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Eat and Drink

Splendid Spoon recipe: Winter soup

An acorn squash and white miso soup

An acorn squash and white miso soup with sunflower seeds, at the offices of Splendid Spoon on Seigel street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Winter doesn’t have to mean making soup out of frozen or imported veggies.

“It’s true, you can’t get sweet-smelling corn or warm, sun-ripened berries at the farmer’s market in January, but the increase in greenhouse and hydroponic farms has been a boon to the fresh vegetable market,” says Nicole Chaszar, founder of Splendid Spoon, a Brooklyn-based company that provides weekly plant-based soup meal plans. “Tomatoes, sprouts and nearly every variety of lettuce are grown in greenhouses and can be found at markets throughout the city.”

And a winter soup also doesn’t have to be flavored with heavy cream to be satisfying, either.

“Always the easier way to make something taste good is to add animal fat to it, but it’s really interesting how simple cooking techniques will bring out some nuance and flavor to pretty much any vegetable,” Chaszar says.

Chaszar likes adding dried mushrooms, like shiitake or porcini, to a vegetable base for a meaty flavor, using high-fat nuts instead of a dairy-based cream for richness and roasting vegetables for a “very nuanced, nutty flavor.”

For her winter soup, specially created for amNewYork, she roasts acorn squash, traditionally available this time of year, and purées it with a vegetable-miso broth for a hearty bowl that’s a great source of vitamin A and potassium, Chaszar says. Sunflower seeds also pack some protein and sunflower sprouts add some fresh green.

And as with any soup, the prep is all part of the process.

“Embrace the fact that it’s going to take a little bit more time,” Chaszar says. “Let it simmer in the background while you’re getting your weekend chores done or doing a little bit of yoga. By the time you’re done with your routine you will have a nice meal and leftovers for a couple meals, too.”

Splendid Spoon’s winter soup

Makes 2 lunch portions or 4 snack/side dish portions


1 acorn squash, halved and deseeded

1 tbsp. coconut oil for roasting (may substitute with olive oil)

1 tsp. coconut oil for cooking onions and garlic (may substitute with olive oil)

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1 tsp. dry sage)

Pinch of red chili flakes

1 qt. vegetable broth (or water)

4 tbsp. white miso

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight in water

Sunflower sprouts and sesame oil for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place acorn squash halves in a baking dish.

2. Rub the orange flesh of the acorn squash with coconut oil and place in oven to roast for 60 minutes or until fork-tender. Once acorn squash is done, scoop out the flesh and set aside.

3. In a medium pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent (5-7 minutes).

4. Add sage and chili flakes and stir to combine.

5. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer.

6. Place miso paste in a small bowl. Scoop out a 1/2 cup of the boiled broth and pour over miso. Stir with a whisk to dissolve till there are no lumps. Pour miso mixture back into broth.

7. Bring to a boil and add roasted acorn squash and soaked sunflower seeds. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

8. Purée with an immersion blender or in batches using a standard countertop blender.

9. Serve warm with a garnish of sunflower sprouts and sesame oil.


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