Hurray! The weather has finally turned cool and drizzly, and I can‘t wait to make this simple, nutrient-rich autumn soup, cozy as a cuddle in a soft armchair. No worries about putting on extra autumn pounds if we indulge, either, because this creamy recipe may taste sinfully rich, but it’s dairy-free and contains only healthy fats. I sometimes add a chopped apple to the soup for extra sweetness, and my family likes it served with crispy sage croutons or roasted pumpkin seeds (recipes included) to give a tempting crunch. This is the soup to celebrate the autumn season, as brilliantly orange in color as the turning leaves and filled with the comforting beta-carotene antioxidants our bodies crave this time of year.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (should be about 3 cups)
1 apple, cored and coarsely chopped (optional)
6 cups good-quality vegetable broth, more if needed
1 cup canned coconut milk, shaken well
Curry spices to taste, optional (curry flavors go beautifully with the coconut milk, but if I’m planning to use sage croutons, I forego the curry)
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot and add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until onion is softened and translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is softened and fragrant but not browned, for a minute or two.
2. Add squash cubes and stir to coat with oil. Add the apple and/or curry spices, if using. Add broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until squash is completely softened.
3. Puree in batches using a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender, or simply squash the squash with the back of a wooden spoon if you prefer a chunkier soup. If soup is too thick, add more broth.
4. Serve topped with sage croutons, below, (or roasted pumpkin seeds, a dollop of yogurt, or garnished with a couple of fresh sage leaves.
Serves 4 to 6.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 slices good-quality country-style or peasant bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced, or 1 tablespoon dried
In a large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bread cubes and cook, turning often, until browned and crisp on all sides. Sprinkle with sage and cook another minute or two, until sage is fragrant.