Adzuki Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

A hearty adzuki and butternut squash soup recipe adapted from Jae Steele's Get It Ripe cookbook. The soup has a bit of chipotle flavor and is made even better with a drizzle of cilantro olive oil prior to serving.

Adzuki Butternut Squash Soup

You've likely walked past the diminutive adzuki a hundred times in the bin section of your local market. Next time stop, fill a bag, and take a few hundred tiny red pebbles home with you. They're great, nutritional powerhouses, and the stars of a hearty stew-like soup I'm highlighting today. If you've never had them before, they have a sweet, subtly grassy flavor, tender skins, and hold their petite shape beautifully. You cook them just as you would any other dried beans. Paired with butternut squash here you've got sweet on sweet, which is then offset by a good dose of chipotle pepper, cilantro, and proper seasoning.

Adzuki Butternut Squash Soup

The recipe is adapted from a soup I discovered in Jae Steele's Get It Ripe cookbook - an inspiring volume I picked up last year in a book store up the street from my house. Jae is a Canadian-based holistic nutritionist, and her cookbook is filled with recipes emphasizing whole, unprocessed ingredients. All 150 recipes are vegan, and she notes special dietary considerations as well - gluten-free, soy-free, etc. It has become harder and harder for me to find cookbooks that highlight the palette of ingredients I'm most interested in exploring, so I was particularly excited when I saw this one. Her cookies, cakes, and brownies often feature spelt or other whole grain flours, and are more often sweetened with maple syrup than granulated sugar. She also includes a few primer sections in the front of the book covering topics ranging from eating local and stocking your whole foods pantry, to digestion basics and micro-nutrient content of certain whole foods. For those of you looking to incorporate more veg-friendly, whole foods into your meals (and baking!) - there are lots of great ideas here.

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Adzuki Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

if you like a bit more smoky heat, add more chipotle pepper to taste toward the end. Jae uses 1-2 chopped red bell peppers in place of the tomatoes here. You could certainly use a vegetable stock here in place of the water, but be sure to scale back on the added salt if you go this route - stock can be on the salty side. As with many stews, it's even better the day after, and I've been enjoying it over brown rice as well.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon (dried) coriander
2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle pepper (from can, or rehydrated from dried chile)
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 medium-large onions
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 - 6 cups water
5 whole canned tomatoes, chopped
4 cups cooked or canned adzuki beans

cilantro drizzle (optional)*

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, coriander, chipotle and salt and saute for a minute or two - until aromatic. Add the onions and saute another 5 minutes or so, until they start to go translucent. Add the garlic and butternut squash, stir well, and then add 5 cups of water. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, and once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for afew minutes, until the squash begins to soften - 5 - 10 minutes.

Once the squash has softened, use a potato masher and break up the squash pieces a bit. Add the tomatoes, and cook a couple more minutes before adding the beans. Serve drizzled with the cilantro.

Serves about 8.

* I made a quick cilantro drizzle by finely mincing a handful of cilantro. I put it in a jar, and poured just enough olive oil over to cover - plus a couple pinches of salt.

Adapted from Jae Steele's Get It Ripe: A Fresh Take on Vegan Cooking and Living (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008)

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Great ! Now in my rss reader.


Looks delish! I've discovered your blog in December and have been cooking at least 2 or more of your recipes each week with great success and resounding 'yummy' from the whole family. Because of the kids, I usually leave out the chipotles (or red pepper flakes) that a number of the recipes call for - however, my husband and I like the spiciness. Is it possible to add at the end or drizzle over in our bowls or does it need to be cooked earlier on to get the flavor best?


Thank you so much for this recipe, I will definitely have to try it! And thank you Glenda for the hint on the baking soda...have to try that too! I love beans, but it seems that even when I soak them, discard soaking water and rinse, and cook in new water, they still don't love me. Adzuki beans are supposed to be easier on the digestive system, so this recipe and this hint are music to my ears! Will have to make this weekend.


The soup sounds goegeous! I've never had savoury aduki bean soup before actually. I've always had it sweet as a dessert.


Hi I made this last night, but with leeks instead of onions, because we had lots in our veggie box. It tasted fab! Thanks for the review of the receipe. Mandy


Hi Heidi, The recipe is great. I love this Adzuki Butternut Squash Soup.


I will definitely try this - my only previous experience with adzuki beans was not a happy one because the beans never did get soft, and there was an off taste, but I think they were old when I got them.


heidi, does everyone know that if you soak dried beans for 24 hours in a bowl of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda, then rinse thoroughly before cooking it removes at least 90% of the gas factor? so easy and it works. i want to spread the news because i have now lost my fear of beans (though i always loved the taste). i'm sure if more meat eaters knew this, they would convert.

glenda Mathew

I have 2 cans of these beans and now i know what to do with them. Sounds like a crock pot fancy.


I have to say that any dish that features bean, chipotles and cilantro does not just sound fantastic to me, butis nourishing and comforting as well. I think that we should let the so-called Third World teach us about what is good food and in so many things as well.

La Traductora

I've never commented before--but gosh, all of the recipes you post look beautiful and are fantastic. I'm totally going to try this one. I love squash, and beans, (I've actually had this bean in a sweet form--in a bar of sorts, if I remember), and I think it looks just wonderful. Thank you for your blog, your photos and your recipes--especially for those of us who are wheat-free!


Sounds wonderful, and I'll definately be checking out that book. Thanks for the recommendation!


This looks delicious. I had adzuki beans growing up quite a bit but always as a dessert ingredient. This would definitely be great with brown rice or quinoa.

lisa (dandysugar)

I've had adzuki bean soup as a dessert, but not like this! Thanks for the yummy-sounding recipe.


Yum - this sounds like a great recipe! I love the texture of adzuki beans.


Hi Heidi, Thanks for the tips. This recipe shows another tasty approach to adzuki. Just want to bring to your attention the search box on the top of the page.


Yes, I love beans! And with the sad state of the economy, there's nothing better than bean, peas, lentils -- to make inexpensive and healthy meals. You can buy a big bag of organic beans (my current favorite is Anasazi beans) and make them into several different meals. Add some corn bread or something and you have a delightful, cheap, and healthy meal. I love the idea of squash in the beans. Melissa


My husband dislikes winter squash -- but he LOVED your Thai-spiced pumpkin soup, so maybe he'll like this one as well! The chipotles and cilantro will complement the sweetness of the squash.


I have never heard of those kinds of beans, I can't wait to see if I can find them at the store. It seems you can do a lot with them!


I have been wondering what to do for some adzuki beans in my pantry and this looks delicious - I will definitely give it a try, sounds like great flavors, thanks!


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