This week’s post is being brought to you by the sudden change of temperature in the West. Hello winter…what happened to fall? I had my birthday all planned out with a mountain bike ride in Park City and then it dumped snow in the mountains. (In case you can’t tell, this is being said in a very sad voice. Sometimes a birthday girl has to whiiiiiine a little.)
Not wanting to sulk on my birthday weekend, when I saw the weekend weather forecast, I dried my crocodile tears, put on my big girl panties and made soup. Because what’s better for a broken bike ride dream and a soggy weekend than delicious soup? You with me? This is self medicating what’s happening here.
When the cold weather arrives, one of the first soups I crave is butternut squash. This Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk came about from 1. my deep love of curry and 2. a desire to make a vegan version with the sweet taste of coconut.
I’m a big fan of roasting vegetables to intensify their flavor. I roasted my squash the night before I made this soup and refrigerated it until I was ready to use it the next day. If you’re really into planning ahead, you can cut your roasted, peeled squash into small cubes, place it in a freezer bag and have it ready for whenever the urge to make soup hits you. Simply defrost the squash on your counter and you’ll be ready to make soup, or some other squashy deliciousness.
When choosing your butternut squash look for one that’s not too curvy. the wider the “waist” on the butternut, the meatier it will be. I learned that from my sweet mom. Slice the ends of your squash, cut it in half lengthwise, and place it face down, skin and all, on a cookie sheet sprayed with a little vegetable oil. When the squash is finished cooking, scoop out the seeds before peeling it, and then cut it into cubes.
To make this soup even more coconut-y, I use coconut oil to sauté the onions. You can substitute avocado oil, or a vegetable oil if you prefer a milder coconut flavor. Sautéing your spices and ginger along with the onions wakes the spices up and releases their flavor.
Once the onion is translucent, you’ll add the broth and squash. Allow the the flavors to meld into the vegetable broth by simmering the onions, spices and cubed squash for about 5-7 minutes before adding the coconut milk.
While the soup simmers, grab a handful of pumpkin seeds and toss them in a small pan. Turn the heat to medium high and stir constantly until the seeds begin to brown and pop. Enjoy that yummy aroma! remove the pan from the heat and place the seeds in a bowl to cool.
Once your soup is finished simmering, add the can of coconut milk, stir and remove the pot from the heat. In the next step you’ll use either an immersion blender or a table top blender to puree the soup. If using a table top blender, be sure to allow the soup to cool a while and blend in small batches to avoid any exploding soup accidents…seriously, please be careful!
Return the soup to the heat and simmer for another 5-7 minutes.
Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with sprigs of cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds (optional). See how simple that was? Enjoy!
Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion or two small, diced
- 3/4 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 4 quarter sized pieces of fresh ginger peeled and minced
- 4 cups vegetable broth I use Better Than Bouillon
- 1 large cooked squash, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
- 1 can of coconut milk 13.5 oz
- handful of pumpkin seeds optional
- sprigs of cilantro optional
- salt to taste
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Begin rinsing and drying the butternut squash. Slice the ends of the squash and then cut in half lengthwise. Place squash face down on a lightly oiled sheet pan and bake in preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the flesh is tender when poked with a fork. Allow to cool, scoop out the seeds and peel. Cut the squash into 1/2 inch cubes. At this point you can refrigerate or freeze your squash until you're ready to use it (defrost before using if freezing).
- In a large stock pot, sauté the onions on medium low heat until just before translucent (about 4 minutes). Add the cumin, curry powder and minced ginger. Sauté another minute (adding oil as needed).
- Add the broth to the onion and spice mixture. Raise heat and bring the broth to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Add the cubed, cooked squash to the broth and simmer another 5-7 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another minute and remove the soup from the heat.
- While the soup simmers, place a handful of pumpkin seeds in a skillet. Place skillet over medium high heat and toss the seeds constantly until the begin to toast and pop. Remove from heat.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup (or allow the soup to cool and blend in small batches in a table top blender). Once all the soup is pureed, place the pot back on the burner and simmer for five minutes. Add salt to taste.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with sprigs of cilantro and pumpkin seeds.