Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Savory-Sweet Butternut Squash Soup

Crisp fall weather, bright orange leaves decking the trees, root vegetables galore in the produce aisle--what does that call for?

To me, it's butternut squash soup time.  This is one of the creamiest, most delectable, most comforting vegan soups I have ever made or tasted, and it's so darn magical that, except for about a tablespoon or so of olive oil (or butter), it's almost completely fat free.  But it's thick, warm, starchy, and really, really good!  Combines, obviously, like a starch with the Natalia Rose program.

Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 6-8

1 large to medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 large sweet onion, minced
1 32-oz carton low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup original flavor almond milk (really optional)
1/2 juicy lemon, juiced
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp coriander
Large pinch of herbes de Provence
1 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Chop up the butternut squash and scoop out the pulp.  Squeeze all the seeds out of the pulp and reserve them in a small bowl.  Cut up the pulp and add to the pot when you add the butternut squash cubes.

In a large pot, turn the heat to medium-high and add the olive oil or butter.  When hot, toss in the onions, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, stir, and wait, stirring as needed, until they turn translucent.

Add in the spices:  the garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes, paprika, cinnamon, coriander, and herbes de Provence.  Toss and cook for about 1 minute, letting the spices roast a little.  Be careful not to let the spices or the garlic burn; add more oil or butter as needed.

Add in the cubed butternut squash.  Toss with the onions and spices and saute, occasionally stirring, for about 3 minutes.

Pour in the vegetable broth, about a teaspoon of salt, and at least half a teaspoon of ground pepper.  Bring the soup up to a boil, turn the heat down to simmer, cover the pot, and let cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Even a cheap blender will do this well, because the squash has been cooked through.  Either use an immersion blender to blend up the soup, if you are lucky enough to own one, or pour the soup into a regular blender and process in batches.  If you do the latter, have an extra bowl nearby so you have something to pour the blended batches into while there is still unblended soup in your pot.  Be careful; it's very hot.  Pour all the soup back into the soup pot.  Isn't that the most gorgeous orange color?

Add the lemon juice and, if you like, the almond milk; stir.  It will be hot, so keep that in mind as you season to taste.  If anything, it will most likely need more salt.  Mmmmm!

Roasted Butternut Squash Seeds
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Take the reserved butternut squash seeds and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spread the seeds out on the foil, and bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes, then sprinkle over the bowls of soup.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

  • If you can possibly buy pre-cubed butternut squash, this recipe will be a total breeze.  On the other hand, I used to think that chopping it up was a total nightmare, but I made it last night and it is not.  
  • I also used to think that I needed almond milk to make it creamy, but you really don't.  I added it because I always have, and later thought "Huh.  I wonder why I used to need this."