It’s the most wonderfully magical time of the year!
I love this season so much! It’s when most of the fruit of your gardening labours come to fruition.
There’s still many plants to forage for as well. I love the vibrant colours, cool crisp air at night and warm autumn breezes during the day. The days are increasingly wetter which softens the earth and feels so nice to walk barefoot on the grass! It’s the time of year my husband and I chose to be married. We also chose to name our cat Autumn as she has woodsy fall coloured fur and we adopted her in the autumn.
With this season comes the assortment of squashes you’ll see in the supermarket, farm markets and even adorning residential properties.
I chose one in particular for this recipe. The butternut squash. Which lives up to its name. It has a soft creamy butter like texture when cooked with a slightly nutty flavour which pairs well with spicy or sweet flavours. It’s good for you too! With a high amount of Vitamin A and particularly high in beta-carotene, it aids with eye health and immunity. It also contains about 50% of the RDA in vitamin C in a 200 g serving. This is especially helpful as the days gets shorter and cooler and we may spend more time indoors in close proximity. It’s usually the time of year that people will fall ill so eating immune boosting foods is important. Vitamin A is a fat-soluable vitamin which means that the food needs to be eaten or prepared with a fat in order for the body to absorb it. I use coconut oil for that but also because it adds a nice flavour!
There is also a parallel to eating seasonally. The fruits and vegetables that come available to us at the time they ripen provide the nutrients our bodies need for the season at hand. I will agree that we can have most any produce year round with humanity’s ability to store and preserve food (I love to can foods!) but there is also abundance in the season. Squashes can last all winter in cold storage. (I had one last a year once! I’ve also had some rot after a couple of months).
I had someone close to me say that they had never eaten squash before, it’s inedible and that was only done in North America because in Europe the squash is grown for the farm animals. It’s pig food and they wouldn’t reduce themselves to eating pig food. I hope that this person is in the minority with this contention. It’s a highly beneficial food source and tastes great too! The squash was part of the three sisters which was the agricultural crops grown historically by the indigenous people of North America. (The others being corn and beans) Although the butternut squash was contrived by a farmer in the 1940’s by possibly crossing a Hubbard and Gooseneck variety and it has become a much-loved addition to the season.
When choosing a squash, look for a firm skin, with no soft spots and the least blemished. Also, a firm vine top still attached as in the photo above. Having the top intact helps to keep bacteria from entering the fruit.
As the skin is firm and thick, when peeling this squash, hold firmly in place and use a serrated vegetable peeler:
You will need to chop both top and bottom off then cut into slices 1″ thick. Then cube the rounds. You will come across seeds at the bulged part of the squash. You can save these and roast them with a little salt as they are also nutritiously beneficial boasting 5.2 g of protein, 19% DV in zinc, 18% DV in magnesium in a 1 oz serving! You may also try to save the seeds for planting as well.
This is a simple recipe that should only take about 45 minutes to an hour all-in but most of that time is inactive for you that you can spend making a salad, preparing buns, setting the table, relaxing with a book, catching up with loved ones or in quiet meditation. Your preference to how you want to spend your time! I’m just letting you know it’s easy to have a nutritious meal on the table with little effort. You could even prepare the squash ahead of time then create it into a soup later. I know I’ve come across ready prepared raw butternut squash in the frozen section of the supermarket so that could be an option too.
The recipes I provide are usually enough for 6 people so if you have less than that you will have leftovers which you can freeze or segment for your meal prep for the week. I used a large butternut squash which made plenty for my family with enough for a few more servings in the week. Something to keep in mind is that the soup will thicken once it’s cooled so you may like this consistency or add a little water when reheating it.
I garnished this soup with toasted pecan halves which I then crumbled over the soup as well as crispy sage leaves. I grow the sage in my garden but you can find fresh sage in the herb section of the produce market.
Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 large butternut squash (about 6 cups)
- 2 red onions
- 1 small head garlic
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 can coconut milk
- 6 cups vegan chicken broth
- 1 tbsp grated fresh or frozen turmeric
- 1 tbsp grated fresh or frozen ginger
- 1 pinch hot pepper flakes
- 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup toasted pecan bits
- Preheat oven temp to 400 F, set a large baking sheet aside.
- Prepare butternut squash: peel, slice off top and bottom, cut into 1″ rounds, then cube the rounds into 2″ pieces. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with liquified coconut oil (heat it slightly to melt it) sprinkle with salt, if desired then toss with your hands to coat the pieces.
- Prepare the onion: chop the root end off and slice in half, remove the skin, place on baking sheet with squash.
- Prepare the garlic: chop the top end of the garlic, place on baking sheet with squash
- Roast the above for about 30 minutes or until tender.
- Prepare a stock pot: place the coconut milk, broth, turmeric and ginger into the pot and gently warm on medium low heat about 5 minutes before squash is ready.
- Add squash and onion to the pot. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin into the pot, add the red pepper flakes and increase the temperature to medium. Cook for about 15 minutes then turn off the heat and let any bubbling settle before using an immersion blender to puree the soup.
- While soup is melding, toast the pecans on a dry medium heated pan until fragrant, remove from heat into heat-safe dish. In the same pan melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil and when heated add the sage leaves for about 1 minute or until crispy (They will brown a bit). Remove from pan and place into heat-safe dish.
- Serve warm with crumbled pecans and sage leaves and/or toasted squash seeds. Add a side salad and a bun if desired.
- Enjoy life in the pink!