As soon as the air got crisp and autumnal I began craving winter squash. I usually have to be pretty stealth in my efforts to incorporate winter squash into our diet since the boy doesn't care for it too much. On this occasion, however, I was desperately wanting a nice creamy butternut squash soup and I decided boy-be-damned I'm making it and if he doesn't like it... there's peanut butter in the pantry! He loved it though, and ate three bowls, remarking the whole time about how surprised he was that he loved it. The homemade croutons probably didn't hurt anything either... he's a sucker for that sort of thing.
The creaminess in this soup comes from two elements - white beans and almond milk. The beans are a nice extra stealth way to sneak in more protein as well, so they serve a dual purpose. I served this with some wild rice on the side and the aforementioned croutons as optional add ins. It looked extra halloweenie with the black wild rice flecks in the bright orange soup, though having eaten it both ways, I think just enjoying the simple creamy slightly sweet soup on it's own is yummy enough! This is another one I just made up based on what I thought would be good. An immersion blender is a wonderful tool for pureeing this soup, but if you don't have one, you can puree it in batches in the blender. I recommend taking the little cap off the top of the blender (not the lid, just the little cap thing made so you can pour additional stuff in while you blend) and instead placing a folded kitchen towel over the hole. This makes it so some steam can escape and the top won't explode off, while still protecting you from splatters!
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
2 ribs of celery, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth
1 medium butternut squash, roasted* (Mine weighed 2.5 lbs at time of purchase)
1.5 cups cooked white beans, or one 15 oz can of white beans
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 cup almond milk (or unflavored whatever milk you keep around)
* To roast the butternut squash, cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and guts, lightly brush/spray with a neutral flavored cooking oil (i.e. canola, grapeseed) and bake, sliced side down, on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for about an hour -- though the time will vary considerably depending on the size of your squash. Just poke it with a sharp knife or fork every now and then and see if it's tender yet.
1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and toss in the celery, carrots, and onion. Sautee until they are beginning to get tender.
2. Add the broth, beans, butternut, and spices. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then lower and simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are all very tender.
3. Puree the soup together until smooth with an immersion blender, or transfer into a blender and puree in there.
4. Stir in the milk and agave, taste, adjust seasonings, and serve.