash is tender, about 10 - 15 minutes.
  • Remove bay leaf and cheese. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree until smooth. If too thick, add additional broth. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve warm, garnished with scallions. Pass freshly grated Parmesan separately. 


Handling butternut and acorn squash can cause a contact dermatitis reaction, resulting in orange and cracked skin. To avoid this, wear gloves when peeling.
Copyright 2023, Catherine Christiano. Website by Catherine Christiano.