Today is the first official day of Fall!
Nevermind that the high for today in Dallas is 97 degrees–I’m celebrating fall anyway (I’m such a rebel)
And what better way to celebrate fall than with a big bowl of warm and comforting winter squash soup topped with roasted seeds.
I hadn’t intended to make soup–it can be such a process and soup usually doesn’t sound appetizing when it’s still a gazillion degrees outside. But then my step-son and I started getting the sniffles, which turned into a full-blown crummy sick-like feeling. No bueno. I was surprised at first that we were getting sick so early in the season, but then I remembered that we both spend our days at elementary schools and it instantly made sense. Fortunately, the hubs is still well, so he’s been caring for us and pestering us less than usual
Despite feeling crummy, I always have enough energy to go to Whole Foods. That’s my sanctuary–my happy place. When I arrived yesterday afternoon, I was greeted with the pleasing sight of pumpkins and gourds galore!
At the mere sight of these pumpkins, I turned into a giddy little kid and instantly felt better!
With a skip in my step, I strolled around looking at the beautiful bounty. Then, when I walked inside, there were tables upon tables of pie pumpkins and winter squashes! I couldn’t resist–I bought a pumpkin and an acorn squash and decided that a nice, smooth squash soup would be the best medicine for my aching throat. I quickly bought the rest of my soup ingredients and hurried home.
Aside from the chopping, there’s not much effort required in making this soup. And since the recipe makes such a large amount of soup, you can gorge on soup now and freeze some for later (when it’s actually chilly outside).
Since nothing goes to waste in my kitchen, I decided to roast the acorn squash seeds, too. With the soup on the stove and the seeds roasting in my oven, the smells of fall wafted through my house and I couldn’t help but feel better. Before long, I was curled up on the couch with my slippers on and sipping from a big bowl of soup…bliss.
- 1 large acorn squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into chunks
- 1 Tbs. coconut oil (olive oil or vegetable broth would work, too)
- 1 small or ½ large sweet onion, chopped
- ½-1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 3 stalks celery, cut into chunks
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 cups vegetable broth (or filtered water)
- 1 cup almond milk
- ¼ tsp. allspice
- ⅛ tsp. (or a couple shakes) cayenne pepper (optional)
- ~~For the roasted acorn squash seeds:
- seeds from acorn squash, rinsed and patted dry
- ½ Tbs. melted coconut oil
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- It can be difficult to prepare the acorn squash because of its ridges so here are some helpful tips: Slice the top off of the squash and lay it flat on your cutting board–it will be upside down with the bottom tip pointing upward. Slice the squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. **Be sure to reserve the seeds for later! Next, lay the squash halves flat on your cutting board (cut side down) and slice the squash into long strips along the innermost ridges (my hubs said they looked like cantaloupe slices). Then, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the slices. Finally, chop the slices into chunks.
- Prepare the rest of the veggies so that everything is ready when you need it.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over Medium heat. Add the onion and ginger and saute until they’ve become fragrant and soft, stirring often (approx. 5 minutes).
- Add the salt and pepper and stir well. Lower the heat to Medium-Low and add the celery, carrots and acorn squash. Stir well to make sure everything is coated with the oil and allow the veggies to saute until they’ve softened (approx. 5-10 min.s). I covered the pot with a lid when I wasn’t stirring to hurry the process along.
- When the veggies have softened a bit, add the vegetable broth, stir well, and cover with a lid to allow the soup to simmer for 30-40 minutes.
- When the veggies have cooked through, pour the soup into a food processor or blender and mix until smooth. **You may have to do this in batches depending on the size and strength of your f.p./blender.
- Pour the soup back into the saucepan/pot and turn the heat down to Low. Add the almond milk, allspice, and cayenne pepper and stir well.
- To prepare the roasted seeds: Heat the oven to 275 degrees F. Rinse the seeds well and pat dry with a towel. Add the seeds, melted coconut oil, and salt to a bowl and mix well. Cover a pan with parchment paper, spread the seeds out evenly on the parchment and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until beginning to brown. **You can do this step after adding the broth to the soup.
- To serve: Scoop 1-2 cups of soup into bowls, top with a couple Tbs. of roasted seeds and a shake of pepper, and serve!