Despite a two-week long heatwave, the fall harvest is finally out at all of the stores and farmer’s markets! In case you can’t tell, I’m over here jumping for joy. I can’t believe that it’s fall already but time flies, right? As the nights get chilly again, we tend to reach for foods that are warming for both the body and soul. This recipe for creamy butternut squash soup is both delicious and perfectly ‘fall’.
Butternut squash is technically a fruit (yep!) but it’s treated like a vegetable based on its nutritional profile and how it behaves in dishes. It’s fantastic to roast, sauté or to make into soup, so it’s incredibly versatile. Plus it has quite a few great health benefits!
Three health benefits of butternut squash
1. Butternut squash is high in antioxidants
Filled with vitamins A, C and E, these natural antioxidants help to fight free radicals in the body and reduce inflammation. Specifically, there are three different kinds of carotenoids found in butternut squash that pack a serious antioxidant health punch!
2. Butternut squash boosts your immune system
Vitamin A is incredibly powerful in boosting your immune system, which is responsible for targeting viruses and other pathogens in your body – ultimately keeping you healthy! Vitamin A helps reduce inflammation which in effect reduces risk of inflammatory diseases often linked to excess chronic inflammation. Butternut squash packs even more immune-boosting nutrients with a high amount of vitamin C as well.
3. Butternut squash supports bone health
The high potassium and manganese in this food supports healthy bones, especially in those with osteoporosis or those who have gone through menopause. High levels of potassium is associated with stronger bones, while manganese can help in the prevention of osteoporosis.
An interesting fact about butternut squash!
The first time I prepared butternut squash, my hands became extremely dry and the skin started to peel. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, and my first instinct was to google it (of course!). It turns out that when butternut squash isn’t fully ripe, it has an innate defence mechanism! The sap within the squash is intended to protect the squash and repair any damage it experiences while it’s “growing”; when it comes in contact with our hands, it reacts with our skin.
Not everyone experiences this to the same extent. I ask Mike to prepare the squash because his skin doesn’t react as much as mine. From what I’ve researched, this isn’t a cause for concern and just means you need to be extra careful to wash and properly moisturize your hands afterwards, wear gloves when you cut the squash, or simply wait and prepare the squash when it’s fully ripe.
Though not as common, some people report experiencing contact dermatitis or allergy when handling squash. I am not a medical doctor so I can’t advise you one way or the other, but if you are concerned about your reaction, ask a medical professional.
Now that I’ve finished rambling…
Let’s move onto the creamy butternut squash soup recipe
This creamy butternut squash soup recipe is simple, with minimal ingredients and maximum flavour! It’s vegan and can be enjoyed by just about anyone. Plus it can be customized to your taste if you really want to amp it up or optimize the nutritional value.
- 1 large butternut squash
- 4 celery stalks
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 handful of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 4-5 cups filtered water (or broth if preferred)
- 1/2 tbsp sage (dry, powdered herb)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the ingredients by chopping the onion, celery, garlic and parsley. Peel and chop the butternut squash into cubes.
- In a large pot over medium heat, add coconut oil, garlic and onion. Sauté until onions are cooked.
- Add celery and parsley, sauté for a few minutes. Add butternut squash and sauté for another few minutes.
- Add both dried sage and filtered water - the amount you add is dependent upon how thick you want your soup. I add just enough that most of the ingredients are covered, but not all. This keeps the soup quite creamy and thick. You can always add a little water after the fact if it's too thick.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Then let simmer for 20-30 minutes until butternut squash is cooked through.
- Remove the soup from the heat, and purée with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you used filtered water, you will need to use more salt. If you used a broth, you may not need to add any.
- Pour into bowls and serve!
- Instead of water, feel free to use chicken or vegetable broth. To make it even more gut-healing, use homemade bone broth! I choose to use water as I find there's enough flavour in the sage, garlic and parsley (plus it's cost-effective!) but you can prepare this with whatever base you like.
- Great topping ideas: shredded chicken, roasted pumpkin seeds, parsley, fresh sage.