roasted butternut squash soup


I'm a big fan of soup these days. I didn't use to be, actually. It used to be last on the list of things I wanted to eat, ever. I think it just didn't feel like a real enough amount of food, not filling enough, lacking heart. Well, not only have a fully reformed my soup-shunning ways, I've practically lived on this roasted tomato soup for the past three tomato seasons (which I mourn obsessively once they end). It is exactly what I feel like having for a weekday lunch, something I can just start in the morning, have ready by noon and eat for the whole week.

Well, now that tomato season is well behind us (not over it, not over it), I thought: why couldn't I try this with something that's in season now? With piles of squashes in every shop and farmer's market, and butternut being one of my favorites to eat and say (speaking of, did you know there's now a butterkin squash, basically a short, squat version of the same?), I had to give it a try.

1 medium red onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour (I use whole wheat, but any is fine)
Salt & pepper
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
2 pounds roasted butternut squash (or your favorite squash variety)
1/4-1/2 cup toasted squash seeds, optional

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Either cut your squash in half, scooping out the seeds to save for later, drizzle with olive oil and roast face down. Or, you can always cube up your squash to reduce roasting time and add a little more caramelization. Either way, place on a large baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for one hour if halves are left skin-on and face down and thirty minutes if cut into cubes.

When your squash is nearly done, place a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the rest of your olive oil, onions, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for about two to three minutes. Add your paprika, a little more salt and pepper and sauté for one minute more. Use some of your stock to deglaze the bottom of the pot (just a little) and then add your flour to thicken the base. At this point you could also add a tablespoon of butter or vegan margarine for a little extra oomph, but this isn't completely necessary. It is, however, delicious, so to each their own.

Stir everything up and then add the rest of your vegetable stock. Bring to a gentle simmer and then add your squash. If left whole, scoop out the flesh and cubes can just be dropped into the stockpot. Simmer for about twenty minutes more.

Allow to cool slightly before adding to your blender to purée until smooth. You can also use a handheld blender for this if you'd rather leave some of the texture.

Perfect with a few toasted squash seeds on top, some shredded cheese, crusty bread, cheesy-crusty bread, avocado toast or with vegan cornbread muffins, pictured below. It's the perfect weekday lunch.

Can't get enough of the butternut?