Even Better Butternut Squash Soup

It can be dangerous to try and make something wonderful even better…. I guess.  Some might warn, “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?”  Well, in this case, pushing the limits of good leaves us with 2 yummy alternatives…. and 1 caveat.  (I’ll get to that later)

Little Sis and I offered you some easy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup a couple of years ago.   I wanted to take it to a women’s group for which I offered to bring soup and decided that I wanted something with some protein as we were pairing it with bread and salad.  I also thought that some roasted garlic would enhance the experience as well, so…. cashews and garlic are part of the adapted version.  It got rave reviews.

Now for the caveat…. Apparently roasted onion, squash and cashews can be a potent digestive combo for some who are inclined towards affecting greenhouse gas levels in a rather socially unacceptable way.  Will I eat this soup again?  Indeed.  I will do a little math, figure out where I have to be in about 20 hours after eating it and adjust accordingly.  Will I ever let my husband eat it again?  Indeed NOT! 🙂  Luckily he has many fine qualities, so if he eats some of the leftover soup I will forgive him.  So let your digestion guide you, but I promise you won’t regret trying this soup!

The recipe is for 2 butternut squash and of course size will vary so add stock a cup at a time and see what you think of flavor / consistency.

1 cup raw cashews soaked in about 2 cups water for at least 6 hours
2 butternut squash – cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out.
2 med – large onions, peeled and cut in half
4 – 6 cloves of garlic (I used 4 enormous cloves) left in their papery shell
2 – 4 cups of vegetable stock
2 cored but unpeeled apples (I used Gala)
1/2 – 1 tsp sage
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Roast the squash, onion and garlic at 400 degrees for 40 – 60 minutes or until tender.

after roastingRemove the garlic at about 20 minutes and peel when cool.
Once everything is tender, remove from oven and let cool so you can handle a bit to scoop the squash out of the skin.
I heated the apples in the microwave to soften them, but you could probably roast them for the last 10 minutes or so as well!
Drain the cashews.
Place batches of all the ingredients in a power blender or into a pot with a stick blender.  Make sure you put some liquid in each batch of the blender to help it go.Pour back into a pot and stir.  Warm if necessary and serve.

Your taste buds will love you for this one! – caveat and all.  Caveat is a nice polite word for it, don’t you think?

in the bowl

Broccoli ‘Cheese’ Soup – all of the taste with much less fat

One of the most wonderful things about a powerful blender is the creamy soup that can be created and poured… or schmoved with a spatula into bowls – already hot!  If your blender isn’t strong enough to heat, then you can always pour this into a pot and heat after you’ve creamed it.  There is nothing like soup to fill the belly and warm the soul.

We experimented with a lot of soups when we first bought a Vita Mix (15 years old and still going strong).  One of our favorites was Broccoli Cheese Soup.  What’s not to like about Broccoli Cheese Soup?  Well, once you determine that you can’t handle dairy, and there are those that argue that the fat in dairy is a bad choice, and those that would rather leave the cow’s milk to the cow’s…. well then, the cheese is not to like about broccoli cheese soup.  So here is my dairy free version, loosely based on the recipe for broccoli cheese soup found in the Vita Mix recipe book.

Dairy Free Cheesy Broccoli Soup

1 tsp oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cups steamed or blanched broccoli
1 cup raw cashews soaked in water for about 5 hours or more (I put the cashews in a 2 cup measuring cup and then fill to the 2 cup line with water
1 c unsweetened milk – I used almond
1 c water
1.5 Tbsp bouillon

You can also substitute broth for water – or broth for water and milk.  Whatever works for you!

Steam or blanch your broccoli – keeping in mind that stemmy pieces need a little more cooking than plain florets.

I prefer to saute my onion and garlic before adding it to soup.  Just saute until translucent while steaming your broccoli (which I did in the microwave)

Put all ingredients in the blender and whirrrrr it up, or more accurately,  sideways until it is smooth and blended and if you don’t want to heat in a pot – let it spin till it’s hot!

I served mine with some broken up toasted Ezekiel bread.  My husband said it was fabulous but I was too busy eating to notice 😉

This took 20 minutes from the beginning of chopping onion to pouring in the bowls.  You gotta love that!

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Enjoy the arrival of Fall – may your windows be open, your skies blue and your hearts full like a pumpkin.

Carrot Ginger Soup … because you know you want more soup!

Okay, so we are definitely thinking about re-naming the pantry The Sweet Potato and Soup Sisters because we’ve shared so many soup and sweet potato recipes, but what could possibly be wrong with that?  Seriously, as we were driving home from TaeKwonDo testing on this cold morning…. after sitting on a cold gym floor waiting our turn to do forms and spar and break boards, I kept thinking how nice it would be to have some soup.  I would have sat in some if it wouldn’t have stained my uniform!!

At any rate, watching my young man be attacked by 2 high level teenage female black belts, I couldn’t be sure what he was thinking but I’m certain it was not about soup.  I am also certain he was not thinking about vegetables.  No, really!  I’m quite sure!  However, I know that I can think about slipping lots of vegetables into that growing body by incorporating them into soup.  And he and his growing body love this soup, as does Mr. Bigg Sis (who prefers that his body not grow anymore).  Vegetables in soup fill the bill for both growing and ‘trying to stay relatively the same size’ bodies.   So slurp on!!

This easy to make soup is an adaptation of a soup in the Vita Mix recipe book.  The original uses tofu, but tofu is on the list of inflammatory foods that hubby is supposed to avoid.  I decided to use cashews for protein, made a few other changes and I think you will enjoy the results.  We certainly did!  And if anyone breaks into our house to steal the soup, my son and I are ready to fight them for it!

Carrot Ginger Soup

Chopping can be chunky as eventually it will all be ground up
3/4 cup cashew pieces soaked overnight in 1 cup water
5 cup chopped carrots (does not need to be chopped fine)
1 cup chopped onion
6 small garlic cloves – or a couple of big honkers (chopped)
1 tsp olive or other oil you prefer
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger (keeping ginger root in the freezer makes it easy to grate)
1 – 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

After chopping veggies, saute them in the oil until slightly tender and onions translucent.
Add to high powered blender along with 1 cup stock, ginger and salt.
Puree.
Transfer to soup pot on stove to keep warm.

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Okay – so it’s not looking too creamy yet….. hold onto your cold tushie over there!

Place cashews and water in blender (no need to wash blender) and puree on high until smooth and creamy.
Add to soup pot and stir.
Add more stock if desired to achieve desired consistency.
Serve with bread or potatoes or crackers or cold TaeKwonDo people…. or rather to cold TaeKwonDo people.

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This is yummy but I do hope that soon the weather will turn our thoughts from soup to …. aw heck, I eat soup all year!  Perhaps in the next few months we will be able to share some lukewarm or chilled soups.   But for now – I give you a hearty, healthy hot soup.