Red Kabocha Rice Soup

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This red kabocha rice soup is the squash rice soup recipe of our dreams. If you’re looking for a great red kabocha recipe, read on because this one is a keeper!

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Despite the weather still being quite hot, I’ve been settling into some delicious fall recipes. This kabocha rice soup has to be one of my favorite experiments. I had one meal in mind but as I went along, it evolved into a beautiful, comforting, and warming recipe.

It’s very loosely based on a zosui recipe which is a beautiful Japanese rice soup typically prepared with cooked rice, dashi, egg, and vegetables. While this soup doesn’t have all of those components, this is still a beautiful, thick comforting bowl of rice soup that has some beautiful flavors thanks to Japanese ingredients, like shichimi-togarashi.

Like most squash soup recipes, the squash variety you use can be interchanged with your favorite squash variety. I used red kabocha which is a Japanese pumpkin variety and requires a bit more prep compared to, say, butternut squash, so just be mindful of that when picking your squash for the soup.

How to make this red kabocha rice soup:

If using kabocha squash, you will need to cook it in the oven or microwave first prior to cutting and peeling it. Unless you’re way stronger than me, I’ve found that even with my heaviest knife, I cannot cut or peel the pumpkin unless it has softened first.

To start, place the pumpkin in the oven for 15 minutes. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes or so before cutting it in half. You can eat the skins of the kabocha, so I choose to peel half the pumpkin and leave the remaining half skin-on. The peeled half will be pureed into the soup base while the skin-on pieces will be enjoyed in the soup.

If you like, you can scoop out the seeds of the kabocha and remove the stringy parts and roast them in the oven until crispy to use as a garnish.

Once the kabocha is prepared and ready to go, start the soup. Cook diced onion and then add the diced, peeled kabocha. Next, add chili oil, sesame oil, and butter. Pour in water or vegetable stock and simmer for 20–30 minutes until the kabocha is very soft. Blend or mash the soup until smooth. To finish the soup, add the skin-on kabocha pieces along with the rice and simmer for 30 minutes more until the rice is tender and the kabocha is fork-tender. To serve the soup, simply spoon into bowls, garnish with microgreens. Sprinkle with shichimi togarashi, squash seeds, and more chili oil if you like.

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Red Kabocha Rice Soup

This red kabocha rice soup is the squash rice soup recipe of our dreams. If you're looking for a great red kabocha recipe, read on because this one is a keeper!
5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 349kcal



  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil divided
  • pound red or green kabocha divided
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chili oil more or less depending on taste
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 6 cups water or vegetable stock plus more as needed
  • 1 cup white rice
  • Shichimi togarashi for serving
  • Chili oil and sesame oil for serving
  • Microgreens or sliced scallions optional, for serving
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the kabocha:

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place the kabocha on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Do not turn the oven off.
  • Once the kabocha is cool enough to handle, cut the kabocha in half from the top stem to the bottom of the kabocha.
  • Scoop out the seeds and transfer to a sieve.
  • Peel one half of the kabocha and cut the flesh into bite sized-cubes. Set aside.
  • Leave the skin on the remaining half of the kabocha and cut it into 2” cubes. Set aside.

Prepare the soup base:

  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon avocado oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes until it softens. Add the peeled kabocha cubes to the onion and cook for 3–5 minutes until it begins to turn golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the butter into the pot and add the chili oil and sesame oil. Pour in the water or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20–30 minutes until completely soft. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Cook the squash seeds:

  • As the broth simmers, prepare the seeds. Rinse the warm seeds under water and remove the stringy bits of kabocha from them. Pat the seeds dry and arrange on the same baking sheet used for the kabocha. Add more oil, if needed.
  • Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the oven for 10 minutes, flipping once midway through. Remove from the oven once the seeds are golden brown and crispy. Set aside.

Cook the rice:

  • Once the kabocha is very tender, mash it with a potato masher or use an immersion blender to blend until completely smooth. Add the rice and the skin-on kabocha and season with salt. Keep the heat on low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the kabocha cubes and rice are very tender. Add more water as necessary if the liquid evaporates too quickly. Stir the soup regularly to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Taste and season again to your preferences.

To serve:

  • Ladle the rice soup into bowls and pile a few pieces of skin-on kabocha on top. Garnish with more chli and sesame oil, a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi, and a few microgreens. Sprinkle the crispy kabocha seeds on top. Enjoy!


Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 60mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin C: 25mg
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