From Iceland — Butternutskvasssúpa: Icelandic Halloween Soup

Butternutskvasssúpa: Icelandic Halloween Soup

Published October 27, 2015

Butternutskvasssúpa: Icelandic Halloween Soup
York Underwood
Photo by
York Underwood

Halloween is starting to be celebrated here. For Icelanders, it’s really new, like a mean spirited Ash Wednesday. Yet strolling through any grocery store, you’ll see lots of great fall vegetables to make hearty soups. This butternut squash soup with fennel and toasted pumpkins seeds is the perfect fall soup. Fennel seems to be in every Icelandic grocery store. There might not be celery, but there will be fennel. It’s a beautiful, aromatic vegetable, which will fill your kitchen with that great liquorice smell, complimenting the sweetness of the butternut squash. Adding a bit of chilli to the soup gives it a nice spicy lift, warming us up and getting us through the cold and rainy October.

This is a vegetarian soup. In the old days, the Icelandic word for vegetarian was glorsoltin–roughly translated it means “starving.” Now, thanks to trading, it’s not only possible, but popular to be a vegetarian. It’s healthy, and it makes inviting you to dinner parties a happy struggle.

Here’s an Icelandic twist on a ghoulish delight.

Butternutskvasssúpa: Icelandic Butternut Squash Soup (Vegetarian)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time:  45 minutes


1     Butternut Squash or Pumpkin or both (I used Butternut Squash and carved the pumpkin)

1     Large Yellow Onion

2     Kgs Carrots

1     Celeriac (Celery Root)

4     Bulbs of Fennel

250 ml of 18% Cream

4    Cloves of Garlic

5     Handfuls of Pumpkin Seeds

1     Chilli

3     Tablespoons of Butter and enough Vegetable Bouillon to handle three litres of water.

Heavy Cream for garnish


1. Melt three tablespoons of butter on medium heat in the pot. Roughly chop the carrots and add them to the pot. (We are going to blend this later, so don’t worry too much about the chopping).

Carrots Halloween

2. Dice the onion and add to the pot.

Onion Halloween

3. Dice the Fennel and add to the pot.


4. Peel and chop the celeriac and add to the pot.

Celeriac Halloween

5. Scoop out the seeds from the Butternut Squash and set aside. Peel and chop the squash and add to the pot.

Butternut Squash Halloween

6. Peel and chop the garlic and dice the chilli. Add to the pot and cook everything for about 15 minutes.

Garlic and Chilli Halloween

7. Add about 2.5 litres of water, the vegetable bouillon and boil the pot for about 30 minutes.

Halloween Soup

8. While the pot is boiling, toast the pumpkin or squash seeds with a splash of oil and seasoned with salt.  Add cream while blending the soup with a hand blender or transfer into a blender with cream. Season well.  If you saved the top from your fennel bulbs, use it as a garnish with the toasted seeds to make a jack-o-latern. Drizzle with cream.

Halloween Soup

9. Eat by candle light and read your favourite magazine or scary story.

Halloween Soup Full

Remember to share this recipe with your friends and loved ones.

Also, send us your recipes. Let’s get through this winter together.

One Soup Tuesday at a time.

WTF is a Soup Tuesday?

As the sun yet again makes her draining descent towards winter solstice, it has become clear: fall has arrived. The darkness in store will likely bring a lot of you down, but don’t fret or give up—there are a number of methods for fighting off the winter blues: Reading, lýsi, sex, drugs, alcohol, and—of course—soup. Now, doing most of those things would be mostly inappropriate, if not illegal, at the Reykjavík Grapevine’s offices (if it were one of those “appropriate” offices)—except for maybe the lýsi and reading. And of course, the soup.

Lýsi is kinda disgusting and reading is for nerds, so to combat the coming full-scale attack of the SADs, we decided to started a new tradition to help us make it through the coming winter: SOUP TUESDAYS. Yes! Soup Tuesdays! Every Tuesday, we’ll be making a different soup in our shitty little office, document the process and then show you how to make one for yourself.

You can also send us your best recipes (on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email), with a photo, so we can share soup knowledge throughout the world. Together we can make it through the bad weather.

Solace and Solidarity in Soup.

Happy Soup Tuesday.


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