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Recipe: Winter Squash Stew with Indian Spices and Fresh Spinach

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We don’t know how, but the winter squash manages to store all of August’s light under its skin. You know the one – its flesh is the colour you want to paint your kitchen wall in January. All of your winter cravings are stewed into one in this delicately spiced, satisfying pot. Serve fresh Chapati on the side and add a couple of diced fresh tomatoes or a cup of peas along with the spinach in this versatile dish.

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Serves 6-8
Vegan, Gluten Free

  • coconut or grapeseed oil for sauteing
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp whole black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 cups delicata squash, peeled and diced in 1/2″ cubes*
  • 2 cups kabocha squash, peeled and diced in 1/2″ cubes*
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 5 cups water or vegetable stock (39)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (or chopped tender kale)
  • season to taste with salt, pepper and chili
  • juice of one lemon


  1. In a large soup pot, saute the onion, garlic, ginger and mustard seeds in a little oil until tender.
  2. In a dry frying pan, toast the whole cumin and coriander seeds until they start to brown and smoke a little. Allow to cool and grind into fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder.
  3. Add this ground spice and the turmeric to the onions and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the squash and celery and continue to saute and stir for a minute or so before topping with the water or stock.
  5. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the squash is really tender.
  6. Transfer half the soup to a blender or use a hand blender to blend for just a couple seconds. We like the stew that still has some healthy chunks of squash.
  7. As soon as you’re ready to serve, stir in the spinach just so that it wilts.
  8. Season with salt, pepper, hot chili and lemon juice.


* 1 1/2 lbs of any combination of winter squash can be used, such as acorn, red kuri, butternut, sweet dumpling, autumn cup, banana, carnival, hubbard, turban, gold nugget. You get the idea 🙂

Cook’s tip

Freshly ground spices boast the most flavour. Buy an extra coffee grinder that you can use for spices.
This recipe by Hollyhock Cook Moreka Jolar was initially published in one of our Hollyhock cookbooks. Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels.

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