The abundance healing food available to us from the plant world never ceases to amaze me. Every single nutrient that your body could possibly need is found in nature. As Hippocrates famously declared: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. This creamy butternut squash soup is totally what the doctor ordered! All of the ingredients used in this recipe are incredibly healing. The spice blend of curry, cinnamon and red pepper flakes add a spicy immune boosting kick, which is perfect as the cool weather rolls in.
I picked up a beautiful butternut squash and the red onions that I used in this recipe from Haystrom Farm at the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market which runs year long in Toronto. At this time of year the farmers have an abundance of fall crops at the market including dark leafy greens, like kale and collards, as well as a wide variety of squashes, in addition to root vegetables like onions, celeriac, jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, yams and rainbow carrots. I recently wrote about the Evergreen Brick Works Market and included recommendations for all of my favourite vendors. You can check out the article here.
In this recipe I’ve ditched the dairy that is traditionally used in a creamy butternut squash soup, and instead have used full fat organic coconut milk from Arayuma (Canada’s only Fair Trade Certified coconut milk). Coconuts are often misunderstood and it’s time we clear the air. While coconuts are one of the rare plant sources of saturated fats, about half of a coconut’s saturated fats are “medium chain triglycerides’, which are easily digested and absorbed (unlike other saturated fats) and seem to increase the burning of calories. In fact, it seems that coconut can actually help boost energy and promote weight lost.*
Butternut squash, the star of this soup, is low in calories and high in fibre. The naturally occurring starches are also great for a boost in energy. In addition, the orange flesh contains beta carotene which, amongst other benefits, can help protect against the harmful rays of the sun. *
I’ve opted to use red onions which add sweetness to this soup. Onions contain allicin and other powerful, natural antibiotics that help fight off infections. If you have a cough, onions may offer relief as they contain chemicals that relax the lung muscles and help the softening of mucus. Onions also contain sulphur which is a powerful detoxifier that boosts the liver, cleanses the gut, helps clear out toxic metals (like lead), and promotes healthy skin. They also contain the antioxidant quercetin which is said to calm inflammation in the lungs, strengthens blood vessels and helps protect against cancer. *
You will need:
1 tbsp unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil (or go oil-free and use water instead, see instructions below)
1 cup red onion, roughly diced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or a small hot pepper (diced)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Butternut squash (about 3.5 lbs)
2 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Himalayan salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth**
1 - 14-ounce (414 ml) can of full fat coconut milk
1 - 2 tbsp coconut sugar
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts
Red Chilli Flakes
Raw Pumpkin Seeds
(Use organic ingredients)
- Cut squash in half so that the top and bottom are separated (this will make it easier to handle). Carefully peel squash. Cut the bottom portion in half, remove and discard seeds. Chop squash into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Heat oil in a large heavy soup pot, or to make this soup oil-free* used a couple tablespoons of water instead of the coconut oil. You may have to add a couple more tablespoons of water as you go, just to ensure that nothing sticks.
- Add onions and red pepper flakes/diced hot pepper, sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add garlic, and sauté for another minute, making sure not to burn the garlic.
- Next, add the butternut squash, curry powder, cinnamon, Himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and cook over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Add vegetable broth, coconut milk and sugar, stirring to combine. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Simmer soup on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the squash is soft.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Working in small batches, carefully ladle the soup into a blender to puree. Alternatively, you can use a handheld emulsifier. Note: I prefer to use a glass blender when blending hot food as I am personally wary about placing hot food in plastic. If you’re using a blender with a plastic container you can always opt to allow the soup to cool before blending.
- Place the pureed soup back in the pot and warm before serving. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Top each serving with hemp for a nutty source of plant-based protein and omega fats (I always use Manitoba Harvest Hemp). You can also add red pepper flakes for an added kick and raw pumpkin seeds for extra protein and crunch!
* Making this soup oil-free: Recently I've been cooking with a lot less oil and lately I have included oil-free options in many of my recipes. Omitting oil is completely based on personal preference and in my experience, this soup turns out well with/without the oil. To make this soup oil-free, used a couple tablespoons of water instead of the coconut oil. You may have to add a couple more tablespoons of water as you go, just to ensure that nothing sticks. It is really easy to cook on the stove with water instead of oil, it just takes a little bit of practice at the beginning, but once you figure it out you're good to go!
**Note on Vegetable Stock: Vegetable soup stock is simple to make and will take your homemade soups to the next level in terms of flavour. Want to make your own using leftover veggie scraps? I’ve got you covered, click here!
Here’s where you can find some of the ingredients used in today's recipe:
To get your hands on yummy, nutty hemp to top your soup check out Manitoba Harvest Hemp and get 10% off using the promo code “Hemptastic” at checkout. Click here.
My favourite local Toronto online wellness boutique Jule’s Wellness carries Jax Coconut Oil which you can find here.
*Savona, Natalie. Wonderfoods: The Best Nutrition and Recipes for Optimum Health. London: Quadrille Limited, 2006. Print.