I have been craving brownies for two weeks now. But instead of making brownies I made soup. A really flavorful Roasted Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup and I added a little something extra with topping the soup with walnut pesto and a roasted red pepper puree. Filling and healthy!!
I actually wasn’t planning on making butternut squash soup this week, but my husband had bought some leeks from the farmers market and since leeks are one of my fave veggies for soup, I had to make it. I had also bought a bunch of carrots with the stems still on them ,because my kids thought they looked cool that way, and I had picked up some butternut squash at the farmers market as well with the original intention of making them into baked fries but that will have to be for next time I buy squash.
The other day one of my favorite waste my time reading their posts instead of working sites, Buzzfeed, posted a list of “20 Things they don’t tell you about moving out of Southern California”. And it was absolutely true and hysterical. I seriously call so many people “dude”, I say “the” in front of freeway names. In fact several places I have lived people have always said to me ” you are from So-Cal aren’t you” as soon as I mentioned taking THE 15 or THE I -70 or whatever highway I was talking about. There truly is NO good Mexican food outside of So-Cal and I do miss the amazing farmers markets there.
When we lived in Colorado we never had farmers markets to go to. When we moved to Portland ,Oregon the farmers markets were great, the best one being by Portland State, and that was about the only thing I liked about Oregon. When we moved here to Vegas I was worried that there weren’t going to be any markets since, you know, its a desert. We first started doing a CSA share pickup here but sometimes the baskets would have items we didn’t care for or they would sell out of their organic boxes before we had a chance to order. We soon found out that there were some farmers markets in town after all, and one was right down the street from us once a week at the parking lot of a park we take our kids to play at.
Side note: I have been having WAY too much fun with my new knife my husband gave my for Christmas and I have been finding anything and everything to chop up. So you might see a lot of recipes with chopping and dicing here in the next year or so.
My kids were beyond excited to see that we were heading to their favorite park to check out the market the first time we went and now its a weekly event. Our farmers market day is always a good one. School, tennis lessons, farmers market to play and get fresh veggies for dinner and soup! There is one vendor that makes kettle corn and hands out samples, which makes my kids super excited about because they think its a popcorn buffet. There are a few vendors cooking food and if we end up at the market an hour before dinnertime the amazing smells coming from them, especially the taco vendor and the Jamaican BBQ make our tummies growl. There are 3 main stands with fruits and veggies that we buy from. Some of the vendors actually travel from California once a week for the market. So I am getting my Southern California produce after all!!
My husband was making fun of me when I sat down to write this post because I apparently forgot to write the recipe down, like I always do, and I had to look through my giant piles of notes to see if there was anything at all written down about butternut squash soup. Nothing. Nada. I have made some versions of butternut squash soup before so many times that when I make it I never look at a recipe, and yet it is slightly different every time. He told me I am no longer allowed to make a recipe without writing it down first, typing it out and then testing, photographing and blogging it. I guess… old habits are hard to change. Except now we have a new computer ( YAY!!) that I could actually dictate my recipe onto a file instead of scribbling down notes and typing later so that might help… Maybe…
For this butternut squash soup I decided to roast most of the veggies. I had never actually roasted the carrots for soup before and I am so glad I did. It added an extra sweetness to it that I really liked. I am also a huge fan of oven roasting shallots and garlic. I always use coconut oil and the flavor is so much richer. When in doubt, roast the vegetables. I also added a few more layers of flavor by topping with a pesto, which my favorite way to make is with toasted walnuts, and with a roasted red bell pepper puree. This is a thicker soup which makes it seem more hearty for cold winter days but it is surprisingly light and very healthy. The best part of a soup like this is really any vegetable can be used as long as you have a winter squash as the base. I have also made it with acorn squash or kaobocha squash. All versions are good even this super rich creamy butternut squash soup I made from the Ritz Carltons recipe they so generously sent me. So rich, so creamy, so so good.
- 2 Medium Butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced into 1” pieces (About 8 cups)
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 1 medium shallot, unpeeled
- 1 whole bulb of garlic
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
- 3 celery stalks, diced ( about 1 cup)
- 2-3 leeks, white and light green part only, rinsed, sliced lengthwise and diced fine (about 3 cups)
- 1 cup diced sweet or yellow onion
- 6-8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- ⅔ c walnuts, lightly toasted
- 2 cups basil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- ⅓ c olive oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ⅔ c shredded romano or parmesan cheese (optional)
- 2 medium red bell peppers
- 2 tsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- Garnish: Pepitas
- Preheat oven to 375 Deg. F. Spread the butternut squash over one baking sheet or roasting pan and the carrots on another. Drizzle 2 Tablespoons of the coconut oil over the tops and stir to coat. Place the shallot on a square of foil big enough to cover it entirely, and drizzle the shallot with 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, wrap tightly and place on one of the baking sheets. Slice the top of the bulb of garlic off exposing most of the cloves and place on a square of foil. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and wrap tightly. Place the garlic on one of the baking sheets as well. Roast the squash, carrots, garlic and shallot for 30-45 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove the carrots at 30 minutes so they don’t burn and roast the remaining vegetables until softened. Let cool enough to handle.
- While the vegetables are roasting in the oven prepare the red pepper puree and pesto.
- Place the bell peppers over an open flame on a gas stove or on a sheet in the oven and char until all sides are blackened, turning when needed. Place in a bowl and cover with a tea towel until cool. Rinse the peppers under cool running water removing the blackened skin. Remove the stems and seeds and place in a blender or food processor. Puree with the 2 tsp olive oil and ½ sea salt until smooth. Set aside.
- Combine the garlic and walnuts in a food processor and pulsed until coarsely ground. Add in the basil and leave the processor on, after 1 minute add in the lemon juice through the feed tube. Stop to scrape down the sides and season with salt and pepper. Turn the processor back on and slowly drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto is smooth. If it is still a coarser texture you can add more oil if desired. Stir in the cheese if using and set aside.
- It a large pot or dutch oven heat the remaining coconut oil. Add in the leeks, onion and celery and sauté until starting to caramelize, about 6-7 minutes. Remove the peel from the shallot and add the shallot to the pot. Squeeze all of the roasted garlic out of the bulb and add that to the pot as well and stir for one minute. Add in the carrots, butternut squash and 6 cups of stock. Bring to a boil. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree until very smooth. Add more stock if a thinner soup is desired. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste and add in the smoked paprika.
- Divide amongst bowls and spoon over 2-3 tsp each of the pesto and roasted red pepper puree and garnish with 1-2 teaspoons of pepitas. Serve hot.
So there you have it. Yet another version of butternut squash soup. I really think the possibilities are endless, plus you get like a gazillion servings of vegetables this way and if my 3 year old loves this soup? Anyone will.