The best thing I like about this soup is that it is easy to make yet it tastes so delicious–kind of offers bigger bang for your efforts. In addition to taste, this soup delivers a hefty does of potassium (so deplorably lacking in our diets; more on this later) as well as vitamin A. It is also rich in iron and calcium. So wihtout further ado, let’s move on to make it:
There are only six main ingredients in this recipe and each of the ingredients works to accentuate the sweet flavor of butternut squash. You will need butternut squash, sweet onion, celery, carrot, and fresh cilantro (choosing organic vegetables results in better-tasting soup.) Sweet onion’s taste is less astringent compared to other kinds such as red and yellow; hence, it works well toward enhancing the sweet flavor of butternut squash in this soup. However, if sweet onion is not available, by all means use any other kind. For liquid, I use no-salt-added homemade vegetable broth, but any store-bought low-sodium broth should work. You can use water instead of broth as well. It’s pretty flexible.
This soup is super easy to make except for one task–peeling and cubing the butternut squash. One trick is to cut the squash in half from top to the bulbous bottom and then peel the thick rind lengthwise with a peeler. Cube the squash; chop onion, celery, carrot, and cilantro.
Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit. Spread the cubed squash in a baking pan in a single layer; add 2-3 tbsp water or vegetable broth. Cover it tightly with an aluminum foil and roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. While squash is in the oven, heat one teaspoon of coconut oil (you can use any other kind as well; coconut oil complements the squash flavor quite well) in a soup pot and cook sweet onions, followed by celery and carrots. Once these veggies are soft around the edges, add vegetable broth (or water) and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. By this time, squash is baked to almost a soft mush. Take the squash out of oven and immediately add to the soup pot along with freshly chopped cilantro. You can exchange cilantro with parsley, which tastes equally good in this soup. Cook for another 5-10 minutes till squash blends well with other vegetables.
Keep the soup aside to cool ; toast pumpkin seeds on a hot iron skillet. You don’t have to use pumpkins seeds, but I feel they are to butternut squash soup what chocolate chips are to cookies or spices to Indian chai. You can also toast pumpkin seeds in a toaster oven, but I always end up either burning or undercooking in the oven. Besides, it only takes like 2-3 minutes on an iron skillet. When roasted, the seeds start to get plump and may take on a little reddish tinge.
Once the soup is at the room temperature, puree it in a blender. If blending soup while it is still hot, keep the soup level low (at the quarter-level of blender jar) and leave one corner of the blender lid slightly open. I am not a big fan of hand blender as it usually splatters liquid all over the place. I think still need to master that technique because my husband uses it quite well.
Once blended, serve the soup warm topped with toasted pumpkins seeds. If you like your soup with a spicy twist to it as I do, sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes. Enjoy.
Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 small-to-medium butternut squash, cubed around 31/2 heaping cups
- 1 medium sweet onion, around 1 cup chopped
- 2 stalks celery, around 3/4 cup chopped
- 1 small carrot, around 1/2 cup, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups vegetable broth, or water* (plus 3-4 tbsp liquid for baking the squash)
- 1 tbsp cilantro**, coarsely chopped
- 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds (or any other kind such as sunflower seeds)
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes ,optional
- Preheat the over to 400 degree Fahrenheit. Peel and cube butternut squash and spread in a single layer on a baking pan with 3-4 tbsp of water or vegetable broth. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
- While squash is in the oven, heat coconut oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add sweet onion and cook until translucent (around 2-3 minutes). Add celery and carrots; cook until soft around edges (around 5-8 minutes). Add salt and vegetable broth (or water) and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat.
- Once the squash is cooked, add it to the soup pot along with coarsely chopped cilantro. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the squash is well-blended with rest of the vegetables in the pot.
- Keep the soup aside to cool. In the meantime, dry roast pumpkin seeds on an iron skillet (or toaster oven) for 2-3 minutes.
- Once cooled, puree the soup in a blender until smooth and creamy. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds and sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes.
- Instead of coconut oil, use olive oil, which is low in saturated fat.
- Instead of 1 tbsp use 1 tsp of pumpkin seeds.