I am super excited about how this soup turned out. This soup actually made me realize what a dork I am about good healthy food. It actually makes me stupid excited and I wanna dance around my kitchen! I love when you have an idea in your mind for a dish, you start experimenting, tasting and playing around and it just all falls perfectly into place. That happened with this soup. In fact, it actually came out better than I had imagined it would.
I topped this soup with a roasted red pepper puree that was inspired by a recipe I came across from Bon Appetit magazine in 2003 and I also drizzled some roasted butternut squash seed oil over top. I realize this oil is a very specialized product, and many of you may not have access to it, so you could certainly just use a good quality extra virgin olive oil, or just skip it altogether. The butternut squash seed oil that I have is from a company based in the Finger Lakes region of NY called Stony Brook Oils, I picked it up at Farmers and Artisans here in Buffalo. You can visit Stony Brook’s web site to get a listing of all of the stores you can buy their various squash seed oils at or you can even buy them online. Honestly, if you ever get a chance to try a pumpkin or a squash seed oil, do it. The flavors are incredible. It brings a unique nutty and roasted flavor to so many different dishes. I have never tasted anything like it.
I happened to be able to get my hands on some beautiful red bell peppers that I roasted on my stove top to use in this soup and for the puree on top. If the red peppers at your market aren’t looking so hot, just go with jarred roasted red peppers, they will work perfectly fine, too.
This naturally gluten-free and vegan soup is bursting with flavors and it is so beautiful and colorful. The roasted red peppers in the soup compliment the nutty flavor of the squash and the spicy, garlicky puree on top is a nice burst of bright flavor with a hint of spiciness. The puree was so delicious that I have been using it as a spread on sandwiches and on top of freshly steamed vegetables, etc. I feel like I always need to have a batch of this stuff on hand.
[print_this]Butternut Squash and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large butternut squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 lbs), peeled, seeded and cubed
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 roasted red peppers, diced (here is a great page of different options on how you can roast your own red peppers at home, I roasted mine on my stove top)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
7 cups low sodium vegetable broth
butternut squash seed oil (or olive oil) for drizzling
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and butternut squash and sauté until the onions and celery are tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and roasted red peppers; stir 1-2 minutes. Add thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and vegetable broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until squash is soft, about 45 minutes.
Purée with an immersion blender or in batches using a regular blender or food processor*, until smooth. Return puree to pot. Thin soup with more broth if desired. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each bowl with 1 tablespoon of the roasted red pepper purée and a light drizzle of butternut squash seed oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of fresh thyme.
* When puréeing hot soup in a blender or food processor, do so in small batches, filling the blender pitcher only about halfway. Put the lid on, but remove that small cap in the lid (if you have it) and hold the lid down tight with a towel, otherwise the steam will cause the lid to explode off, spewing hot liquid everywhere. This has never happened to me, but it can, so be careful.
[print_this]Roasted Red Pepper Puree
via Bon Appetit Magazine, November 2003
2 roasted red peppers (approximately 1 cup)
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Puree all ingredients in processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.