Thanksgiving starter: curried butternut squash soup

Winter squash, such as acorn or butternut, can make a filling, seasonal soup that's sure to please. This version, made with coconut milk, will satisfy vegan appetites.

The Garden of Eating
Roasted butternut squash infused with spices and coconut milk. It doesn't get much better than this nourishing soup!

It's practically raining winter squash. Everywhere I turn, there's a gorgeous pile of kabocha or delicata or acorn or butternut or pumpkin. 

Recently the first butternut squash of the season was nestled in our produce box along with beets, peppers, onions, eggplant, and apples. In just a few short months, I will probably be greeting this lovely squash with a sigh and a scowl (there can be too much of a good thing, after all) but right now, I'm in that euphoric honeymoon period when winter squash are still a delightful novelty. Butternut squash has a lot going for it – its pretty, bright-colored flesh is sweet, hearty, and nourishing. 

This recipe calls for you to roast the squash and then curry it with spices and enrich it with coconut milk. I am always pleased to find a new vegan recipe that anyone can enjoy. This one never fails to please. 

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 4 as a main course

About 2 lbs. butternut squash (or substitute with acorn squash, delicata squash, sugar pumpkin, etc.)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable stock
1 can of coconut milk
3 teaspoons curry powder or garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, or more, to taste)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Save for another use or discard. Spread about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil on the bottom of a roasting tray and place the squash halves cut side-down on the tray. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the flesh feels soft when poked and it has shrunken away from the skins a bit. Flip over and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out all the flesh and reserve in a bowl.

2. Meanwhile, heat a heavy-bottomed pot with another tablespoon or so of oil and saute the onions over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the curry powder, optional cayenne, chopped tomato and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, another 4-5 minutes.

3. Add the roasted squash, coconut milk, and vegetable stock. Stir to combine thoroughly and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or so.

4. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to a smooth consistency (this can also be done by transferring the soup in batches to a food processor or blender.) Taste for seasoning. Add additional stock or coconut milk if it’s too thick to your liking. Once the soup is to preferred taste and consistency, stir in the lemon juice to taste and serve.

Related post on The Garden of Eating: Quick coconut vegetable curry

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