There are so many variations of butternut squash soup, which all capture the spirit of fall in their own ways. It's hard to pick a favorite.
This recipe wins the award for "best supporting role" because it plays so well with Thanksgiving leftovers.
First, toast some leftover stuffing to turn them into croutons - it pairs with the earthy seasonings (and sage) in the soup. Next, make a turkey panini. If you have a fresh cranberry sauce, throw that on the side (or on the panini) - the tartness complements the granny smith apples and cinnamon in the soup.
Plan ahead: make a double batch of this Roasted Butternut Squash soup now and freeze half of it. Then pull it out for a laid-back post-Thanksgiving dinner.
- 2.5 lbs cubed butternut squash
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 large apples
- 2 Tbs butter or olive oil
- 4-5 cups chicken broth
- 5 sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups home made croutons
Homemade Sage Croutons
- 2 large fresh baked sandwich rolls or a baguette
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 5 fresh sage leaves
- 1 oz fresh grated parmesan
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cut squash and apples into roughly 1" cubes (or slightly smaller to roast faster). Cut onions into large chunks.
- Melt butter.
- Prep croutons by cutting up the bread into half-inch chunks and chopping up the sage. (Or pull out leftover stuffing instead!)
ROAST VEGGIES & APPLES:
- Toss veggies with melted butter and a little salt and pepper on a baking tray.
- Roast in the oven for 10 minutes then stir. Continue to roast until fork-tender, another 20-30 minutes.
- Leave the oven ON after removing the soup, and don't clean the baking tray yet.
FINISH ON STOVE TOP:
- Remove baking tray and transfer everything to a dutch oven on the stove top.
- Add 3 cups of the chicken broth and all of the spices. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes then puree with an immersion blender. Add more broth or water to thin it to desired consistency.
MAKE CROUTONS WHILE SOUP SIMMERS:
- Toss the bread cubes in a bowl with olive oil. Add salt and sage. (No need to toss with oil or salt if using stuffing).
- Spread out on the already-used baking tray. Toast in the oven until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Set a timer so they don't burn!
- Toss with Parmesan cheese while still warm.
TASTE & SERVE:
- Taste the soup for seasonings, adjusting to taste. Serve with croutons or a chunk of hearty bread.
- Cutting butternut squash: if you want this to be a quick dinner, buy pre-cut squash at your store, which you can find in the refrigerated sections, usually by bagged salads. If you are cutting one up, you can remove the skin with a vegetable peeler. TheKitchn has a demonstration of the whole process.
- Making croutons: Once you make them at home, you'll never go back to store bought. I like to put olive oil in a bowl and swish it around to cover the sides. Then add the bread cubes and toss until evenly coated. I find this coats them much better than pouring olive oil over them, where the top cubes just soak it all up.
- Fat & vitamins: many vitamins, like vitamin A in this recipe, are fat soluble - meaning you absorb significantly higher amounts when eating them with fat. It's hard to say how much fat you need but one study suggests about 6 grams. This recipe has 7.4 grams of fat per serving, so don't cut out that butter (or olive oil) during the roasting process. Curious about how the absorption works? Check out this HowStuffWorks article on fat-soluble vitamins. (For the record, vitamin C is water soluble).
Round out the meal
Of course, a leftover turkey sandwich is my top choice. For any other day of the week, try a pork and apple dish or maybe a side veggie & lentil salad like this Pear & Lentil salad with grated cinnamon from Earth Sprout or maybe this Lentil, Apple & Kale salad from An Edible Mosaic.
Inspiration for the Butternut Squash Soup
I was looking over a dozen different butternut squash soup recipes... and then the Parmesan Sage Croutons on Well Plated got me thinking about Thanksgiving (as Sage tends to do this time of year). However, her Butternut Squash Apple soup was meant more for a light fall luncheon (in Paris!) than to stand up to hearty Thanksgiving leftovers. I will definitely be trying her version though, not only does it look easy and tasty, but I wouldn't mind being transported to a Paris Cafe for an afternoon from my own kitchen!
Then I started looking for a soup with more earthy flavor that would complement Turkey-day leftovers while not tasting like Thanksgiving dinner itself. I liked the combination of cumin and smoked paprika in the recipe shared by Jessica over at The Novice Chef (along with some beautiful photos). By the way, if you're looking for another day-after Thanksgiving treat, check out her Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls recipe.