Kabocha Squash Soup from Kaimana Brummel of Blue Zones Project

The meal Kaimana Brummel makes for every occasion has humble beginnings at her local farmers market where she first discovered the star of her kabocha squash soup. Kaimana lives right across the street from Upcountry Farmers Market in Pukalani, Maui.

When she had her first child one of their weekly rituals was walking across the street and shopping at the market. When she started making her son’s baby food a farmer at the market suggested kabocha squash, something she had never tried before despite living on Maui her whole life, and she’s been cooking with it ever since. Around that same time this mama found her dream job with Blue Zones Project working to co-create healthy lifestyle opportunities for the people of her homeland, Hawaii Nei.

If you’re wondering— a blue zone is a place in the world where people live a longer, healthier, happier life. Extensive studies have identified 5 places in the world where people live long and live well. 70% of our wellness is affected by our lifestyle choices; where we work, what we eat, where we live, our stress levels, etc. Blue Zones Project set out to create a healthier community by bringing what the people do in the blue zones to other communities across the world. Hosting one-on-one cooking demonstrations using fresh, nutritious ingredients and advocating volunteerism that fosters a connection to community are just a couple of ways Blue Zones brings health to Hawai’i. They also work with employers to implement employee incentives for maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, taking walk breaks and also offering flexible standing/sitting work spaces while on the clock.

“I think eating is super sacred. You’re putting something into your body and it becomes who you are. You wanna connect with this aina then you need to eat from this aina.”

Kaimana Brummel

Less stuff, more stuff, different spices— depending on who you’re cooking for you can add or subtract any of the ingredients. Sometimes no curry at all, or less curry and no onions for new mothers, swap in veggie broth and make this dish vegan, extra ginger and ‘olena for people who are not feeling well. Kaimana shares, “using fresh ingredients really makes a difference.”

Also, what you eat this kabocha squash soup with makes this recipe even more delicious; kale, chickpeas, or quinoa are Kaimana’s go-to’s. And when she feels like she kinda needs a hug she uses less broth so the soup is extra thick, velvety and comforting. When it comes to food Kaimana believes cooking is therapeutic and intuitive, “I think about the people I’m making food for and I put my aloha and mana into it.”

Kaimana’s Kabocha Squash Soup


  • 1 Kabocha Squash 
  • 1 Tbs Coconut Oil 
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, diced 
  • 1 tsp Garlic, minced 
  • 4 C. Broth of choice
  • 1-inch Fresh Ginger, chopped
  • 1-inch Fresh ‘Olena (turmeric), chopped
  • 1-2 Tbs Curry Powder 
  • 1 C. Carrots, chopped
  • 1 can Coconut Milk 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Scrub kabocha well, cut in half, and remove seeds. Place face down on prepared baking pan. Roast 45 minutes, or until fork tender. 
  • Set aside to slightly cool before handling. Chop into large 3-inch chunks. 
  • In a large pot, saute the onion in oil. Once onions are translucent, add garlic and kabocha and stir well.
  • Add broth, ginger, turmeric, curry powder, carrots and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Simmer on low until carrots are tender. 
  • Turn off the heat. Blend with an immersion blender, or in small batches in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Do you have a recipe highlighting Hawaii grown produce that you’d like to share?
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