I feel like all squash are just astonishingly beautiful. I love their strange shapes and vibrant hues, and I adore their creamy texture and sweet flavour. Every squash has something unique to offer and they somehow seem confident in that knowledge, if a fruit can be said to be confident.
Butternut squash knows it makes your soup crazy good. It just has to! Some squash are great for salads, others for stews, but butternut – she can do it all.
Besides featuring this beautiful plant, this soup is literally the easiest dish to pull together. If you decide to make it on a weeknight, you won’t be having dinner at 9pm (unless that’s your thing, of course), and if you’re not in and out of the kitchen in 40 minutes or less, something’s gone wrong! And since everything is going to be pureed anyway, you don’t need to worry about chopping your veggies into uniform pieces. They should be similar in size so that they cook evenly, but the rest doesn’t really matter.
To make things even easier, peel and chop your squash ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to use, so the rest is just a quick dice job and you’re done.
I got the idea for this recipe from the reFresh cookbook, and while I haven’t completely overhauled it, I did make some significant changes, particularly with regards to the level of sweetness. I used half the amount of pear, regular potato instead of sweet, and nixed the white wine. It all sounded like way more sugar than I want in my dinner. Then I added parsnips, because they’ve become my new favourite root vegetable – I always assumed they were bland (thanks, Dave Chappelle), but they have a really subtle spicy aroma which I absolutely love. I also added some heat, because I think it balances out what sweetness there is in the soup (and I just generally love heat in my soups). The result is a soup with a heck of a lot of flavour.
Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
Adapted from reFresh
~ Gluten free, vegan, grain free, nut free, sugar free, soy free, low sodium ~
- 1.5 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1-2 parsnips, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 8-10 mini red potatoes, diced (or 1 regular potato)
- 1 bosc pear, peeled, destemmed, and diced
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- cayenne pepper, to taste ( I used about 1.5 tsp, plus added hot sauce after!)
- Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic, ginger, pear, and leek, and sauté until soft – about 6 minutes.
- Add the squash, potatoes, carrots, bay leaf, cinnamon, and vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. I add about a tsp of coarse sea salt and then taste for seasoning again at the end.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the squash is soft.
- Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Using an immersion blender, blend until relatively smooth (again, I always leave my soup a bit chunky, but puree it however you like).
- Stir in the coconut milk, check the seasoning (at this point I added a touch of Herbamare), and then stir in the cayenne to your desired level of heat.