April showers bring May snow? If what you see through your window looks anything like the frosted and ice covered version of spring that I'm seeing out mine right now, then apparently Mother Nature missed the memo. One would think that at some point we might actually have some real spring weather before summer arrives. I can practically see the trees shivering with embarrassment from going without leaves for so long!
The perfect velvety texture, without using unhealthy heavy cream, in a squash-based soup can be pretty hard to create. I've taken a stab at many squash soup recipes, and had many trials and tribulations along the way. All have been good in their own unique way, but this recipe in particular produced that velvety soft texture with a hint of sweetness I had been striving for. The best news? Not a drop of heavy cream, and thus a healthy squash soup! NOTE: if you are allergic to nuts, this recipe is not for you.
The secret ingredient, cashew milk, is a new concept for me. I was pretty much amazed by how easy it was to make, and how much it represented the look and texture of regular dairy-based milk. I think next time, I may try a different nut-based milk...possibly almond milk. I think almonds would compliment the squash and apple flavors nicely, and are also much easier to find during all times of the year...or I could just buy almond milk, and save myself a step...hmmm...
Anyways...back to the recipe. Be warned that this is a very filling soup. It would be delicious served in a small cup or bowl at lunch alongside a warm turkey/cranberry panini. Ahh...now I'm dreaming of fall, late-season harvest, and leaves crunching beneath my feet. The good news is, as long as you can find squash, most of these ingredients are available year-round, and you won't have to wait for 5 months to try it.
Step One: Gather the ingredients.
Have fun peeling the butternut squash! It is imperative that you have a sharp vegetable peeler, or this task could give you
some lots of grief. Cut up all of the produce (squash, onions, apples), toss with some olive oil, and add a little cayenne pepper and salt before roasting.
Step Two: Roast the squash/apple/onion mixture in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Allow to cool before handling.
Step Three: Meanwhile, make the Cashew Milk. Easy peasy. For an easier route, try substituting Almond Milk if you don't want to make your own.
|Recipe adapted from True Food cookbook|
Step Four: Blend the squash/apple/onion mixture using a regular, or immersion blender. As you can see, the immersion blender is my weapon of choice. Add 1 1/4 C water 1/4 cup at a time, blending as you go. Add cashew milk, mix well, and adjust water until you reach the desired consistency. Serve topped with soup crackers.
VEGAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH-APPLE SOUP | Yield: 8-10 servings | Total Time: 2 hours
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups).
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into wedges
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/4 C water - or until desired consistency*
3 C cashew milk (see below)
Soup crackers, to serve
*NOTE: Add water 1/4 C at a time and blend to combine. After adding cashew milk, adjust water to your desired consistency. I probably added around 3-3 1/2 C total water. Depending how big your squash and apples are, this measurement may vary.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel, de-seed and chop butternut squash into 1-inch pieces. Peel apples, then use an apple slicer to core and cut apples into wedges. Dice onion and mince garlic. Combine in a large bowl with olive oil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper. Toss to coat.
Spread squash/apple/onion mixture over two aluminum lined baking sheets. Roast in oven 45 minutes, or until tops begin to brown. Remove and allow to cool 10-15 minutes before handling. Now is the time to put together the cashew milk (recipe below).
After the squash/apple/onion mixture has cooled, use a blender or immersion blender to puree. Add 1 1/4 C room temperature water 1/4 C at a time, blending after each addition to mix. Add Cashew Milk and stir or whisk together. Adjust water after adding cashew milk until you reach your desired consistency.
CASHEW MILK | Yield: 3 C | Total Time: 5 minutes
1 C cashews
2 C water
*NOTE: Almond milk is readily available at most grocers. If you don't want to make your own cashew milk, it would serve as an excellent substitute.
Add cashews to a blender or food processor. Chop until the consistency is a fine powder, stopping before forming a paste. Add 2 C water and liquify for 2 minutes. Use immediately, or store up to 5 days in the fridge.
Have you been craving soup lately with this crazy cold weather lingering on?