The leaves are falling, the days are cooling; weird, inedible gourds are everywhere, and Pumpkin Spice Mania begins to tighten its death grip on millions of unsuspecting lattes and foodstuffs. It's Autumn, and nothing says Autumn like gourds (and the most hated candy in America, Candy Corn). My favorite edible gourd is butternut squash, and it's also one of my favorite fall soups. Vegan, gluten-free recipes can be hard to find this time of year, but never fear: In Gourd We Trust. Easy, quick, and with minimal ingredients, this recipe's sure to make you happy.
Even Your Heart, Hearts Squash
Butternut Squash is a staple of fall; it’s a cousin to the pumpkin and was eaten by Native Americans in areas like what is now Mexico for the last 7,000 years. It is also one of the longest lasting vegetables, so if stored properly, you can pick up one of these bad boys at your local farmer’s market and keep it for over a month before things start getting weird.
It’s low in salt, fat, and calories, but is loaded with fiber which is great for your heart and digestive system. One butternut squash also contains 354% of your daily value of Vitamin A, which is is important for normal vision, your immune system, and reproductive health. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.
If you’re not familiar with preparing butternut squash, it can seem pretty daunting. Have a carrot peeler? You’ve got this! Slice off the stem and peel it like a giant potato. This recipe calls for a 3.5 pounds of squash, and you’ll want to cut it in half width-wise. You’ll be dealing with two pieces, one solid squash meat and one with some useful meat and a bunch of messy seeds. For this reason, I choose squash with longer necks. In the interest of the zero food waste, I could tell you to save these seeds, dry them, and use them for snacking. The food network can show you how to do this HERE but it's time consuming and messy as hell so I’ll skip it. Slice the two peeled halves in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash into pieces about 1in x1in but remember, because you’re making a soup, this doesn’t have to be surgical precision.
Butternut Squash Soup
3.5lbs butternut squash, peeled, cubed
1 large russet potato, cubed (skin on → this is a personal preference, it has more vitamins)
1 quart veggie broth + 1 cup water or as needed
¾ cup of red lentils
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ tsp each dried rosemary, thyme, and ground black pepper
1 tsp dried sage
½ tsp smoked paprika (optional)
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp kosher salt or more as needed
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium/high in a large pot (at least 4 qt size), and sauté onions, garlic, and spices for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add cubed butternut squash and potato and stir, cooking for 3-5 minutes or until vegetables barely begin to stick. Add vegetable broth (and water if needed to just cover vegetables) and lentils and stir to dislodge any stuck pieces. Cover and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes or until squash (this will take the longest to cook) is soft. When squash is soft, use an immersion blender (safer option) or stand up blender (CAREFUL: HOT SOUP + blender equals DANGER) to bring the soup to a smooth consistency, adding more water if needed to thin. Sprinkle extra smoked paprika on top to garnish, if desired. Enjoy!
Share and let me know what you think!