Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Basic Butternut Squash Soup

Soup is my favorite food and subject. I often wake up with new soup combinations on my mind.   Why?  Soup is the ultimate playground of creativity.

Healing Power of Soup

Another thing that intrigues me is the healing power of soup.  It is legendary.  Mothers everywhere whip up a batch of chicken soup at the first sign of illness.  It seems to restore a feeling of well-being immediately.   Whether it’s a scientific fact or a placebo effect, the end result is still the same. Comfort in the body, mind and soul boosts your immune system and leads to wellness.

Soup’s well deserved healing reputation may be attributed to the fact that it is one of the few ways of cooking that allows you to consume all of the nutrients available from the food. With all cooking methods, nutrients tend to leach out into the water, steam or juices that escape and are then discarded.  With soup, you are consuming that water so nothing is lost.

Nutritional Value of Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash, like sweet potato, has a very high percentage of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.  A rule of thumb when it comes to identifying the nutritional value of foods is the color.  When you see orange veggies, you can pretty much count on Vitamin A to be at the forefront.  It’s a great thing to add to soups when you want to boost your nutrition intake.

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup is a blank canvas when it comes to creating with soup.   The possible variations are endless, but let’s begin with the basic recipe.

I find that caramelized onion is a great compliment to the flavors in this squash.  I also use red bell peppers as opposed to green because the flavor and color combines well with the sweetness of the squash and enhances the visual appeal.


1 large Butternut Squash (take great care in peeling and cutting—the shape of this squash can make it difficult to work with).  Trader Joes carries peeled and cubed squash for a very reasonable price.

1 or 2 large onions

Red Bell Pepper

Butter and/or Olive Oil or any vegetable oil

Chicken Broth (I used 2 packs of powdered chicken bouillon.  You can make your own broth by boiling chicken, onion, celery, carrots, bell peppers and seasonings, cooking until meat is tender and then skimming everything out and storing the broth in the fridge.  I do this around Thanksgiving when I know it will be used in many dishes.  You can also freeze it.)

Season Salt

Garlic Powder

Black Pepper

Costco no salt organic seasoning

Red Pepper Flakes


Chop onions and Red Bell Pepper

Melt butter or oil in the bottom of the pot

Add onions sautéing stirring constantly until they become translucent and golden brown (take care not to burn!)

Add red bell pepper and continue to sauté for a few minutes

Add cubed squash

Add water just enough to cover squash

Season including powdered bouillon (bouillon is salty so hold back on any additional salt until you taste)

Bring to a boil

Cover and simmer until squash is tender

Use a potato masher to mash squash

Stir to combine all ingredients

Taste and add more seasonings if needed

Serving Variations 

*I Individualized each serving as follows:

Serving #1:
1 Tablespoon of Heavy Cream
Grated Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese on top as a garnish
Served with toasted Whole Grain Bread
This is my favorite!

Serving #2:
Thawed frozen cooked shrimp in a cup of water with Old Bay Seasoning
Drained and added to soup
Reheat bowl to heat shrimp or heat shrimp prior to adding
Served with Crackers
My Hubbie’s favorite.

*What would you like to add? 
Here are a few ideas:  Toasted nuts, pasta, cooked veggies, boiled chopped egg, meat, fish, shell fish like King crab.  Remember that creativity is all about creating something that appeals to you.

Simple and fast.


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