Once you’ve got the squash baked, this coconut butternut squash soup comes together quickly.
It’s a fitting soup for the fall and winter holidays, but it’s easy enough to make for everyday meals. The mellow flavors of squash, kale, and red onions have a delectable synergy, and look gorgeous together as well.
Seriously, peel and dice a butternut squash? Whenever a recipe instructs to “peel and dice a butternut squash” (or any other hard winter variety), I feel quite inadequate. My knives are pretty good, but I always felt like I needed to borrow my husband’s chainsaw to do the job.
Partially pre-bake squash to make life easier. As I started to give more talks, I found that a lot of cooks shared my little secret. So, I developed a completely lazy way to tackle the winter squash dilemma — partially pre-baking the squash before attempting to peel and cut the squash. So much easier! And this technique works for any kind of hard squash. Smaller squashes can be microwaved instead of baked.
Fresh pre-cut squash is another option. All this being said, pre-cut fresh butternut squash is now widely available on supermarket produce shelves in the fall and winter months. If you’d like to bypass the entire process of chopping the squash, you’ll make an easy soup even simpler. Recipe is from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas.
Photos by Susan Voisin of FatFreeVegan.com
- 1 large butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), or one 20- to 24-ounce package fresh precut butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow or sweet white onion, chopped
- 1 medium apple, any variety, peeled and diced
- 2 cups vegetable broth, or 2 cups water with 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, or more, to taste
- 14-ounce can light coconut milk
- Pinch of ground nutmeg or allspice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 medium red onions, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 good-sized bunch kale (about 10 to 12 ounces)
- If using precut squash, skip these first four steps. Otherwise, to prepare the squash without the usual struggle: Wrap the entire squash in aluminum foil and place in a casserole dish.
- Bake at 375º F for 30 minutes (for smaller squashes) to 45 minutes or slightly more (for butternut, sugar pumpkin, and larger squashes). You should be able to just pierce through the skin and flesh, a couple of inches for larger squashes, about an inch for smaller ones.
- Once cool enough to handle, Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and fibers.
- Cut the squash into thick slices (or see note), then peel and cut into large dice or chunks. Use as directed in recipes, or continue to roast in combination with other vegetables.
- Heat about half of the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the apple, squash, broth, and spices. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently until the apples and squash are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the solids to a food processor with a slotted spoon, in batches if need be, until smoothy pureed, then transfer back to the soup pot. Or better yet, simply insert an immersion blender into the pot and process until smoothly pureed.
- Return the soup to a gentle simmer and cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until well heated through. If need be, adjust the consistency with additional broth or water if the soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper.
- If time allows, let the soup stand off the heat for an hour or two, then heat through as needed before serving. Just before serving, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and sauté over low heat until golden and soft.
- Meanwhile, strip the kale leaves off the stems and cut into thin shreds. Stir together with the onions in the skillet, adding just enough water to moisten the surface. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the kale is bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes.
- To serve, ladle soup into each bowl, then place a small mound of kale and onion mixture in the center.
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