Recipe: Heidi Swanson’s Summer Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

updated Jun 5, 2019
Heidi Swanson's Summer Squash Soup
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(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

I think most of us know (and love) Heidi Swanson’s website, 101 Cookbooks. It has certainly been one of my favorite food reads for many years, and I am always inspired by the way Heidi brings vegetables to the fore, often in unexpected ways. So when we were hunting for some fresh ways to feature zucchini and squash this week, Heidi’s books were one of the first places I looked.

This soup is one of the rare soups that sounds appealing in the summertime — a spicy, tangy blend of Thai red curry paste, coconut milk, tofu, and squash. It’ll make you sweat — in a good way.

This has so many flavors I love — starting with the red curry paste and ending with the coconut milk. There are potatoes to make it even more hearty and dinner-worthy, but beyond that it’s simple. Just a few ingredients, and lots of vegetables. I imagine eating this lukewarm over sticky rice in the summer, and very hot in the winter.

Eat this soup with this juice from Heidi: Pineapple Coconut Water Recipe at 101 Cookbooks

The soup is versatile, too — make it pureed or chunky. As Heidi explains, “For the smooth version, you can substitute green curry paste for the red, and puree the whole lot with an immersion blender before topping with the tofu croutons and serving. This chunky version is primarily a concession to aesthetics; when you puree the red curry with green-skinned vegetables, it makes for an off-colored soup.”

And the suggested finishing touch, according to Heidi? Another summer goodie: “If you happen to have fresh basil on hand, sliver a small handful of it and use it as a finishing touch. A drizzle of basil oil is nice, too.”

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Tester’s Notes

Tofu croutons, what a smart idea! This flavorful soup was easy to make, fragrant, and comforting, and had enough vegetables and tofu packed in to be nice and filling. It’s a great way to use up summer squash, but I imagine you can sub in other vegetables or even chicken if you want to change things up.

Christine, June 2015

Heidi Swanson's Summer Squash Soup

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 8 ounces

    extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • Fine-grain sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    red Thai curry paste, plus more if needed

  • 3 tablespoons

    extra-virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the tofu croutons

  • 3

    large shallots, chopped

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    yellow summer squash or zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch chunks

  • 12 ounces

    potatoes, unpeeled, cut into tiny cubes

  • 4

    cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 cups

    lightly flavored vegetable broth or water

  • 1

    (14-ounce) can coconut milk


  1. Season the tofu with a pinch of salt, toss with a small amount of oil, and cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, and continue cooking until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy, 3 to 4 more minutes. Set aside.

  2. Mash the curry paste into the coconut oil until the paste is well-incorporated. Heat this paste in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the shallots and a couple of pinches of salt and sauté until the shallots are tender, another couple of minutes. Stir in the squash and potatoes and cook until the squash starts to get tender, a few minutes. Stir in the garlic, then add the broth and coconut milk. Bring just to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt or curry paste, if needed. Serve each bowl topped with some of the tofu croutons

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.

→ Check out Heidi’s book! Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson