I love squash. Technically, it's considered a fruit, but it lends it self to many a savory dish and side. Versatile, abundant, delicious and resilient are a few words that come to mind when describing these seemingly inedible gourds.
Funny story about their resilience: we had just finished our gardening season and were getting ready to winterize the beds, when we happened across a mystery plant growing among the cucumbers. Curiosity led us to leave the crop to grow; being it was late October, we didn't have high hopes for it. As luck would have it, an acorn squash emerged a few weeks later! I'm not 100% versed in all growing pants, so, yes, I was shocked by this. Shocked and happy. It was a lovely sight to behold so late in the season. Nature never ceases to amaze me...
There is a beauty in simple foods that can be made effortlessly. Itâ€™s certainly the time of year for warm, comforting soups; I could eat them at every turn, and at every meal. Soups are beautiful, versatile and can be made quite readily with what's on hand most of the time. Leftover vegetables often find their way into our soup pots. I love to make large batches for easing that â€œwhatâ€™s for dinner dilemmaâ€ after a long day. They also make a perfect lunch packed along in a glass mason jarâ€¦although I always tend to forget a spoon *disappointment sigh*.
Butternut squash is one of my favourite squash for its mild, sweet flavour. Itâ€™s a winter squash that is available any time of year, depending on where youâ€™re situated. It makes for amazing soup, if I do say so. When combined with seasonal spices, fresh ginger and coconut milk, you have a velvety smooth and savory soup with a hint of sweetness. Luckily, this recipe features all the above. And, no, you donâ€™t taste the coconut, if youâ€™re worried.
This recipe uses cooked and pureed butternut squash, but any winter squash will work (acorn or pumpkin are particularly good as well). You can make a large batch of pureed squash ahead of time and keep it refrigerated or frozen for easy soup making. Iâ€™ve added directions below for making and storing your own pureed squash, however, if you prefer to use canned, it will work just as well, but opt for organic.
This soup's blend of salty and sweet pairs deliciously with roasted cauliflower and fresh cracked pepper. Sop it up with a crusty slice (slices) of bread and you're on your way to cozy-ville. By the way, itâ€™s my personal belief that a spoon will never hold a candle to the bread soup sponge; my mouth is watering as I think about thatâ€¦what better way to enjoy every last drop.
Butternut Squash Soup w/ Lemon Roasted Cauliflower
For the Soup:
- 1 ¾ Cups Pureed Butternut squash
- 1 ½ Cups 398ml Lite Canned Coconut Milk
- 2 tsp Fresh Grated Ginger or ¼ tsp dried
- ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1 TBSP Maple Syrup optional
- Salt + Pepper to Taste
For the Roasted Cauliflower:
- ½ Head of Cauliflower cut into florets
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Salt + Pepper
Preheat the oven to 375’F. In a medium bowl add the cauliflower florets, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Toss until the oil is incorporated evenly. Spread on a medium baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and tender. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes if needed. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the 1 ½ cups of pureed squash, the coconut milk and whisk until combined. Add the spices, maple syrup (if using) and grated ginger. Cook over medium heat until it reaches a light boil, stirring regularly. Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm topped with roasted cauliflower and fresh ground pepper. This recipe freezes well, so feel free to double the recipe and store for all your winter hibernation needs.
HOW TO MAKE PUREED SQUASH
Preheat the oven to 400’F. Cut a medium butternut squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down on a medium baking sheet. Prick the skin with a fork and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until a fork easily pierces through the skin and flesh of the squash. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Scrape the flesh from the skin and place in a blender or food processor; puree the squash until smooth [you may need to add a small amount of water 1-2 tbsp to help get it going]. Store in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to use. You can freeze squash puree; use an silicon ice cube tray for easy storage and portioned reheating.
If you prefer your soup to be thinner, add a small amount of water or vegetable broth until your achieve the desired viscosity. If you like, you can use organic canned pureed squash; I use canned pumpkin from time to time and it works very well. I will note that fresh puree has that wonderful roasted flavour which is unmatched by the canned variety.