This creamy soup is cozier than a cable knit sweater. As the days get chillier, this is the perfect comforting soup to snuggle up to.
This soup is like a warm hug in a bowl. I think many of us could use some comforting right now. I generally steer way clear of politics on this blog, but no matter your opinions on this election, I think we can all agree it has been a time of turmoil, negativity, and divide (and that’s putting it lightly). I see and feel many of my friends, family, and community hurting. It is part of the reason I took last week off from posting. In all of this whirlwind of emotions, I just couldn’t focus on recipe creation. By the time the weekend arrived, I felt ready to play with some ideas I’ve had, including this creamy autumn soup. Consider this recipe my way to send you all a big, warm, comforting hug to all of you.
This soup recipe has been a long time coming. I’ve always loved blended and creamy squash soups, and it’s been on my to-do list to create a healthy vegan version for about hmm.. 2 years now! So many ideas, so little time, that’s the story of my life. When I sort of lost my creative mojo last week, I asked my mom if she had any recipe ideas. She reminded me that she’d really like me to come up with a good squash soup recipe. Something simple, creamy, and a little bit sweet. This version ticks off all the boxes! It has a hint of nutmeg, a hint of sweetness from the apples, and a velvety texture from the addition of cashew cream.
In addition to being absolutely delicious, this clean-eating, plant-based, and wholesome soup is loaded with health benefits, thanks to nutrient rich squash. Here are some of my favorite healthy highlights of squash:
- It is an excellent source of beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A. A one cup serving will provide you with 70% of your recommended intake, and helps support healthy eyes, skin, hair, and immune system.
- It also provides a good source of vitamin C (with about 1/3 of the daily value in one cup), plant-based iron, B vitamins, and fiber.
- It’ll give you all that nutrition, with only a small amount of calories (that’s what experts call nutrient dense). Butternut squash has about 60 calories per cup and 16 carbs.
- All squash varieties have been found to be excellent sources of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, really good for your skin, but also great for preventing chronic disease and slowing our body’s aging.
- While squash is a low fat food, it does contain omega 3 fats, like walnuts. Although the content is about a third of that in the omega 3 superstar, the walnut, it is still an impressive amount for a food that is only 15% calories from fat (compared to 90% calories from fat in walnuts). These healthy fats are important for shiny hair and smooth skin, heart health, joint health, and even reducing depression.
- Squash has the potential for blood sugar regulation, which might come as a surprise since it is a starchy food. Preliminary research shows an improvement in blood sugar and insulin regulation following the consumption of foods from the gourd-squash-melon family. Researchers believe it is due in part to their unique cell wall polysaccharides, as well as it’s impressive B vitamin content (B1, B3, B6, folate, and pantothenic acid). Those B vitamins are also essential for healthy hair and skin my beautiful friends!
I believe in the power of comforting and nutritious food. And although I don’t always practice it, I do believe in the power of positive thinking. Let’s do our best to be kind, positive, understanding, and empathetic. Let’s just try to do our best everyday. Sending you warm hugs and love.
Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Adapted from a recipe from this book
Makes 6-8 servings
- 2 tbsp water or broth, or 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium apples, cored and diced (I used Gala)
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- pinch of cinnamon
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1 inch cubes (about 6-7 cups)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked + blended with 3/4 cup filtered water*
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp sea salt, optional
- a pinch of black pepper, or to taste
Heat the water/broth or oil over medium high heat in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the onion, apples, and nutmeg and cook for few minutes until onions are translucent. Add the squash, broth, and optional salt and turn heat up until boiling. Turn the heat down and simmer, covered for about 15 – 20 minutes or until squash is tender.
Blend the soup in two batches in a blender until smooth and velvety (be careful blending the hot soup!). Return blended soup to the pot and add in the cashew cream and heat the soup through. Taste and add more spices or salt if needed. If your vegetable broth doesn’t have added seasonings, you can also add in a few pinches of garlic powder, onion powder, and any other spices you like.
I reserved a spoonful of cashew cream to swirl on the top. Toasted nuts or pumpkin seeds, fruit chutneys, fresh herbs, or a sprinkle of grated nutmeg or cinnamon are great toppings.
*Instead of making cashew cream, you could try using full fat coconut milk instead.
For even quicker prep time, try using pre- peeled, chopped butternut squash. I know Trader Joe’s carries it, and probably many other grocery stores.
I used an organic vegetable broth, but I also sometimes use Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base, which is vegan.