Perfect for a Rainy Day Dinner
Every week, when we get our vegetable haul from our CSA farm box, it seems like we have to clear the fridge of all of the tired vegetables from the last few weeks. So this Saturday, rather than send them straight to the compost bin, I decided to pile all the soft carrots and their tops, half an onion, a softened cucumber, a few padrones, the fading parsley, some garlic cloves, a handful of other veggies, and a bunch of herbs from our backyard garden into our 8 quart pot. After covering it all with water and sprinkling on a healthy dose of turmeric, I covered the pot and set it on low to cook for the whole day.
Within just a few hours, the house was filled with a rich, savory, earthy scent. The broth ended up filling six 32 oz jars, so I knew that I would be making a lot of soup this week!
Since I’m out of class early on Mondays, I am always excited to go home and get creative in the kitchen. Today was lovely and overcast with random showers, so comfort food was a must! And what sounds cozier than a steaming and aromatic bowl of butternut squash soup??
Now, I had never tried to create my own butternut squash soup recipe before, but how hard could it be, right? Fairly hard, in fact! While the finished product of this soup was delicious, earthy, and herby, it wasn’t without its speed bumps!
Things were going great; the ingredients were stewing away in the slow cooker. However, after I took the immersion blender to the squash, added my blended cashews, and poured coconut milk into the pot, I realized that the soup was wayyy too thin. I had planned on putting it in bread bowls and knew I needed to thicken it up before scooping it into the carved out rolls. I whisked three tablespoons of cornstarch in a bowl with a little cold water and added that to the soup. Within a few minutes, the soup was noticeably thicker. Hooray!
Now came the moment of truth, the tasting! I took a few sips from the spoon before deciding that the soup needed a layer of richness. I added a few healthy shakes of nutritional yeast and two tablespoons of vegan butter. A dash of apple cider vinegar gave the soup the zing that it needed, and some salt and pepper brought it home. The end result was a rich, savory, cozy, and herby soup that was perfect on this cloudy day.
In this recipe, I used frozen butternut squash, because there have been multiple times that I have gotten close to cutting my finger off while trying to chop up a butternut squash. If you have a knife that’s sharp as hell or better butternut squash chopping skills than I do, feel free to use fresh squash!
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Earthy, Vegan, Butternut Squash Soup
Cook and Prep Time: 6 hours
4 Cups vegetable broth
7 Cups frozen butternut squash or freshly chopped butternut squash
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp coriander
2 fresh sprigs each of rosemary, oregano, and thyme
3/4 Cup cashews
1 can coconut milk (I used “light”)
1/2 Cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp vegan butter
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in a little cold water (optional)
Place the broth, butternut squash, garlic, spices, and herb sprigs into a slow cooker and turn on the high setting (I put mine on the 6 hours setting).
While the slow cooker cooks, place the cashews into a bowl, cover them with water, and let soak for at least two hours.
After five hours, place the cashews in a blender with a quarter cup of water, and blend on high until smooth. Add to the soup in the slow cooker.
Change the setting to warm on the slow cooker. Remove the herb sprigs.
Now here is where things get exciting: you can either live life on the edge and use an immersion blender in the soup as is, and risk splattering yourself with scalding soup, OR, you can
be smarter than me and transfer your soup to a separate large soup pot, let it cool a bit, and then use an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer your soup to a blender (and let cool a smidge before hitting “go”). Either way, blend your butternut soup till smooth.
Stir in the coconut milk, nutritional yeast, vegan butter, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, and the cornstarch (if you desire a thicker soup). Bring the soup back up to a simmer and you’re good to go! Enjoy!
What is your favorite comfort food for fall time?