Smoky Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Nothing says the coming of fall like the smell of butternut squash roasting in the oven.

This is a staple in our house pretty much any time of year, but nothing is quite like it when the weather turns.

The rich golds and silky texture make this a joy to look at, and it’s just as perfect gulped down in a big cup on a cold day as it is dressed up for guests as a starter. That deep golden color can be made to look very fancy with shakes of paprika or a scatter of herbs or seeds!

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Of course, the most wonderful thing as always with roasted-butternut-squash-anything is that it’s even better the next day.

You can freeze then reheat the soup no problem, and I usually have leftovers to fill a gap in the day if I’m home with some crunchy greens and a squeeze of lemon to brighten it up.

This particular vegan butternut squash soup recipe calls for coconut milk to give it the cream-less creaminess, paprika and chili for that one-two smoky-warmth, toasted pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch and rosemary and apple to give a bright-but-earthy glow on the palette.

I’ve used some florets of cauliflower with the squash to give the soup a bit more body. This worked beautifully when making a creamy, smoky vegan cheese for mac and cheese, so I see no need to stop!

 

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If you’re feeling daring (or just want to surprise someone with a bit more of a kick in the soup!) you can add some grated fresh ginger while blending instead of the paprika and chili flakes. I tried this once at Christmas with a touch of nutmeg and it works wonderfully with the coconut milk. That’s right, at Christmas – what did I say about any time of year?

A bowl of creamy, smoky and warming vegan butternut squash soup coming right up…

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Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 5 or 6 florets of cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 small apple, peeled and diced
  • Rosemary or sage
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish

Method

  1. Heat oven to 380 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthways down the middle and place on a shallow, foil-lined baking dish. Throw in the garlic and some sprigs of rosemary or sage leaves and cover with foil. Roast for 40 minutes or so with the cauliflower (or have cauliflower separate, lightly oiled and salted, for a more charred flavor), until soft enough that you can cut through the flesh easily with a knife. Scoop out and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and saute the shallots or onion with the paprika on a medium heat for 8 minutes or until soft and sweet. Be careful not to brown.
  3. Add the apple, broth and squash, bringing the heat up to a simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples are soft.
  4. Time to blend! Squeeze out the garlic and along with other ingredients in the pan. Put into a blender carefully and in batches, taking care to puree until silky smooth.
  5. Add back to the pan and heat up to a simmer, stirring in the coconut milk.
  6. Season generously with salt and pepper. Leave to stand for an hour or two to let the flavors settle before serving. Bon appetit!

 

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