Butternut Squash Soup from A Year at Killara Farm

This butternut squash soup recipe from Christine Allen's new book A Year at Killara Farm will leave your tastebuds delighted

Including 50 of Christine Allen’s best recipes, and strewn with flowers plucked and dried from her own garden, A Year at Killara Farm is illustrated front to back with the delightful watercolour paintings of Michael Kluckner, acclaimed artist and author of the bestselling Vanishing Vancouver books

Author Christine Allen shares a delicious butternut squash soup recipe from her new book, A Year at Killara Farm

This past spring I had a delicious editing and eating experience while giving author Christine Allen a hand with the final touches on her new book, A Year at Killara Farm.

A celebrated plantswoman, Christine is a regular contributor to BC Home & Garden among other magazines, and author of several books including Roses for the Pacific Northwest and Growing Up: A Gardener’s Guide to Climbing Plants.

In her newest book Christine shares garden secrets drawn from decades, such as the elusively scented Primula altaica that can bring you to your knees, and the delights of Cyclamen hederifolium with its tightly coiled new stems the pink of mice feet.

And amongst her abundant month-by-month observations are many from her edible garden: red-tinted lettuce is favoured for its surprising resistance to slugs, French sorrel is snipped down for a second season, potatoes are chitted, apples espaliered, and ‘Darki’ parsley lines the mixed potager of lettuce, spinach, rapini and arugula in anticipation of her Glad Green Salad.

A Year at Killara Farm Recipes

And from the garden beds, A Year at Killara Farm also pulls us monthly into Christine’s kitchen, with more than 50 of her best recipes.

The tidying of the vegetable garden on chilly afternoons leads to silky soups of carrots and parsnips with orange or tarragon, or fortifying Soupe au Pistou served with Seedy Bread.

Nettle Quiche, Pesto-asparagus Pizza and Sorrel Soup are meals of the month when perennial edibles send up their welcome green shoots. Tomatoes are packed into jars to be served with goat’s cheese and French bread. Fall hips as big as crabapples on rugosa ‘Fru Dagmar Hartopp’ are turned into Rosehip Loaf. And orchard fruit becomes French Apple Galette or is dried on the woodstove, shrivelling into candy-sweet crescents.

As you can imagine, editing Christine’s book last spring, I was ravenous a good deal of the time, and dinnertime inevitably led to trying many of her recipes. Never has my family eaten so well, and many of these meals have become part of our seasonal rituals now, including this unforgettable fall-harvest soup that has us picking up every butternut squash we come across at our local farm market.

Join Christine and Michael and garden editor Carol Pope at their book launch at VanDusen Garden at the BMO Great Hall at VanDusen Garden on Thursday, November 8 at 4 pm.

Butternut Squash Soup from A Year at Killara Farm

Butternut Squash

Creamy butter nut squash soup (Image: Flickr / Sholeh)

We usually harvest our winter squash just before Halloween: a half dozen round, green-and-silver-speckled ‘Delicata’, and a similar number of ‘Waltham Butternut’. The former will be baked in their skins while the latter will make delicious soups for cold winter nights.


  • 1 leek
  • 1½ Tbsp (23 mL) butter or margarine
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) chili flakes
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
  • 2 cups (475 mL) butternut squash, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cups (1 L) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups (475 mL) spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) cilantro, finely chopped


  1. Discard dark-green part of leek, cut remainder lengthways into two pieces, and wash carefully to remove any grit.
  2. Slice thinly crosswise.
  3. Melt butter or magarine in a large saucepan, add leek and crushed garlic.
  4. Cook, stirring until leek softens. Add chili flakes, cumin, squash and carrots. Stir to combine.
  5. Add stock, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  6. Add spinach and stir a few minutes until the leaves are wilted.
  7. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkling of cilantro.

Serves two to four.