The first harvest of butternut squash is in, signaling that Autumn is just around the corner. It’s my *favorite* of the seasons (especially for cooking) so I’m very excited! :)
Even more exciting is that I’ve been working with Mother Earth Food to share simple, wholesome recipes with their customers so I was thrilled when they wrote to tell me that squash season is here. The first recipe to come to my mind was this classic… Silky Smooth Butternut Squash soup.
I love this soup because it is heart-warming with such purity of flavor while also rich in antioxidants, vitamins B5, C, and E, as well as potassium and magnesium. I share the simplest version of the soup below but it’s so adaptable and so I also offer variations for amping up the nutrition and flavor.
I love to pair this soup with this kale salad (as pictured), also a wonderful option in fall.
Time ~ (Inactive: 2 hours; Active: 20 minutes)
1 whole butternut squash
2 cups of broth
1 cup coconut milk
½ tsp of salt
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Pierce the squash a few times with the tip of a sharp knife and then place onto a baking sheet. Bake for 1 - 1.5 hours until very soft. Time will vary, depending on the size of the squash. (*See Note)
You will know it’s done when you can easily cut it in half, lengthwise. If you find too much resistance, place it back into the oven for a while longer. Err on the side of too soft. If your squash is not thoroughly roasted, your final soup will not have a silky smooth texture.
After you’ve cut the squash, let it cool until easily handled (about half an hour).
Remove seeds and then spoon the flesh away from the skin in large chunks (or slice the skin off with a knife).
Puree the squash and liquids in a food processor or high-powered blender. Use all of the coconut milk and then go in smaller amounts with the broth to moderate how thick or thin you’d like it to be. If you need more liquid than the recipe calls for, you can always add more milk, broth, or even water. You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your processor. You can also use an immersion blender to do this.
Pour the puree into a large pot on the stove top and heat the soup over medium until warm.
Garnish & Serve!
When Roasting… Personally, I find it simpler to roast squash whole, then peel and seed it after it has cooled off. Squash can be very challenging to cut through and I’d rather not risk a kitchen accident.
Use any milk. If you’re into dairy, go for it! If you prefer almond, soy, or any other plant milk, go for it! There are no rules ~ I prefer coconut milk because it’s creamy and non-dairy.
Use any broth. I like to sneak bone broth in because of the health benefits, but miso is also a great, healthy option. Bouillon or boxed broths are a convenient option.
Garnish: Top with pumpkin or hemp seeds, coconut kefir, plain yogurt, goat cheese, sour cream, a light dusting of black pepper, garam masala, cumin or paprika, or a drizzle of olive oil. So many possibilities!
Freeze It: I am a huge fan of batch cooking + freezing for later. Just let the soup cool and then freeze in individual servings.
Variations for a more health benefits and complex flavor.
Amp up the health benefits. Turmeric, garlic, ginger, and black pepper are known to boost immunity and reduce inflammation.
Turmeric. You can easily mix in a small amount of turmeric powder and top it with some cracked black pepper (which improves the bioavailability of the turmeric by 2000%). You may want to start with a small amount (maybe ¼ tsp) in an individual serving. Any more than that and the soup will take on an earthier taste, which you may (or may not) love, so try it first.
Onion. Simply peel an onion, cut it into quarters, and place it onto your baking sheet alongside the squash, then coat it with olive oil. Periodically check on the squash and onion and pull the onion off when it's tender and set it aside. Then just blend it right in when adding everything to the food processor.
Garlic. Add minced garlic or garlic powder right into the mixture before blending. Add to taste. Raw garlic has a strong flavor. If you prefer it cooked, you can also quickly simmer a few cloves of garlic in the broth for 3-5 minutes, then blend it right in when adding everything to the food processor.
Ginger. Add grated ginger or ginger powder right into the mixture before blending. Add to taste. Same as garlic ~ raw ginger has a strong flavor. If you prefer to cook it a bit, dice up a ½” piece of ginger and simmer it in the broth for 3-5 minutes, then blend it right in when adding everything to the food processor.