After the richness of Thanksgiving, you want something healthy but also warm, hearty and easy to make. This recipe is perfect after a neighborhood Open House or a long day of holiday shopping or decorating. It is also great the next day, or frozen-then-thawed—so make extra.
I like this soup because it is delicious, easy, seasonal (read: inexpensive) and filling. Plus, it’s low in calories and loaded with Vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K; Potassium and fiber.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH FALL SPINACH SALAD
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 celery ribs, roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, cut into slightly smaller pieces than celery
- 1 Granny Smith apple; peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 6 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots and apples. Saute 2–3 minutes, then add the butternut squash and continue cooking until vegetables are slightly browned on the edges. This caramelization process equals flavor, and should take about 10 minutes. Add spices, stirring constantly for about a minute to evenly coat vegetables, then add stock. Mix well, then turn up the heat until soup is boiling. Bring soup down to a simmer for about 30 minutes, or until it’s soft enough to blend. At this point, turn off heat and let soup cool slightly. Blend soup in an immersion blender (or a regular blender, in small batches) until it’s smooth.
Taste for flavor—add salt and pepper at this point—and serve.
Want to make it a bigger meal? Add cut-up leftover chicken and/or greens, and serve crusty whole-grain French bread.
- 1 box or bag of pre-washed baby spinach
- 2 fresh pears, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 handful pomegranate seeds
- ¾ cup walnuts, toasted and cut into medium-sized pieces
- Blue cheese (crumbled or frozen*)
- 1 part lemon juice
- 2 parts good olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Make vinaigrette, then set aside. Toss together all salad ingredients except blue cheese. (The amount of ingredients can vary based on your preferences.) Add vinaigrette, toss again, then grate blue cheese on top of the salad. Do a final toss just before eating. The cheese will give the salad a salty flavor, so taste it before seasoning with salt and pepper.
*I keep my blue cheese in the freezer and grate it over my salad so I can keep it at a healthy portion.
During the holidays, we don’t always get to the store as often as we would like. Substitutions with items you already have on hand can help you create a new dish that’s all your own. Try adding different spices that you enjoy to the soup. Try different lettuces or greens in the salad. If you don’t have pomegranate seeds, choose dried cranberries or raisins.