It’s feeling like fall in Pennsylvania and to me that means it’s time to make my vegan Butternut Squash Soup. This bright orange winter squash has a nutty, sweet flavor that adds complexity and depth to the soup. Butternut squash is low in calories (82 calories per cup) and high in fiber (7g per cup). It is also jam-packed with nutrients, particularly vitamins A and C which are great for immune defense.
Oddly, I realized that I have never written down my recipe for Butternut Squash Soup. My recipe comes from my mother who shared her roasted version with me. Over the years, I have changed it up depending on what I have on hand. Some recipes suggest the addition of milk or cream, but I find that this vegan version with Ras El Hanout spice blend (see recipe below) and light coconut milk is the most delicious.
1 large butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3-4 leeks, cleaned well and chopped (white parts only)
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 small apple, cored and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Ras El Hanout*
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
32 oz. vegetable stock
13.5 oz. can unsweetened light coconut milk
½ teaspoon chili oil or Sriracha (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F. Cover a sheet pan with foil and place squash side-by-side and cut side down. Cook for 45 minutes until skin is bubbly and squash is soft. Allow to cool about 15 minutes. Peel off skin and roughly chop into 2” chunks. NOTE: You can substitute other winter squash (Kabocha, Acorn) or even Pumpkin, although you may want to add some apple juice to increase sweetness.
In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add leeks and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add apple and cooked squash. Cook 5 minutes adding spices and salt. Add vegetable stock to cover all vegetables. Add water if needed. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
Using a blender, puree in batches. If too thick, add a little water. Return to pot and stir in coconut milk and chili oil. Adjust seasoning as needed.
*Ras El Hanout Spice Blend
Ras El Hanout is a Moroccan spice blend that includes cinnamon, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground ginger, black pepper, ground cloves, allspice, and cayenne. It is widely available, but you can also make your own.
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients until combined well. Spice blend keeps in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 month. Makes 3 tablespoons.
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