Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Basil Pecan Pesto

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(This article was originally published on January 16, 2021 and was last updated on August 6, 2021)

Butternut squash soup is a staple in any kitchen. It’s full of flavor, and can be made vegetarian or vegan-friendly with little substitutions. This recipe is an easy meal on days when you have the time, and pairs with crusty bread and a salad.

Butternut squash soup is often paired with pecans, and there are plenty of recipes out there too where they’re drizzled with basil pistou, herbed creme fraiche, or topped with a dollop of basil.

This recipe combines the best of both worlds, topping it with a pecan pesto to offer a nutty herbaciousness that’s divine!

Late summer and fall are the perfect time to make this suit, because you’ll find plenty of butternut squash in your local markets. I’m such a huge fan, I tend to buy one (or, let’s be honest, sometimes two) whenever I see them. I just can’t resist the flavor, the good for you factor, and the versatility of this gourd!

And this soup is one of my favorite ways to use it all up. It’s

  • Creamy
  • Packed with flavorful
  • Simple to make
  • Warming on a cool day
  • Packed with both my favorite fall flavors and my favorite summer flavors (yes, basil).
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Yield: 6


  • For the Soup:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken or veggie stock
  • 1/2 cup apple cider (Not apple cider vinegar! Actual apple cider)
  • 1 Medium butternut squash (around 2 pounds). Peeled and cubed.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 to 2 cups heavy cream
  • For the Basil Pecan Pesto:
  • 1/2 cup pecans for the pesto – I prefer to dry toast them on a skillet for a few minutes, but if you’re short on time you can use un-toasted, plus another 1/4 cup or so to garnish the soup
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 to 3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed. Can use multiple types of basil leaves for great variety, if you have access, or stick to sweet Genovese basil.
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
  • For garnish:
  • Whole toasted pecans (included in pesto ingredients, above)
  • Croutons

Instructions for the Soup

  1. Prep the butternut squash by washing, peeling, and cutting into cubes.
  2. In a large stock pot on medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the brown sugar and spices to the butter, and stir it in to mix, for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the stock and apple cider, and bring to a boil.
  4. Add butternut squash and carrots, and season with freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, simmer until the butternut squash and carrots are soft, about 30 minutes.
  5. Check frequently as it simmers to ensure there’s enough liquid. If the liquid starts to evaporate too much, add more stock.
  6. Once the veggies are tender, add everything into a blender and purée until smooth.
  7. To the blender, at 1 cup of heavy cream and blend. If needed, add more cream and blend until the soup is creamy and somewhat thick.
  8. Return the soup to the pot, and keep on low to keep warm.
  9. Serve into bowls, and drizzle a garnish of the pecan pesto on top. Add a few toasted pecans, and croutons if decided.

Instructions for the Basil Pecan Pesto

  1. Toast pecans and allow them to cool. To toast, you can either toast in the oven at 350F, for about 5 to 10 minutes. Or you can toast them stovetop in a skillet, about 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat (oil or butter is optional but not necessary).
  2. Once cool, add the pecans and all the other ingredients into a food processor, and process until you achieve a smooth pesto consistency that’s liquid enough to drizzle.

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