Butternut squash soup

There is no denying it… it’s pretty much here. We’ve been blessed with an Indian summer and my new coat really hasn’t had enough outside time as it hasn’t been cold enough! But this week, out came the tights, the coat, a jumper. The sandals aren’t even a consideration any more. Time to take Autumn by the hand and give it a big hug because it’s definitely arrived! Once I get over the initial shock, I do actually love this time of year. Leaves crunching under your feet, an excuse to go shopping… boots, hats, scarves, you need to buy so much more when it’s cold! The night’s drawing in remind me of all the exciting events ahead, Halloween, Bonfire Night, nights in with Strictly Come Dancing! My favourite thing though, is the change in seasonal fruit and veg and all the lovely warming dishes to look forward to. Strawberries are replaced with juicy blackberries so from summer fruit salads to spiced crumbles and spring greens replaced with hearty root veg… stews, casseroles and soups. Time to dig out the slow cooker!!

This week, I’ll be sharing one of my favourite autumn recipes with you. It’s quick, wholesome, completely clean and provided the perfect answer to my Sunday liquid dinner on the ‘MC&L Autumn Awakening’ plan (no I couldn’t have  bottle of red wine… I did ask). If you haven’t signed up yet I cannot recommend this plan highly enough. The emphasis is on energising, renewing and revitalising rather than just weight loss. There are fabulous meal plans which make sure you eat well with a well fuelled strong body to take on the work outs which again concentrate on strength, stretching and waking up that body! The results in our group were fantastic with some very happy MC&Lers, me included. If you want to bounce into Autumn and embrace the new season, this is the way to do it – hiding under a blanket eating chocolate biscuits won’t make it go away!!

So this week’s recipe is a Butternut Squash soup. It’s creamy, lightly spiced and perfectly clean. You can tweak the recipe according to taste, you might want to omit the orange and use more ginger and some garam masala instead. Or you might want to add carrot or other root vegetables to make it more substantial. I make it slightly different every time depending on the ingredients I have in but this version is one of my favourites. Almond milk might seem like a strange ingredient but it provides all the creaminess needed for a soup and a lovely nutty flavour. No need for butter, cream or thickening agents. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 thumb ginger grated
  • 1 chilli chopped (optional – I can’t help myself!)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Few sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 cup stock
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup orange juice or juice of one fresh orange
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/gas mark 6
  2. Place the squash, garlic and rosemary in a roasting tin, season and cover with 1 tbsp coconut oil
  3. Roast for approx. 30-40 mins until squash cooked (try not to eat it all at this point!!)
  4. Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil and fry onion and ginger until soft, add the roast squash and garlic and mix well
  5. Add stock, simmer for a couple of minutes and take off heat
  6. Blend squash and onion mix either with a hand blender directly in the pan or in a blender (I used my smoothie maker!)
  7. Place mix back in pan if removed and stir well, add almond milk and orange if using
  8. Taste, season and add more milk/orange if needed until soup is at the desired consistency
  9. I like mine to be a velvety creamy texture, some prefer a thinner soup and others prefer it a bit chunky so this step is entirely based on preference
  10. Serve on its own or with a nice chunk of spelt bread.  Alternatively toast some pumpkin and sunflower seeds and sprinkle on top

Until next time,
Mandy xx