Clean Green Eats for Your Holidays: Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup & Butternut Squash Pasta

We all know the holidays can make it hard to stay healthy, clean and lean. Our favorite wellness journalist, Candice Kumai (ELLE magazine just called her, “The golden girl of the wellness world”!) is also a chef and bestselling author of the new book, Clean Green Eats. Today she’s showing us how to clean up your Holiday Table with these mouth-watering, nutrient-rich Holiday Favorites, that are sure to please everyone from your vegan friends to those paleo fans. 

Recipes from Candice Kumai's new book, Clean Green Eats

One of the great things about kabocha squash is that you don’t need to peel it—you can eat the skin, which is full of nutrients. My mom used to make it for us when we were kids in Cali, but it wasn’t until I moved to the East Coast that I really began to fall in love with this warm, winter squash. There is nothing better than a bowl of this soup on a rainy, chilly afternoon.

Kabocha Quinoa Soup from Candice Kumai's new book, Clean Green Eats

Roasted Kabocha Squash and Quinoa Soup

Serves 4


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 large kabocha squash, unpeeled, halved, and cut into 3⁄4-inch cubes
8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3⁄4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos
1⁄2 cup shredded lacinato kale leaves


In a large stockpot, warm the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and bay leaves and sauté for an additional 5 minutes until fragrant.

Add the kabocha and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the squash begins to develop some color.

Pour in the broth and bring the soup to a boil. Turn heat to low and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Adjust the heat to medium-low, add the quinoa, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Stir in the Bragg Liquid Aminos, add the shredded kale, and heat just until the kale has wilted slightly. Serve immediately, paired with some matcha green tea for extra cleansing!

Butternut Squash and Shells

Once you make this there’s no turning back: your new go-to mac and cheese recipe. With creamy, velvety butternut squash and decadent, rich coconut milk, there’s a new way to indulge in mac and cheese! I love using shells or penne in my mac and cheese, but feel free to use elbow macaroni or whatever pasta you’d like— you could also swap in whole wheat or gluten-free pasta.

Butternut Squash and Shells Pasta from Candice Kumai's new book, Clean Green Eats Serves 8


1 medium butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and chopped into 1-inch cubes 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
11⁄2 cups canned light coconut milk
4 cups pasta shells or penne, cooked and drained (your choice, gluten-free or regular pasta!)
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Gruyère or Parmesan cheese (omit for vegans)
Coconut oil or olive oil cooking spray, for the pan


1⁄2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon granulated garlic powder
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 cup finely chopped kale leaves


Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch pan with coconut oil or olive oil cooking spray.

In a large saucepan, combine the butternut squash, garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, nutmeg, salt, broth, and coconut milk. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, and making sure the all the squash is submerged. Simmer until the butternut squash is fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs.

Carefully place the squash mixture in a food processor or blender and purée until velvety smooth.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water, remove all excess liquid.

Spread out the pasta in the prepared pan, and pour the squash–coconut milk purée over the pasta. Gently fold in the 1⁄4 cup cheese and mix well to combine, ensuring that all noodles are coated. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until bubbly and cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the topping.

Remove the mac and cheese from the oven, uncover, and sprinkle the top with the herbed bread-crumb topping, followed by a sprinkle of the remaining 2 tablespoons grated cheese. Transfer to the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes until brown and bubbly.