Consider this the anti-classic sweet potato side dish. Yes, it’s filled with that squash-y yammy sweetness, but without the marshmallow intensity you’ll find with most side dishes. Subtly spiced and all about the vegetables, this kabocha squash, yam, and celery root soup, with hints of smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander, is the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer. Enjoy!



1/4 cup olive oil, plus two tablespoons

2 onion, peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika (aka pimenton)

1/4 teaspoon dried chile flakes

1 kabocha squash

1 butternut squash

1 large yam

1 large celery root


fresh-ground black pepper

brown sugar

8 cups chicken broth

4 cups water (if needed)



Halve and seed the kabocha and butternut squash, peel and halve the celery root, and coat them, plus the yam, in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast in a 425 F oven for 30 minutes, or until soft and deeply browned. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add a 1/4 cup of olive oil, add the onion and garlic, caramelizing. Grind the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and chile flakes in a mortar and pestle. Scoop the roasted kabocha and butternut squash out of its shell, and the yams out of its skin, and add them, along with the celery root, to the pot with the caramelized onions. Add the spices and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the broth and simmer for about 30 minutes. Pour the soup into a blender or using an immersion circulator, blitz the soup until luxuriously smooth. Add water if it feels too thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and brown sugar.