I’m starting to think autumn is the best season for Meatless Mondays. So many great, hearty vegetables are in season right now that it’s hardly any trouble at all to think of tasty vegetarian meals that are filling even to my burger-loving husband. Eggplant, mushrooms, parsnips, cauliflower, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, squash–there are so many yummy vegetables to choose from this time of year. But I think the one I look forward to the most is probably the squash, and in particular, the butternut squash.
Butternut squash soup has long been one of our favorite fall dishes. It’s so rich and creamy-tasting, especially for something made purely out of veggies. Roasting the squash before boiling it added a depth of flavor I don’t otherwise find in my butternut squash soups. Also, I loved the addition of some caramelized onion, which added a deep, complex sweetness. Just yum.
Even though this soup is delicious on its own, I have to say that the garnishes do add a lot to it since it’s such a simple soup. Rich walnuts and tart cranberries are my favorites atop this soup, but pine nuts, some diced apple, or even a little bit of shaved parmesan would be quite tasty.
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp., plus 1/2 tsp. salt
- Dash of pepper
- 1/2 medium brown onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups water
- 2 tsp honey
- Additional salt and pepper, to taste
- Dried cranberries and walnuts, to garnish (optional)
- 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with foil or a silicone baking mat, skin side down. Brush squash with olive oil and season with 1/2 tsp. salt and a dash of pepper, and roast for 50-55 minutes, or until fork-tender. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Scoop out flesh and set aside.
- 2. Heat a medium nonstick stock pot over medium-high heat for about a minute, and then add onion. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, and then add 1/2 tsp. salt. Continue to cook, adding water as necessary when onions begin to burn or dry out, until onions are deep brown and very soft, about 15-20 minutes.
- 3. Add garlic to pot and cook for about 1 minute. Add butternut squash,water, and honey, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.
- 4. Blend soup in pot using a hand blender, or pour into a regular blender to blend and then pour puree back into the stock pot. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately, with cranberries and walnuts.