Fun with Fall Vegetables: Butternut Squash Soup

Colorful leaves, pumpkin spice and everything nice – fall is here and it’s a great time to take advantage of local produce and healthy recipes.

Eating in-season is not only kinder to your wallet, but it provides more delicious and developed flavors in the produce. Many fall root vegetables such as carrots and radishes grow directly in the soil where their bulbs and roots absorb water and nutrients such as calcium, potassium and many vitamins and antioxidants.

To maximize the flavor of fall vegetables, it’s important to think about their water content. More dense vegetables that are lower in water such as squashes and carrots should be cooked at lower temperatures for longer. Vegetables high in water content such as zucchini and asparagus should be cooked at high temperatures for shorter periods to maintain their texture and nutrients.

My favorite way to eat asparagus is simply tossed lightly in oil, salt and pepper, then placed under the broiler at 500 degrees for about seven minutes then topped with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Cooking it at this temperature for a short amount of time prevents it from getting wilted and maintains the best flavor.

Squashes and pumpkins make great fall décor, but also make fiber-rich, nutritious soups on cooler days. Scroll down to check out this butternut squash soup recipe that has roasted butternut squash to bring out the nutty, sweet flavors and Greek yogurt for a protein punch. Topping it with in-season toasted pumpkin seeds provides crunch while the fat in a swirl of coconut milk brings out the sage and nutmeg flavors.

Shanthi AppeloAbout the author: Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family.    

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Photo credit: Shanthi Appelö

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Two bowls of soups with toppings

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped (yields about 3 cups)
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, fat-free or 2% fat
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. sage, finely chopped
  • Ground nutmeg, a pinch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: coconut milk for a swirl topping
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a bowl, toss butternut squash with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, nutmeg, a few rounds of ground salt and pepper to taste until all squash are lightly coated.
3. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, roast squash for 35-45 minutes, until it is softened and has a golden color. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
4. Blend the roasted squash in a blender until smooth or puree texture. This may need to be done in batches depending on the size of your blender to make sure everything combines well.
5. In a large stockpot, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over low-medium heat. Add garlic, sage and onion and cook until fragrant.
6. Add the blended squash, chicken broth and bring to a boil at medium-high heat. Reduce to low heat and let simmer for 5-7 minutes.
7. Remove it from heat and stir in Greek yogurt a few spoons at a time to make sure it incorporates smoothly.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with homemade or store-bought roasted pumpkin seeds and an optional swirl of coconut milk.

Nutritional information (including toppings):
247 calories | 15 g fat | 19 g carbohydrates | 9 g protein

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