Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #285: Butternut Squash Soup

Photo credit: Veronique/Flickr

By Leah Kleinschrodt, Dietetic Intern [University of Minnesota – The Emily Program]

My squash plants took over my garden in the fall months, and I’m still reaping the benefits from the harvest well into the depths of winter. Roasted squash is my usual go-to side dish because I can slice it down the middle, pop it in the oven and forget about it while it’s cooking.

However, at this point in the season, I feel that I’ve eaten my weight in roasted squash and I’m honestly pretty desperate for something different. That’s why this squash soup recipe caught my attention: it’s a unique way to enjoy my precious squash! Bonus points because it doesn’t call for a long list of ingredients or hours of cooking time.

The star of this soup is butternut squash, which has a vibrant orange flesh that’s packed with a host of fiber and nutrients, including potassium for heart health. Additionally, it provides vitamin A and vitamin C, both important for healthy eyes and a well-functioning immune system. The garlic, onion and ginger in this recipe don’t only provide flavor; they also function as antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects. To top the health benefits off, it calls for olive oil and coconut milk, ingredients that provide a good dose of healthy fats, which are crucial for satiety, healthy skin and a well-functioning brain.

Butternut Squash Soup

Adapted from Oh She Glows

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 large green apple, chopped
  • 1.5 pounds (~1 medium) butternut squash, peeled, seeds scooped out and chopped (~5 cups)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (may use low- or full-sodium)
  • One 13.5-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, add olive oil over low-medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add minced garlic and ginger and cook for another couple minutes on low. Add chopped apple, butternut squash, and carrots and cook for a few minutes more.
  2. Add the vegetable broth and coconut milk, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Carefully transfer this mixture into a blender (or you can use an immersion/stick blender), add a pinch of nutmeg, and blend until smooth. You might need to do this in 2-3 batches depending on the size of your blender. Don’t fill the blender more than about halfway full or the soup might explode through the top. Make sure to allow steam to escape through the top of the blender lid.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also thin the soup out a bit with more broth. Serve and garnish with freshly ground pepper, a swirl of extra coconut milk, toasted nuts/seeds, or a sprig or two of cilantro.

Tips:

  • If peeling and chopping a full butternut squash is not appealing to you, look for pre-cut butternut squash in your local grocery store. You can usually find it close to the pre-cut fruits and vegetables.
  • You may substitute in 1-2 tsp. ground ginger for the fresh ginger.
  • Canned coconut milk is typically found in the ethnic food section of the grocery store. It adds creaminess to soups, but if you are watching your fat intake, you can use light coconut milk instead. Note that it will thin the soup a bit.
  • If you are watching your sodium intake, use low-sodium broth.

Nutrition Information:

Per serving: 330 calories, 19g total fat, 15 g saturated fat, 6g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 690 mg sodium

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