Fall Soup

The Fall is the perfect time to put the abundance of squash to good use!  As the summer unwinds things like zucchini and carrots are at their best, but once the leaves start to turn and the weather begins to have a bit of chill, the incredible varieties of squash are truly at their best. Squash is one of the most versatile produce items: it’s high in nutrients, easy to make, and delicious. Plus, there are numerous ways to use squash as a meal, a side dish, or a snack. However, one of the best ways to use squash is in soups. Fall soups are delicious, make several servings at once, and store well in the refrigerator or frozen.  

The key to getting the best flavor from squash is to prepare it in ways that enhance its flavor such as roasting. Squash stands up to roasting and as it slowly caramelizes in the oven its earthy flavors become more pronounced. Roasted squashes like acorn, spaghetti, or butternut make a great side dish or main course. However, that roasted flavor makes an incredible taste profile for soup.  While any squash can be roasted then made into soup, I recommend butternut squash soup because of its great taste, high amount of nutrients, and it’s easy to make. My version of butternut squash soup contains vitamins A, C and E, plus potassium and fiber. Plus, I have a secret ingredient that I learned to add from my time spent in Italy: pumpkin!  

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Photo by Johannes Hofmann

Adding in pumpkin gives the soup a creamy texture, a wonderful earthy, seasonal taste and adds even more fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  Using homemade broth elevates this soup to an elegant meal.  This soup is ideal to make in advance and give to a pregnant woman to keep on hand. The recipe can be doubled so it can be frozen in individual containers and thawed for a quick lunch, snack, or dinner. Pair it with toasted whole wheat or sourdough croutons and this will soon become the whole family’s favorite soup.

My recipe is included here along with my suggestions to make an easy chicken or vegetable broth that’s low in sodium and high in taste. Take advantage of the Fall abundance and try this healthy, delicious soup!

Butternut Squash Soup

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  • 1-2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (Tip: Many stores sell butternut squash already peeled and cut- use it! If the pieces are too big, cut them into smaller 1-inch cubes)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plain or extra virgin depending on your preference), plus extra for roasting
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 x 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree (do not use pumpkin pie mix! Choose plain pumpkin puree)
  • 4 cups of broth (chicken or vegetable. If using store bought, choose a low sodium version)
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Toss butternut squash chunks with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper
  3. Spread squash on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool
  4. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, sautee onions in 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5-8 minutes
  5. Using a slotted spoon, add in the roasted chunks of butternut squash.  Add in the can of pumpkin puree
  6. Add in the broth and stir to combine
  7. Heat until the soup is bubbling. Turn the heat to low and continue cooking until squash in tender and the soup thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Puree the soup with an immersion blender, a blender, or a food processor. Note: If using a blender or food processor, pulse in batches and pour into another bowl. Once all the soup has been blended or processed, return to the pot and heat through.
  9. Sprinkle with toasted croutons and enjoy!

Making your own broth

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Chicken Broth

  • 1-3 pounds of chicken parts (use wings, legs, bones, or chunks of breast or thigh meat)
  • 1 onion, cut in quarters
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 4 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces (its OK to leave the leaves attached)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Sprigs of thyme and parsley, bundled
  • 4 quarts of water
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.
  2. Bring ingredients to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down and simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Strain the broth and discard all the meat, vegetables and herbs. Do not add salt.
  4. Allow broth to cool. Skim off any fat on the surface. Freeze in individual containers or refrigerate up to 1 week.

Vegetable Broth

(this recipe does not contain or use strong acid flavors)

  • 4 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces (its OK to leave the leaves attached)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into large piece
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks or quarters
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 onions, cut into quarters
  • 4-6 cups of water
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 30- 45 minutes or until vegetables are all softened.
  4. Strain broth and allow to cool.
  5. Store in individual containers and freeze. Or, refrigerate for up to one week

Tip: Both chicken and vegetable broth can be made in a slow cooker or crock pot. Combine all the ingredients in the crock pot or slow cooker and cook on High for 3 hours or Low for 5 hours. Strain broth and store up to one week in the refrigerator or freeze.

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