When I think of fall, two things come to my mind: squash and soup. It’s that time of year when it starts to get cooler and a hot bowl of soup seems to be the perfect add on to lunch or dinner. It’s also that time of year when fall harvest is at peak season in grocery stores: pumpkin, butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash are everywhere. One of my favorite soups during this time of year has to be butternut squash soup. Roasting the butternut squash and pie pumpkin gives it so much flavor because the heat caramelizes the natural sugars in the squash, bringing out a hint of sweetness. It is so rich and creamy and the addition of pear, nutmeg and cinnamon to this soup add a ton of flavor. You can also substitute the fresh pie pumpkin with canned pumpkin puree.
Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Nutrition
Butternut squash and pumpkin have a rich orange color and this means they are high in antioxidants, specifically beta carotene. Antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals that may damage our cells and cause chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Beta carotene is also a precursor to Vitamin A (this means that vitamin A is made from beta carotene). Vitamin A helps with your vision and protects you from infections by keeping cells healthy. These squash are also a great source of fiber. Half a cup of cubed cooked butternut squash has around 3 grams of fiber. Fiber helps you control blood sugars, lower cholesterol, keeps you satiated and is important for digestive health.
How to Roast a Butternut Squash
There are a couple ways to roast butternut squash. You can cut it in half and roast in the oven right away or you can cut them into cubes and then roast them. I like to cube them first because I can use any leftovers for a side dish with another meal.
To roast the butternut squash, peel the skin off the butternut squash using a potato peeler. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inside pulp and seeds. Lay the squash flat side down and cut into 1 inch cubes. Place the cubed squash on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle a little olive oil and pinch of salt on the squash. Roast in the oven at 350oF for 30 minutes or until tender.
How to Roast a Pie Pumpkin and make Pumpkin Puree
There are a couple ways to roast a pie pumpkin as well. I roasted it by cutting the pumpkin lengthwise in half. Then scoop out the inside pulp and seeds (you may roast the seeds with some spices to make a great snack). Place the pumpkin flat side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven at 350oF for 30 minutes or until soft. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh and put in a bowl. You can use a fork to mash out the pumpkin into a puree consistency.
Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup
A rich and tasty fall harvest soup perfect with any lunch or dinner meal.
- ¼ onion diced
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 3 cups butternut squash cubed and roasted (see blog notes above)
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree see blog notes above
- 1 pear medium, skin removed and cubed
- 5 cups vegetable broth or water
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
- Pepper freshly ground
- ½ cup pepitas
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
In a pot over medium heat, add the oil and onion. Sautee the onions for a couple minutes.
Add the butternut squash and pear and mix once together until combined.
Add in the cinnamon stick, nutmeg and salt.
Add the broth or water and pumpkin puree.
Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the cinnamon stick. Pour the soup contents into a high power blender or use a hand blender to blend the soup until smooth (note: you may need to add more liquid to reach desired consistency of soup).
Add some freshly ground pepper.
To make the spiced pepitas, coat the pepitas with the oil and spices, then place in a pan on the stovetop over low to medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Serve the soup with spiced pepitas.
You may substitute canned pumpkin puree if you don’t have fresh pumpkin.