Uncategorized · Vegetarian

Ready to Spice It Up

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

It is perfectly chilly here in Los Angeles. But we are wimps about it. We are wimps about weather in general. During the summer, we’ll tell you it’s blazing hot, the air is dry, and we can barely go outside. Let the first and only drops of spring rain hit the ground, and we turn into maniac drivers and complain about getting wet. Come fall, the cool breeze that forces us into wearing a light jacket is rather upsetting. And don’t get started on winter. Once the temperatures reach the 40s at night, you’ll hear our teeth chattering, and folks are wrapped snug as bugs in a rug when it’s time to go to bed. We are weather wimps, and it’s time everyone admitted it. One of the best ways to stay warm right about  now is with soup. Soup is healthy, comforting, nutritious and, well, it’s warming. Especially if you make it spicy.

Butternut squash is the cotton candy of winter vegetables. It’s hard to resist and sweet as pie, but it has more fiber and vitamins A and C. It’s also perfectly matched with a variety of spices. Did you know the natural capsaicin in chili peppers has the ability to warm your body? Some people even sprinkle a tiny bit in their socks to keep their feet warm during the winter. If it works on feet, it must work in soup, right? The sweet pungency of fresh ginger mixed with chili pepper and cayenne pepper give this soup a punch with every spoonful. Fresh cilantro is just the right garnish for a touch of color and flavor to top it off. Chills, be gone!

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup – Serves 6 to 8
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
3 cloves garlic, halved
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
1 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes (optional)*
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoons ground ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper

1. Spread the butternut squash and garlic over a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil on top. Roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until soft. Remove from the oven and set aside.

2. Heat the ghee and remaining grapeseed oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Once hot, add the celery, carrots, red onion and potatoes. Saute until the vegetables have softened and the onions are translucent, approximately 8-10 minutes.

3. Place the roasted butternut squash into the pot with the vegetables, then stir in the minced ginger and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are completely soft. Remove from heat and stir in the curry powder, ginger and salt.

4. Ladle half of the vegetables and broth into a blender and process to desired consistency. Pour into another pot. Repeat with remaining vegetables and broth. Garnish each bowl of soup with a healthy sprinkle of chili powder, cayenne pepper and a few pieces of cilantro if desired.

*The potatoes serve as a starchy thickening agent for this soup. You can use rice, cream, pureed white beans or garbanzo beans or fresh, ground bread crumbs as well. It helps to use a neutrally flavored ingredient and is a great way to use up items in the kitchen. Plus, some of these ingredients can add more nutrients than just flour or cornstarch.

Click HERE for printable recipe.


Chrystal is in the running to present a panel discussion on food blogging at Blogging While Brown 2011. Click HERE to give her panel a ‘thumbs up’. Your support is always appreciated!

25 thoughts on “Ready to Spice It Up

  1. I’m making this. butternut squash is my favorite seasonal soup. .. i just did a review of a local restaurant that serves a really great one. look just like yours! Check it out!

  2. Temps get DOWN to the 40s at night? We haven’t broken UP into the 40’s several days during the week, lol.

    Either way this soup looks like it would warm me up from the inside out!

  3. Butternut squash is the cotton candy of winter vegetables? I love it and so agree! But that’s what I love about pumpkin or squash soup, that sweet touch the vegetable brings to a warm, rich winter soup. Love your ingredients, especially the curry. Perfect! I’ll try this one next time I make squash soup (which is rather often).

  4. This is definitely a creative spin on butternut squash soup.

    I so do not want to read any complaints about winter temps in the 40s!!!! It’s 23 degrees here in NY. The cold goes right through my winter coat and makes me feel naked. I’d need a vat of soup to feel warm right now! ;-P

  5. Capsaicin definitely warms me up. It heats you from the inside out. Or from your taste buds out. Or both.

    Love the sound of this soup as well as the bnut squash/cotton candy metaphor! So true.

  6. What a nice variation on the typical squash soups. Love the curry… so warming on cold days. And I’m thinking garbonzo beans would actually be perfect in here — pureed or not.

  7. I’m now a total weather wimp too! The 60 degree weather this week feels like freezing cold. And, soup is the perfect answer to that! The chile heat in your butternut squash soup sounds delicious!

  8. “the cotton candy of vegetables…” How right that description is.
    You almost made me wish for some colder weather so this soup could comfort me on a cold night.

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