Each fall I promise myself that I will make soup more often and also try new recipes. Why is it then, that year after year, I’m ladling the same soup week in and week out until Memorial Day? Perhaps it’s because I’m a creature of habit, and I’m too lazy to put in the work to try something new, and my family hasn’t complained yet. But perhaps, just perhaps, it’s because I have the best fall soup recipe in existence. If you’re also hoping to try new soups this season, look no further.
I like squash soup because it’s easy on the pocket and fairly simple with only a few ingredients, though it is time consuming to cook the squash. It’s also a very forgiving soup. It’s fine if you slightly overcook or undercook the squash as it will be processed. I’ve thinned it out with anything from milk, to cream, to coconut milk, so it’s totally flexible. You can also add sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup or any sweetener if you are trying to convince picky eaters to consume more veggies. As for spicing it up, cinnamon and salt are the necessary basics.
If I’m in a rush, that’s all I’ll add, but the other spices make it more well-rounded and complete. If you have pumpkin pie spice, you can use that instead too. I will warn you that if you or anyone in your family does not like pumpkin pie, they will not like this soup. On the flip side, if you are a pumpkin pie lover, then this soup is like a healthy, drinkable version of your favorite fall pie!
1 small butternut squash (approximately 2 c)
1 1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp clove
dash of salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and stringy stuff. Place cut side down on a greased jelly roll pan or in a roasting pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it can be easily pierced with a fork. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Scoop flesh from rind into a food processor. While processing, add milk to desired consistency and the rest of the vanilla and spices/sweeteners you are using.
This can be served as a main course or as a side dish. For my family of five, this recipe makes a good side dish. Think: half soup, half sandwich or salad. More likely than not, the squash you find will make more than this, so just adjust accordingly to make a larger batch, or save the squash for another recipe. You can sneak pureed squash into pasta sauces, smoothies, pancake batter, and basically anything for a healthy boost!
OK, I realized that I’m completely biased about how great the this soup is because my dad used to make it for me and it comes with great memories. Tell me, what soups do you hold in this high regard? If you are willing to share and they are easy, cheap, and healthy, I want to hear about them! This may be the year that I finally break away from our weekly squash soup routine, which will be harder as I have a dozen butternut squashes ripening in the garden. Say, do you have other soup recipes with butternut squash? Please share!
Celina Trujillo has lived in Urbana since 1998, when she started attending the University of Illinois. Three degrees and one job later, she recently decided to put it all on hold to start homeschooling and homemaking full-time. Her blog, Squawks of a Mama Bird, records the learning process of this unexpected new adventure for her family.