Butternut squash is a name that truly describes itself. This unassuming gourd, once cut open and roasted, tastes creamy and buttery, with a subtle nutty flavor that lends depth to any dish. Perhaps this is why I never understood why recipes call for milk or cream in Butternut Squash Soup. It simply doesn’t need it, and in some ways I think it masks all the yummy flavor this squash has to offer.
I’ve made several renditions of this deliciously easy and super-healthy soup — my favorite spicy chile version is in my cookbook, Free For All Cooking. My dear friend Nancy at The Sensitive Pantry also makes a truly yummy version with apples. Enjoying hers on the front porch with her a couple weeks ago actually inspired me to create a new version of my own, using her apple idea and many of the savory herbs she cut for me from her garden. Although my new recipe isn’t just like Nancy’s, I have her ingredient creativity (and her herbs!) to thank for this amazing new recipe! Aren’t friends just the richest blessings in life?
Herbed Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 large Butternut Squash (approximately 2 pounds)
- 2 apples (I used JonaGold — tangy-sweet, crisp apples)
- 1 Tbs. dried onion or 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 Tbs. pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 4 cups vegetable stock (I used Savory Choice™ Liquid Broth Concentrate – reduced sodium)
- 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
- leaves from 2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs (or 1 1/2 tsp. dried) + more for garnish
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced (or 3/4 tsp. dried)
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 +/- tsp. sea salt (taste the soup first, and only add as much and if needed)
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Cut squash away from the peel, scoop out the seeds and strings, then cut the squash into 1-2 inch cubes. (Wash and reserve the seeds to toast for snacks!). Peel, core and cube the apples to the same size. Place all the cubes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dice the onions and sprinkle over the cubes. Drizzle maple syrup and olive oil over top, and sprinkle salt and pepper. Stir to coat all the cubes. Cook in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender. Another option: cook in a crockpot on high, covered, for 1-2 hours, until very tender.
Pour cooked squash-apple mixture into a large food processor or a large stock pot to use an immersion blender (or in the crockpot). Pulse in processor or with immersion blender until the mixture is creamed. If using a food processor, pour the purée into the pot. Add the vegetable stock, one cup at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. Add remaining herbs. Taste the soup before adding salt to determine if, and how much is needed. Feel free to add more herbs as well, to taste.
Warm the soup slowly before serving. Sprinkle with additional fresh rosemary as garnish.