First off, I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend. For my friends in Canada, I hope you’re enjoying the Thanksgiving weekend (or long weekend), along with the company of family and friends, and all the delicious food this holiday brings! While most of mine was spent studying, catching up, and getting ahead on readings, it was still lovely to be out in the countryside and look out at all the beautiful colours. And to indulge in slices of pumpkin pie at breakfast, lunch, and dinner… 🙂
Alas, I have come to accept that summer is indeed over. The chilly days, the turning of the leaves, pumpkin spice lattes (pretty much pumpkin everything for that matter), and the Thanksgiving weekend have heralded the arrival of fall time. While I do miss the bright green and lush vegetation of summer, I love the golden colours and sweater-weather that fall brings. There are few things more lovely than curling up with a good book, in a thick and oversized sweater, while enjoying the fall sunshine and gorgeous colours.
Soup is definitely one of my favourite things to eat when the weather gets cooler. Having a delicious, hot bowl of soup to warm up your insides is truly the greatest. And it’s even greater when the soup is easy to make and loaded with nutritious goodness.
So if you’re looking for a simple (read: still delicious! I licked my bowl clean; it’s just that good) soup that packs in the health benefits, you’ve come to the right place.
Let me tell you about butternut squashes. They’re indeed a beautiful gourd. For only half a cup of butternut squash you get an incredible amount of Vitamin A: nearly 570 ug of Vitamin A (that’s 50% of the recommended dietary allowance). Vitamin A is known for promoting vision and keeping our skin healthy. In addition, butternut contains lots of beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. Alpha-carotene is one of forty carotenoids (a family of antioxidants that helps fights against disease and promote longevity) and provides significant antioxidant benefits. Without sufficient antioxidants to keep free-radicals at bay, excess free radicals can wreak havoc on the body by causing inflammation and destroying normal tissue (not just the garbage and abnormal tissue that we want them to chew up).
My roasted butternut squash soup will definitely provide you with a good dose of antioxidants, but it’s also important to consume a variety antioxidants from different sources. Foods high in their ratio of alpha-carotene to calories include bok choy, cabbage, red and green peppers, carrots, swiss chard, asparagus, collards, broccoli, peas, and of course, winter squash (butternut). (Fuhrman, 19)
All health benefits asides, butternut squash has the most amazing flavour! It lends the perfect amount of sweetness to the soup in a delicious, earthy kind of way. Not to mention, when pureed, it’s so soft and creamy without even needing to use cream.
Now, the step that definitely takes the longest in preparing the soup is roasting the butternut squash. Once the squash has cooled and it’s flesh has been scooped out, creamy and delicious roasted butternut squash soup is practically a snap of your fingers away.
If it wasn’t for having to roast the butternut squash, this soup could easily come together in under 15 minutes! How great is that? So if you know you’ll be needing a quick meal (like, 30 minutes or less), roast the butternut ahead of time. If you’re going to make the soup within 3 days of roasting, store the butternut in an airtight container. If you want roasted butternut on hand for some future time (within 6-8 months), roast the butternut and spoon the soft flesh by the 1/4 cup into muffin pans (line with muffin liners for easy removal). Pop them into the freezer overnight and then transfer the squash out of the muffins tins into a freezer safe bag or container. Voilà, measured out roasted butternut squash ready to go.
If you have a high speed blender (like a Vitamix or a Blendec) you can toss all your ingredients into the container and heat everything in there. The incredible speed of the blades actually creates enough friction to heat the soup! You can get hot soup and an incredibly rich, velvety mixture in about 5 minutes. Incredible isn’t it?!
even though the Vitamix is heavy-duty enough to be running for several minutes, I still don’t feel all that comfortable letting it go for that amount of time. I have these uneasy images of the Vitamix exploding if left on too long… Not to mention, heating up plastics is a no-no in my books. And so, my solution is to blend the soup ingredients together for 1 -2 minutes (until creamy and smooth) then transfer the soup to a pot and heat it up from there.
Of course, you can still puree your soup to velvety deliciousness, even if you don’t have a high speed blender. For lower speed blenders, you may need to blend the soup in smaller batches with a bit more broth to get the soup going. If you’re using an immersion blender, simmer the broth, roasted butternut squash, browned onion and garlic, and spices together before blending.
Note, when browning your onions and garlic, use the same pot you’ll be serving the soup in. This way, you take advantage of all that fragrant onion and garlic flavour. Of course, if you’re serving your soup in a soup tureen or other fancy bowl, definitely cook up your aromatics in a pan.
Now, depending on how thick or thin you like your soup, and how many cups of butternut squash you yield, you might need to adjust the amount of broth you use. My butternut squash yielded 3 1/2 cups of cooked squash, and I used 3 cups of broth. It still turned out turned out creamy, like a thick sauce; however, if you like a thicker, heartier soup use only 2 – 2 1/2 cups of broth (for 3 1/2 cups of butternut squash). And if you like a thinner soup, add another 1/2 – 1 cup of broth.
And there we go. Super simple, yet super delicious roasted butternut squash soup. This is truly just the thing to warm our bodies during these chilly months and help keep us healthy all season long.
This soup works wonderfully as an appetizer or a side dish. You can also serve this roasted butternut squash soup with strips of toasted seedy bread and a fresh, green salad for an easy, tasty fall time meal.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 cups medium butternut squash **see notes about roasting butternut squash ahead of time yielding approx. 3 1/2 cooked squash
- 1/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp avocado oil or coconut oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
- 1 tbsp butter or olive oil optional
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise. Drizzle with avocado oil (or coconut oil) and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper (divided between the squash halves). Turn squash halves face down onto a parchment lined baking sheet and pop into the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 50 minutes, or until skin has started to shrivel and can be easily pierced with a fork. Allow squash to cool to the touch (about 10 minutes) before scooping out the flesh.
Heat 1 tbsp of avocado oil (or coconut oil) in a low-medium pan (or the stovetop pot you'll be serving from). Add diced onions and cook until they start to brown (about 3-4 minutes). Add in minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
If using a high speed blender, toss scooped out butternut flesh, nutmeg, cinnamon, browned onion and garlic, broth, and salt and pepper into the container. Blend for 5-7 minutes until hot. Alternatively, blend for only 1 -2 minutes until smooth and transfer to a pot to heat it. Stir in a tbsp of butter or olive oil and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with fresh ground black pepper and pepitas.
• If using a lower power blender, blend soup in smaller batches with an extra bit of broth (enough to get the soup blending).
• If using an immersion blender, simmer all the ingredients together before blending.
• The butternut squash can be roasted ahead of time. If using within 3 days, keep butternut squash in an airtight container. If you're planning on using the butternut squash at an even later time, roast the butternut squash then scoop out the flesh and transfer by the 1/4 cup into muffin tins (line them with muffin liners for easy removal). Freeze muffin trays of butternut squash overnight and then transfer from the muffin tray into a freezer safe bag or container.
Quote of the post:
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
– Peter Drucker
Fuhrman, Joel. “Super Foods for Super Immunity.” Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free. New York: HarperOne, 2011. 18-19. Print.