As promised, below is a simple butternut squash soup that I made to compliment the Ginger Shrimp that I posted last week. I’ve made many versions of butternut squash soup and I must admit that an immersion blender makes life much easier when whipping up this soup. I have a basic Cuisinart, available for about $30 on Amazon. Well worth it for soups, dips, and other purees. I use ours almost once a week for soups in the winter and dips in the summer. I especially enjoy the immersion blender because it has the power to make something healthy taste creamy without all the cream. Plus, with an immersion blender, this is a one-pot soup. Who doesn’t like that?
In any case, the butternut squash soup recipe that follows is a basic recipe. You can add curry powder, ginger, or cumin to change the flavor profile of this basic soup. I love cumin, so I almost always keep it as part of the core recipe. I’ve provided 4 additional suggestions for variations on this soup: Southwestern, Autumn, Thai Curry, and Carrot Ginger, all below. Be creative and make this soup your own! It’s a great base soup that can serve many purposes. Since I made this soup most recently to compliment the Ginger Shrimp, I increased the fresh ginger and used Korean Red Pepper Powder instead of red pepper flakes to give the soup some heat. I squeezed the other half of the fresh lime on the soup and topped it with a pinch of fresh parsley to make it a great compliment to the Ginger Shrimp. The soup was delicious on it’s own for lunch the next day too!
What’s your favorite way to enjoy butternut squash soup?
BASIC BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP (plus 4 Variations!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon cumin (not really optional in my world, but you can omit it if it isn’t your thing)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (omit the butter and add olive oil to make it vegan)
Approx. 2 pounds of butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces (This is about 5-6 cups of butternut squash. When I’m making this on a week day, I use the pre-cut, pre-peeled squash from the grocery store. For more depth in flavor, roast the squash in the oven first at 450F for 20 minutes or until fork tender. See my butternut squash lasagna recipe for details on cutting, peeling, and roasting squash)
Approx. 4-5 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (I use Knorr bouillon with water if I don’t have broth on hand)
1-2 cups water
Salt and Pepper
In a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, red pepper flakes, butter and squash. Cook and combine the ingredients until the squash and onions are evenly coated with the spices.
Add the 4 cups of broth, 1 cup of water, and bay leaf and bring to a boil, then decrease to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the squash is tender. If you roasted the squash in advance, you’ll only need to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Make sure you turn off the heat or there is an increased risk of splatter and burns! Using the immersion blender, immerse the blender then, slowly puree the soup until it is creamy. I like the creamy with no chunks. If you are using a food processor or blender, puree in batches and use a towel to cover the top of the opening to the blender or food processor chute. This will also help to prevent splatter.
NOTE: This recipe depends on the look and taste of the soup because it all depends on how much liquid is release from the onions and the squash. If it needs more salt and liquid add more broth. If it needs just liquid, add water. You’ll probably have to wait until you puree the soup before you have a sense of whether more liquid is needed.
Salt and pepper to taste. I squeezed the juice from the other unused half of the lime from the Ginger Shrimp on top too!
FOUR MORE VARIATIONS:
Substitute Cayenne or Chipotle powder for the red pepper flakes and omit the ginger. Follow the rest of the recipe. After pureeing the soup, return the soup to low heat and add 1 can each of drained, rinsed black beans and unsalted corn kernels, stirring occasionally until the soup is heated through. Top with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt.
Add 1 chopped, peeled, cored apple when you add the squash. Omit the ginger, and add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of nutmeg. Follow the rest of the recipe.
Thai Curry Flair
Omit the cumin and add 1-2 tablespoons of red curry paste when adding the spices. Decrease to 3-4 cups of broth and add a 15 oz. can of unsweetened coconut milk. Follow the rest of the recipe. Top with freshly chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
Add 1 cup of peeled chopped carrots when you add the onions. Add an additional ½ teaspoon ground ginger powder and ½ teaspoon of turmeric with the squash. Follow the rest of the recipe.