Roasted Butternut Squash & White Bean Soup

Dear lovers of all things fall,

This one’s for you. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m 100% one of those people who makes an unnecessarily huge deal about fall because I love it so much–seriously, what’s not to love? It’s the most beautiful, cozy, crisp, yummy time of year–and there are pumpkins…everywhere. If I were a plant, I would most definitely want to be a pumpkin. Anyways, I digress.

This recipe stemmed from my autumnal obsessions and cravings for warm, heartier dishes as days shorten and temperatures drop. It’s very simple to make–in fact, the process actually more closely resembles making a smoothie than a soup (are soup smoothies a thing? if not, they are now). This recipe would be great to share with friends and family, as it makes a pretty large amount. If you more personally identify with Joey from Friends who despises nothing more than sharing his food, it also keeps well in the fridge to eat on for about a week or so.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, roasted
  • 1 c diced sweet onion
  • 1 c chopped leeks (fresh or frozen will work)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/3 c vegetable broth
  • 1 can white beans, not drained
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Salt & black pepper, to taste
  • Dash of red chili flakes or cayenne pepper, if you’re looking to spice things up

Instructions: 

Step #1 of this recipe, roasting said squash, is pretty simple–but will also be the most treacherous part of your soup making journey. The roasting itself is a very hands-off, waiting-game type of process, but cutting that bad boy open can get a little tricky. The exterior of a butternut squash is very hard. I’ll put it this way–if a war was to be declared between all of the fruits and vegetables of the world, my money would be on the survival of the butternut squash due to it’s nearly impenetrable squash armor. That being said, be careful when cutting it open–make sure your knife is sharp (a dull knife is always more dangerous than a sharp one), cut on a flat, secure surface, and start by chopping both ends off first. Once you dispose of the ends, cut it in half. Then, turn both halves on their newly-flattened bottoms and slice them longways down the middle. Now, you have 4 pieces of squash to roast and (hopefully) all 10 fingers remaining. Lightly coat each piece in olive oil and place face-down on a baking sheet. Place in a 450 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes, or until you can easily poke a fork through the skin of the squash.

While the squash is baking, heat a medium-sized nonstick skillet on medium-high heat on the stovetop and start chopping the onion and leeks. If you’re using frozen leeks, defrost them in the microwave before chopping and try to pat them dry with a paper towel as best as possible to remove excess water. Once the pan is heated, add the olive oil and chopped veggies. Sauté for 4-6 minutes, tossing every minute or so, until the contents of the pan take on that mouth-watering, golden-brown hue. Remove from heat and set aside until the squash returns from its trip to the kitchen-sized sauna.

Once the squash is finished, you have two options. If you’re tired from your roasting efforts, you have the option to pause, let the squash cool, and continue with the recipe the next day (that’s what I did). If you refuse to stop until you have a beautiful soup creation in front of you, then you may continue with the freshly baked squash. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds of the squash. If you want to experiment with saving the seeds and roasting them at a later time, go for it. If not, go ahead and toss them. After removing the seeds, scrape the “meaty” part of the squash into your trusty blender and dispose of the skin. Add the sautéed veggies, vegetable broth, can of white beans, and spices. As counterintuitive as it sounds, resist the urge to drain and rinse the beans before adding them. Not only does this extra liquid help with soup consistency, but it tends to be a little on the salty side, which helps with the flavor of the dish (sorry bout it, DASH diet). Here comes the fun part….BLEND! Hit that pulse button until your heart is content–you can apologize to your neighbors about the excessive noise by offering them a nice bowl of soup. Who wouldn’t love that?

Taste test the soup as you blend and add additional spices, salt, or pepper as your taste buds see (taste?) fit. Soup is best served warm, maybe with a nice salad on the side and a pumpkin scented candle on the table–you know, just a thought for a little ambiance. I topped the soup in the photo with pumpkin seeds I purchased from none other than the lovely Trader Joe’s. Bottom line, this soup is a mealtime reminder of what fall is all about–and it gives all of you fellow fall fanatics one more reason to freak out about the greatness of the best season ever created. Enjoy!

Yours chewly, 

 

 

 

P.S. This recipe won’t squash your expectations–I promise it really is that good. (…Did you really think I would let that pun opportunity slip away from me? Didn’t think so).



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