Butternut squash soup. (vegan + gluten free)

butternut squash apple soup vegan dairy free

Butternut squash always reminds me of fall.  I grew some over the summer at my Nanas house and they were so easy and produced heavily.  They were a gorgeous glowing orange, seriously brighter than any I have seen in the store.  See?

organic homegrown butternut squash

They also store very well too.  I have been keeping them in my garage where it is cold and dark, and they have lasted well for about 3 months.  I had one last squash kicking around the garage so I decided to use it for dinner last night in a creamy pureed soup.  I usually use a very basic recipe from Cooks Illustrated (with a few swaps to veganize it) but this time I added some apples because my little asked for a sweeter soup.  If you prefer a totally savory soup, omit apples and add .5 pound of squash.  This soup is very simple and lets the butternut flavor really shine through.  *PLEASE for the love of god do not buy pre-cut cubes of butternut squash.  They are dry and stringy and bland and make for an awful soup.  With such few ingredients, it is imperative that you use the best.  Organic squash has a better and deeper flavor in my opinion.  I know cutting a hard squash takes a little time, but it’s so worth it. (If youre scared you’ll cut your hand off, watch this Martha Stewart how to video.)

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup.

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 yellow onion, chopped fine

2.5 pounds (about 1 large or 2 small squash) peeled, de-seeded and cubed butternut squash, seeds reserved to roast for garnish

3-4 cups vegetable broth

2 red or yellow apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1/3 cup raw unsalted cashews (optional but makes it creamy)

Few sprigs of thyme, tied together with kitchen twine

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Fresh sage leaves and thinly sliced shallot, for garnish (optional)

Melt the coconut oil in a heavy bottomed large dutch oven or pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is softened, about 7 minutes.  Add the apples, 3c of broth, thyme, nutmeg, and cashews.  Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, spread your seeds out on a baking sheet (either nonstick or lined with parchment) and roast at 375F for 10 minutes or until browned.  Then, heat up a few tablespoons of oil in a pan and drop in the sage leaves in an even layer with a tiny bit of salt.  Cook without stirring for a few minutes or until crisped around the edges.  Remove and add your thinly sliced shallots to the pan and cook until caramelized.  Set garnishes aside.

Turn off the heat on the soup and uncover.  Remove the thyme and discard.  Transfer soup to a blender and puree till smooth.  Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.  You might want to squeeze a tiny bit of lemon juice to brighten it up a bit, depending on your taste.  If too thick, thin out soup with left over cup of broth.  Pour into bowls and top with the sage leaves, roasted seeds and caramelized shallots.  I topped mine with a bit of leftover cashew cream I had, too (1 cup cashews soaked overnight and blended with 1/4 to 1/2c of water and a tad bit of lemon juice).  Goes great with a little toasted bread and a kale salad!

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