It is this time of year that I start to dream about cool autumn days, colorful leaves, and everything pumpkin spice! It’s no lie that fall is my favorite time of year. Piles of pumpkins, corn shocks, and hay bales make me smile. And out come the cozy sweaters, warm socks, and cute boots. To me, it all represents an important part of the life cycle. Nature comes to an end for the season, for a bit of rest and renewal before its rebirth in the spring. It’s a time to celebrate and take comfort that come spring, the cycle will begin again.
It also is a time to indulge in the warm comfort foods that go with the season (pumpkin spice….just sayin’). When I first experienced curried butternut squash soup, I never expected that it would become one of those comfort foods for me. Over the years, I had roasted and pureed my share of butternut squash. Growing up, my daughters loved it so I prepared it that way however, I never much cared for it….but at the time, I would do whatever was necessary to get them to eat their vegetables!
After moving to Arizona and meeting Daniel, I was all about trying new things and came across a basic recipe for this soup. Who would ever guess that I’d fall in love with it! It has made many transformations as we’ve gone dairy free and then paleo, but it is such an adaptable recipe. Plus, I have tweaked vegetable additions to come up with a flavor profile I love. The only problem I had with this recipe in Arizona was that Arizona doesn’t really have a proper autumn season! It’s hard to fully appreciate this soup when the temperature outside is a nice spring-like 70.
There are a few key tips for bringing out the full flavor of this soup. The recipe is really versatile and can be made in the instant pot, slow cooker, or stove top (I will include tips for each in the recipe). To take advantage of the full flavor of the butternut squash, I prefer roasting the squash in the oven beforehand. It gives the squash a nice rich, caramelized flavor that brings life to the soup. However, if you are pressed for time, or need the soup to cook during the day while you’re working, it still tastes amazing when done in the instant pot or slow cooker! If you are planning on roasting your squash, you can also up the ante by roasting your onion and carrots, too. These will then become a part of your vegetable stock.
Be sure to use fresh herbs and spices, and organic whenever possible. Spices tend to lose their flavor profile (especially ground spices) quickly through oxidation. On average, keep your ground spices around for about 3 months and then replace them. Whole spices will last a bit longer. You should replace those every 8-10 months, on average. Having a fresh, flavorful curry powder will give the butternut squash soup the punch it deserves.
This soup makes an awesome side dish to some roasted chicken or roast beef, but is bold enough to stand on its own for a warm lunch with a side salad.
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
A warming soup with all the flavors of autumn that can be made in the Instant Pot, slow cooker, or stove top
- 1 medium butternut squash (2-3 pounds)
- 2 small carrots
- 1 small white onion
- 3 small sweet peppers
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 4 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp. mild yellow curry powder
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
DirectionsInstant Pot Peel and roughly dice the squash, as well as coarsely chop the carrots, sweet peppers, onion, garlic, and parsley. Add the chopped vegetables to the Instant Pot with the water, bay leaf, and all spices. Do not add the coconut milk at this point. Place the lid on the instant pot and close the vent. Set the pot to manual high pressure for 15 minutes. When the time is up, manually release the pressure. Allow the vegetables to cool slightly, remove the bay leaf, and use an immersion blender to puree or transfer to a blender and puree. Once fully pureed, add the can of coconut milk and blend a moment more. Transfer to bowls, sprinkle with a dash of garam masala and serve!
Slow Cooker Repeat all of the directions above, but place everything in the slow cooker (except for the coconut milk). Set the cooker to low heat for 6-8 hours. Once done, remove the bay leaf and puree as above, add the coconut milk, and serve.
Stove Top (Roasted Version) Prior to making the soup, preheat the oven to 350. While your oven is preheating, cut your squash in half and remove the seeds. Brush the cut halves with extra virgin olive oil and place the halves cut side down in a deep baking dish. Roast for 1 hour or until the squash is tender. Set aside and allow the squash to cool. While the squash is cooling, roughly chop the carrots, sweet peppers, onion, garlic, and parsley. Add to a 4 quart pot with the 4 cups of water and bay leaf. Simmer until your vegetables are soft. While the vegetables simmer, scoop the cooled squash from the peel. Add to the pot along with the rest of your spices and allow to simmer around 15 minutes more. Remove the bay leaf and puree, as above. Add the coconut milk and serve!